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Poll: How do you cope with a client sending many reference files and glossaries for a translation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 18:07
SITE STAFF
Oct 16, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How do you cope with a client sending many reference files and glossaries for a translation?".

This poll was originally submitted by Susanna Martoni. View the poll results »



 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 02:07
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Oct 16, 2015

I will READ AND TRY to observe everything. If I find a mistake or I do not agree with an entry in the glossary I will discuss it with the client. Anyway, over the years I have received multiple reference files (or their links), but I have never received a glossary from a client. I have been asked several times to build one before starting a longish project.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 16, 2015

It doesn't usually happen to me, but if the material were from one of my regular clients, I would at least have a look at it.

 

Giovanna Alessandra Meloni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:07
Member (2012)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Other Oct 16, 2015

I will read all the reference files, it is the only way to understand if they can be useful.

As Teresa wrote, if I don't agree with the glossary, I speak about it with the client.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:07
French to English
Ignore option? Oct 16, 2015

I'm happy to plug-n-play most glossaries (unless they're utter crud).

In my experience, the more reference material you're sent, the worse quality it is. So if they send one document, I'll read it; if they send 5 or 6, I won't usually bother. Shhhh, don't tell them, though.


 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:07
Danish to English
+ ...
Other... Oct 16, 2015

This has never happened to me... a few links to websites or the odd reference file is about all I've ever received from clients. Those are sometimes useful for finding specialist terminology or to see how the client has chosen to translate specific things when there are various options. But I don't read everything, just have a skim through. In fact, I often find it helpful to do the translation first, and look at reference material before I start proofreading. Any specific terminology will then stand out quite clearly.

However, if a client insisted that I read a whole load of reference material before starting a project, I would consider charging them for this as any other work at my hourly rate.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:07
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Much the same here Oct 16, 2015

Charlie Bavington wrote:

I'm happy to plug-n-play most glossaries (unless they're utter crud).

In my experience, the more reference material you're sent, the worse quality it is. So if they send one document, I'll read it; if they send 5 or 6, I won't usually bother. Shhhh, don't tell them, though.


The few actual glossaries I have received over the years have been very useful, so I respect them and use them.

Other material may be anything from irrelevant to brilliant, but I can usually see at a quick glance where on the scale it comes, and then I treat it accordingly. I skim to find the sections that match my job and read them carefully, or else archive it all quietly and go my own way. Most of my jobs are small, so vast amounts of reference are usually overkill.

I do not normally read 20 pages of law just to translate a one-page solicitor's letter... Though I probably will check the paragraph(s) referred to. A client was actually quite grateful recently when I pointed out that they had got the numbering wrong and quoted an outdated ministerial order, so they had to rewrite the source text!

On the other hand, I may check carefully through 20 pages of a patient's medical records even if I am only asked to translate the last one.
(That is where the summary comes, and I may need to know the ins and outs to make sense of it!)

I usually look for relevant reference material, depending on the type of job, so I can't complain too much when clients provide it. icon_wink.gif


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:07
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Great idea here - I must try that! Oct 16, 2015

Gitte Hovedskov, MCIL wrote:
...

I don't read everything, just have a skim through. In fact, I often find it helpful to do the translation first, and look at reference material before I start proofreading. Any specific terminology will then stand out quite clearly.

...



Thanks, that sounds like a good tactic.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:07
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends Oct 16, 2015

I rarely get glossaries, so my comment is about references:

If the translation flows easily and I'm familiar with the subject, I usually translate a sizable chunk before I check the references. I often find that spending time "studying up" before I get into a translation is not well spent, as I can't anticipate what's actually going to be helpful.

If it's boilerplate, then of course I follow the reference slavishly.

On the other hand, like Charlie:

Charlie Bavington wrote:
In my experience, the more reference material you're sent, the worse quality it is.


I'm often rather appalled at the quality of some of the reference documents that are sent to me.

Let's face it. Time spent on reference documents is time away from translating, which is what pays the mortgage.

[Edited at 2015-10-16 10:21 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 16, 2015

I generally start by running around the office screaming and shouting, and once this subsides into incoherent muttering I politely tell them where to stick their job.

 

Jana Kinská  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 03:07
English to Czech
+ ...
Other Oct 16, 2015

If materials provided are excessive or hard to "navigate", I get back to the client/PM and ask for their clarification and about the importance of the individual files (e.f. what's really binding and what is provided for more context). It often turns out they do not know what all the glossaries and files contain so we normally find out together how to proceed.
Unfortunately, it happens quite often that glossaries and other materials provided involve mistakes, problematic solutions and literal translation so it is necessary to come up with the best solution, something between having a cake and eating it, as it were.icon_smile.gif


 

Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 03:07
English to German
+ ...
Other Oct 16, 2015

I only go into the references when I see any difficulty in the source text.

 

Nadja Balogh  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:07
Member (2007)
Japanese to German
+ ...
I have to stick to those glossaries Oct 16, 2015

I'm often dealing with Asian clients, and for many of them, their glossary is their holy bible.
Not to follow their glossaries and references will only lead to annoying questions afterwards, so I normally stick to them unless there's a serious problem.

In fact I regularly find flaws in those precious glossaries which I point out to my clients, and after the initial shock my advice is normally respected, even though it can take a while to be processed.


 

Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:07
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The most important ones. Oct 16, 2015

I read the most important glossaries. Otherwise, I would lose my time by reading many many files, so when would I start the translation??

 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
True that Oct 16, 2015

Charlie Bavington wrote:

I'm happy to plug-n-play most glossaries (unless they're utter crud).

In my experience, the more reference material you're sent, the worse quality it is. So if they send one document, I'll read it; if they send 5 or 6, I won't usually bother. Shhhh, don't tell them, though.


I recently completed a rush 17,000-word job (yeah, I know, I've said I don't do rush, heh) and the client sent me the previous employee manual as reference.

However, client said that I had the final say. I took a look at a couple of pages at the older manual in Spanish and that was it. After all, a) I get paid to translate, not read reference materials, and b) it was a RUSH job!


 
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