Poll: Oops! You spot a mistake after submitting your translation. You...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:46
Dec 5, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Oops! You spot a mistake after submitting your translation. You...".

This poll was originally submitted by Natalia Pedrosa. View the poll results »


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Dec 5, 2015

It depends on the mistake, the client, the deadline etc. I'd usually inform the client though.


Teresa Borges
Local time: 10:46
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Oops! Dec 5, 2015

It doesn’t happen often as all my work is first proofread by me and then revised in-house by another translator but if I spot a mistake afterwards (errare humanum est!) I will correct it immediately and resend the file with apologies…


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:46
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Happens occasionally Dec 5, 2015

When I am asked to stagger delivery of multiple files.
If it does happen, I'll tell the customer what to do and where since they're already started reviewing what I've delivered.

It's their fault, anyway, for asking me to deliver in stages. However, they understand this and also appreciate icon_smile.gif my telling them what to do as part of continuous on-going improvement. Apparently, a lot of their other translators don't even bother.

Sincerity and honesty wins flat out! icon_smile.gif


Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:46
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Speaking as a perfectionist Dec 5, 2015

I would of course inform the client.

Happened just recently as part of a staggered delivery.

I was given a "glossary", an excel file with several different tabs supplied by each department of end client firm. It was absolute rubbish, with lots of far too literal translations (commercial department for service commercial for example). Some terms were translated differently in different tabs too.

I generated a termbase for my CAT tool to be able to flag the terms for me and used the terms wherever necessary, choosing the best term whenever multiple terms were specified.

As I was proofing the final delivery, the project manager asked me whether I was using "sales department" and I said "of course". Then I realised, while continuing to proof, that I hadn't because of the TB. So I quickly informed them.

It turns out that the client wanted "sales department" after all. I did suggest reviewing the glossary, because of course the "commercial director" would have to be changed to "sales director" and so on, and I could perhaps persuade them to change a few other horrors while on a roll with them, but there was neither time nor money to be had.

I won't be accepting work from that client again unless I'm in a really slow patch, the hassle is just too much even if the money is fairly good.


Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Staggered delivery Dec 5, 2015

A good point raised by Julian: if the client asks you to send the translation in sections it is not an infrequent occurrence to find youself changing your mind about a term you have already translated in the light of the way it is presented again in a later section. This might perhaps go hand in hand with "do you really read through the entire text before taking it on / starting the translation?". The "right" answer is "yes", but you and I know full well that the reality of it is that you skim, at best, and the longer the text, the lighter the skim.

Edited to insert a word I'd missed out...

[Edited at 2015-12-05 12:45 GMT]


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:46
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Let the client know Dec 5, 2015

I may re-send the file, depending on the circumstances. It has happened to me, but then of course I'm been translating for a very long time :=)

[Edited at 2015-12-05 11:23 GMT]


Luiz Barucke
Local time: 08:46
Member (2013)
Spanish to Portuguese
+ ...
Depends on when I realize it Dec 5, 2015

It happens.

If I realize a mistake right after sending a job, I just re-send it right away.

But if I'm the translator (not the proofreader) and have sent the job some time before (how long before depends on each project dynamics), simply re-sending it could create even more confusion. In this case, I'll let PM know exactly what the issue is, where it is and how to solve it, and I'll ask if PM prefers to ask proofreader to address it or receive my updated translation.


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:46
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Being honest is always positive Dec 5, 2015

I have learned throughout my entire life that, not only in translation or professionally, but in every aspect of your life, when you make a mistake or find out you've made one, run to the boss or client and say it, and offer yourself to fix it at once.

If you don't do that, someone else will (the reviser, for example), and believe me, the way this mistake will be reported to the boss is ten times worse than if you told them.

The human being, in general, has the very unfortunate habit of "pulling" other people down to climb up, and revisers do that regularly, but other colleagues as well.

I've had my ears pulled many times for mistakes found by other people. But I was never addressed in a negative way for admitting an error before it was noticed by someone elese. Actually, this type of attitude has resulted in positive reactions most of the time. Honesty is always a positive thing, and you will always be recognized for it.


Henry Schroeder  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:46
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Point it out, but don't generally read your work after you've sent it Dec 5, 2015

I answered "other" because I never read my work after sending it, but Julian reminded me of the staggered delivery issue, especially if you are working with Trados and the mistake is in a repetition, you will see it. Then I would definitely notify the client. The same goes for unpaid 100% translations seen in a text processed with a TM. I can't tell whether outsourcers appreciate this or not.


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