Poll: Do you usually notify your client if there are factual errors in the source text?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 21:02
SITE STAFF
Feb 18, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you usually notify your client if there are factual errors in the source text?".

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:02
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes - almost always Feb 18, 2015

There are rare cases in which the source text has been published and no one would be interested in changing it, but 99% of the time I do tell them when the errors are egregious.

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Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:02
Spanish to English
+ ...
A follow-up question... Feb 18, 2015

.... could be whether, once you've notified, the client is positive about this (or perhaps even possibly says thank you). I have one client who I've given up notifying because of their reaction - lack of response is one thing, but rudeness is another. Ah well.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 13:02
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, all the time Feb 18, 2015

If I am translating in Trados, I use the comment feature to do this so that reviewers at my customers have a better idea of possible stumbling blocks and pitfalls in the original text, which happens all the time in J>E translation because of the ambiguous nature of the language.

I regard this as a courtesy and none of my customers have complained so far so I assume they welcome the comments. Also, in probably almost all cases, reviewers are less experienced than I am so I hope they appreciate that the comments I make are useful and helping them with their job.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:02
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Yes Feb 18, 2015

Yes. I point out the error in a translator's note. Whether or not the client takes note of my note (!) I don't know.

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Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 05:02
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
always Feb 18, 2015

and sometimes they even say "Thanks"

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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:02
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes ... Feb 18, 2015

I flag any such issues in the email accompanying the submission of the translation, but I don't always know how much attention is then paid to the issue.

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Luiz Barucke
Brazil
Local time: 01:02
Member (2013)
Spanish to Portuguese
+ ...
Everything always depends Feb 18, 2015

I flag errors or potential errors (where I believe there may be) only if they could change the meaning (when it seems there's a missing "no", for example) or make comprehension impossible.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:02
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, always! Feb 18, 2015

Quite by coincidence it just happened a few minutes ago! I was translating a draft agenda for a meeting and I noticed that the date was incorrect: it said 17th February instead of 17th March. I changed it and notified the client, who was very positive and thankful!

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Christopher & Rozilene Frye  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:02
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Rudeness Feb 18, 2015

As for what Noni said, I don't accept rudeness from my clients. Thankfully 99% of them are polite and professional. But we must insist on respect from out clients. If they get rude on me, they need to find another translator!

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
Let's focus on the facts Feb 19, 2015

Not two types of documents are the same, not even in the same field or domain.

For example, if a contract clause enumerates the types of indirect damages and the lawyer forgot to include a particularly relevant type of damage, well, it's not the end of the world. I wouldn't bother the client with that. I'm no lawyer.

If, on the other hand, there's an erroneous date, as in “America was found by Columbus in 1942,” I would correct it in the translation, possibly tell the client about it since it is a public knowledge kind of fact.

However, if I'm translating a school algebra textbook with dozens of exercises with equations and there are few erroneous results, I am not going to spend time fact-checking them. Same goes for incorrectly built chemical formulas, etc.

Since I'm a medical translator, if I find something like NAcL instead of NaCl, of course I'll fix it in the translation but I won't be changing the original. I'm not the author's editor, after all.

Speaking of authors, I'm currently translating a Venezuelan Covenin standard that is so full of typos, bad decimal punctuations, wrong unit abbreviations (Km., km., cm., gm, g, km for example), that I'm not bothering telling the client about every one of them...but I rant against Covenin on Twitter.

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