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Poll: How confident are you with your translation work?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:18
SITE STAFF
Jun 18, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How confident are you with your translation work?".

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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Totally Jun 18, 2015

Modesty be damned, I'm good and I know it.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 13:18
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A mixture of total confidence and self-doubt Jun 18, 2015

As I said before (another repeated poll), after 30 years working full-time, plus a few more part-time, I have to be very confident in myself, though from time to time when I’m in the middle of a long project (as I am right now) I may have a self-doubt moment or two… But then I dust myself off, take a coffee and get right back into it!

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Fairly confident Jun 18, 2015

I should probably have chosen "very", but - perhaps due to my cultural background and UK upbringing - I prefer to hedge my bets and say I'm "fairly confident" with my work in general. "Very" confident would really only apply to those fields in my comfort zone.

This morning, one of my academic clients forwarded me an e-mail from a journal editor with comments from two reviewers on a paper we recently submitted for publication. One of the reviewers - R1, obviously not a native English speaker - said nothing about the language in the text, but raised some points to do with the content. However, the other reviewer mentioned nothing at all about the content per se, simply stating:
"The writing style is still very clumsy, making it very difficult to pay attention to the quality of the scientific contents, so no further improvements can be suggested. A thorough review by a native English speaker with expertise in scientific writing is needed."
... I've re-checked the paper again and as far as I'm concerned it is equally legible and comprehensible as several other similar papers already published by the same journal over the past 15 years or so. As R2 has failed to cite any specific points where the language style could be improved, I can only assume that the comment is a knee-jerk reaction to seeing the author's Spanish surname. I've already told the client this and not to expect any miracles if we submit the blessed thing again.

I suppose what I'm really trying to say through this anecdote is that maybe 10 or 15 years ago I might have been phased by criticism like this of a text to which I've given the green light, but not any longer.

[Edited at 2015-06-18 08:57 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Pobody's nerfect Jun 18, 2015

Teresa Borges wrote:

As I said before (another repeated poll), after 30 years working full-time, plus a few more part-time, I have to be very confident in myself, though from time to time when I’m in the middle of a long project (as I am right now) I may have a self-doubt moment or two… But then I dust myself off, take a coffee and get right back into it!


I think a modicum of self-doubt is a healthy thing.


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Billh
Local time: 13:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Shared conceit Jun 18, 2015

Chris S wrote:

Modesty be damned, I'm good and I know it.


ey up lad, that is my line........


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:18
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jun 18, 2015

I alternate between very confident and not-so-confident. It scares me every time I catch an error when I'm proofreading - makes me wonder if I've let other things slip by.

If I didn't have deadlines, I'd never be satisfied enough to deliver my work.

On the other hand, sometimes when I see work that passes for translation I feel confident that I'm a whole lot better.

What gives me confidence is that my clients return.


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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:18
English
+ ...
Same here Jun 18, 2015

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

What gives me confidence is that my clients return.


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Paulo Celestino Guimaraes  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:18
Member (2001)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I couldn't agree more!! Jun 18, 2015

neilmac wrote:
I think a modicum of self-doubt is a healthy thing.
Teresa Borges wrote:

As I said before (another repeated poll), after 30 years working full-time, plus a few more part-time, I have to be very confident in myself, though from time to time when I’m in the middle of a long project (as I am right now) I may have a self-doubt moment or two… But then I dust myself off, take a coffee and get right back into it!


I think a modicum of self-doubt is a healthy thing.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:18
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Very confident Jun 18, 2015

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

What gives me confidence is that my clients return.


This must mean something.


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ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:18
Member
German to English
+ ...
power game Jun 18, 2015

neilmac wrote:

"The writing style is still very clumsy, making it very difficult to pay attention to the quality of the scientific contents, so no further improvements can be suggested. A thorough review by a native English speaker with expertise in scientific writing is needed."


I hear you, Neil. Sometimes I think it's a power game. One client sent me a translation back last week with lots of "corrections" visible in red, which the UK Sales Manager had made. All he had done is use synonyms and add information which wasn't in the original text. I am sure that he was trying to assert himself in some way rather than acting objectively.


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Alberto Montpellier  Identity Verified
Cuba
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
From FAIRLY to TOTALLY Jun 18, 2015

I'm very confident, but c'mon, NOBODY should be TOTALLY confident since the begining about his/her translation work. Even if you're very good and you know it, during the translating process you have to doubt yourself every now and then, for the sake of quality.
When I've just finished the translation work, I'm fairly confident. Once I've reviewed it a couple of times and wrap it up, then I can get TOTALLY confident, and even then sometimes (depending on the complexity of the work) I remain in doubt.
As Muriel well said, what gives me confidence in the end is that they all keep coming back and I've never received negative feedback on the quality of my work, apart from the occasional minor details.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
English to Spanish
+ ...
USA Today Jun 18, 2015

Why wouldn't any translator feel fairly to completely confident in her work?

By the way, this totally usage smacks of Millenials trying to sound cool and hip.

Back to the original point: why wouldn't I feel confident? Ask the same question to any other practitioner: a plumber, an electrician, a craftsman, etc. If they've been in business for any amount of time, and if people keep calling on their services, it follows that they have confidence in their work.

And I'm answering this poll because I'm in a very good mood.




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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 09:18
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
Lo perfecto es enemigo de lo bueno Jun 18, 2015

When I started out, I used to worry excessively about the quality of my translations. I took any negative feedback as an assault on my integrity. I was fooled into thinking that if only I paid more attention, did more research or asked for more time, my translations would be perfect. As it turns out, some of my best work is done under pressure and on-the-fly. Let's face it, if you've got what it takes, you'll go far. Breaking down over a typo or two is like saying that because the Eiffel tower has a few scratches on it, it needs to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch. No one, I repeat no one bats a thousand

So I advocate patting yourself on the back, saying aloud "Damn I'm good!" when you know you've aced it and emerging from the wreckage unscathed when something goes wrong. We should learn from our mistakes and become better translators because of it. Therefore, I am confident-not all the time-but most of the time.


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:18
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Client feedback Jun 18, 2015

"Thank you for your excellent work".


[Edited at 2015-06-18 17:27 GMT]


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