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Poll: Do you prefer proofreading or translating?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:42
SITE STAFF
Apr 24, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you prefer proofreading or translating?".

This poll was originally submitted by Katja Schoone. View the poll results »



 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 09:42
Turkish to English
+ ...
Translating Apr 24, 2015

That is all I do nowadays.

 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Translating Apr 24, 2015

By a factor of about 16.4 gazillion to one

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:42
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TRANSLATING! Apr 24, 2015

In general, I do not enjoy proofreading and I refuse most of the assignments. That being said I have an arrangement with an ex-colleague of mine (we worked together for 20 years) where we proofread each other. I also accept proofreading tasks from one translation agency as I know the translator and I trust her work…

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 15:42
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
I have no 'preference' Apr 24, 2015

Because all I do is translation - I flatly refuse to do proofreading any more.

 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 01:42
German to English
+ ...
Depends Apr 24, 2015

On occasion I have been asked to proofread a translation that has been brilliantly done. On that occasion it is a pleasure, like a painter appreciating a master`s fine hand, and can also be a learning opportunity. I don`t proofread much and when I do it`s by the hour, so I get to charge less - it`s an uncomfortable feeling to know the client has to pay quite a bit second time round because the translation was badly done and needs much work.

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:42
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Translating - Agree with Chris Apr 24, 2015

Chris S wrote:

By a factor of about 16.4 gazillion to one


Not sure how you arrived at that figure, but it matches my sentiments perfectly.

[Edited at 2015-04-24 08:54 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
Translating Apr 24, 2015

Although I usually enjoy both translating and revision (i.e. what some may call proofreading). They are different sides of the same coin as far as I'm concerned.

 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:42
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Why do we insist on calling it proofreading? Apr 24, 2015

Proofreading is a specific role in the publishing industry: it means checking/correcting a "proof" for a print publication. I don't know any translators who actually offer this service, which has little to do with translation.

What we refer to as "proofreading" is actually correction or editing.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:42
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
If it is actually proofreading... Apr 24, 2015

If it is actually proofreading, then I don't mind, although I prefer translating.

I still proofread occasionally for clients who pay by the hour and where I know the text will be of reasonable quality. This includes academic papers written by non-natives, who need their English tidied up and checked against a style guide.

What I hate is more often called editing or QA: having a text sent with a pre-set rate that assumes I can get through several thousand words an hour, checking against the source and then ticking off umpteen points on a checklist, assessing whether the 'errors' are minor, serious or critical, errors of style, register, terminology etc. etc. etc.

I simply NEVER have time for those 'assignments', and I always request to be removed from the database.

I suspect everyone else does too - some agencies have tried desperately to recruit me when I finally got out of their databases!

It's a dilemma. In my early days I learned a lot from proofreading for good colleagues, and somebody has to do it. I was also enormously grateful to those who professionally went through my work and provided feedback.

Now jobs like that rarely come my way, and I don't have the patience for many of them any more. I admire mentors and others who help serious beginners, because it is very important work.



[Edited at 2015-04-24 12:36 GMT]


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:42
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm not surprised Apr 24, 2015

Christine Andersen wrote:

Some agencies have tried desperately to recruit me when I finally got out of their databases!



The owner of a large translation agency once admitted to me that it saves them an enormous amount of money if they use entry-level translators for the basic translation and then have experienced translators 'proofread' (read: fix up) their work.

Calling it 'proofreading' also saves them money. It's all about economics, or squeezing the lifeblood out of translators.


 

Marc Cordes  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 08:42
English to German
+ ...
Translating Apr 24, 2015

Definitely that. I've had too many bad experiences with editing/QC in the past so I only rarely take them nowadays.

As other colleagues have already pointed out it is also quite common that someone else determines how long it will take you to go through X amount of words which is quite annoying since those folks usually don't even speak the language hence have no clue how long it might take us or if the quality of the translation is good or bad to begin with...

@Christine: Oh yes, those evaluation sheets......hate 'em!


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:42
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Translating, of course Apr 24, 2015

Like everyone who has responded so far, I greatly prefer translating - after all, I'm a translator.
I dislike "proof reading" other people's translations, especially because most agencies refuse to pay by the hour and, as Christine has pointed out, expect a lengthy piece of work do be done in a very short time (one hour for 10,000 words!!??) when it's impossible for the proof reader to tell how long the work really needs without seeing the translation - i.e. actually doing the job.
So, I usually decline "proof reading" offers.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
A different perspective Apr 24, 2015

Although I prefer the translation part of my job, I also like to proofread, edit and correct. And why the hell should I not?

Of course, poor project management done by people who should do something else other than muck about with translation projects is using that stupid and counterintuitive model Julian described.

But lambasting those lousy managers or agency owners and blaming the state of the art on inexperienced translators on badly written jobs in need of deep pruning by an expert translator is the easy way out, a cop-out, an excuse.

Perhaps some of you have become so jaded that you lost part of the joy that comes with this profession.

I recently interviewed for a full-time translation teaching job at a prestigious American university. The refreshingly blunt and sincere discussions we've had about students, their expectations, what the university can offer them along with a degree brought a harsh light on market realities. The answer to translation students can no longer be the standard work for a translation agency to learn the ropes or use Proz.com or some other translation portal and work on your social media skills to promote yourself.

The ideal business model would be to have inexperienced translators and proofers start by reviewing experienced translators' work, all of that while being supervised and mentored by on-site or off-site expert translators. That way, the translations going to a reviewer outside of the agency would be cleaner and easier to handle...and less costly all around. And we wouldn't have so many jaded colleagues.

Of course, this business model, this way of doing things, requires a long-term outlook and commitment, not the Yankee Doodle do-it-for-the-money way of doing things, which is short-term, miopic and ineffective.

Think about it.


 

Egor Shapurov  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:42
Member (2013)
English to Russian
+ ...
Translating Apr 24, 2015

I'm perhaps too passionate about what I do, so it takes a lot of time before I'm finally satisfied with whatever I've been proofreading. It just doesn't pay off!

 
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