Poll: Do you usually ask a trusted colleague to proofread your translations?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 09:44
SITE STAFF
Jan 29, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you usually ask a trusted colleague to proofread your translations?".

This poll was originally submitted by Constance de Crayencour. View the poll results »



 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jan 29, 2016

It depends on the client and the text. I can proofread many of the texts I translate myself, but sometimes I feel the need for a second opinion or a fresh pair of eyes on it, in which case I ask a trusted colleague to have a look at my effort before delivering the final version.

For example, educational texts about teaching and teaching theory can be rather faddish and jargony, so I tend to ask someone who is aware of all the current goings on (and turns of phrase, buzzwords etc) in the sector just to make sure I'm not coming across like a throwback.

[Edited at 2016-01-29 08:30 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-01-29 08:31 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 17:44
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Usually, yes! Jan 29, 2016

I always revise and check my translations several times before sending them to a trusted ex-colleague (we worked together for 20 years). All my work is proofread by her (the only exceptions being very short texts = less than one page). We have an arrangement where we provide each other with mutual assistance. Some work (medicine) is first revised by an expert (medical doctor) and then proofread.

 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 18:44
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
No, Jan 29, 2016

Only if the client asks and pays for it.

BTW: Most of my clients have their own proofreaders and sometimes I am one.

[Edited at 2016-01-29 09:30 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
No Jan 29, 2016

If I could find a trusted colleague I'd send them all my work and retire to a Caribbean island.

But no, I don't routinely take my car to a second garage to check the first garage tightened all the right nuts. I trust they did a good job, while accepting that humans sometimes err. Which is what most of my customers do.

Proofreading in the traditional sense has its place, of course, but proofreading in the modern sense of polishing turds is just agencies blowing smoke so they can use cheap and nasty translators in the first place.


 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jan 29, 2016

Yetta J Bogarde wrote:

Only if the client asks and pays for it.

BTW: Most of my clients have their own proofreaders and sometimes I am one.



That's what I was thinking. I always read over what I've done before sending it, run the spellchecker just in case, then assume the client (agency or otherwise) has someone else who will give it a final look-see.


 

David Young (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 18:44
Danish to English
Translation partnership Jan 29, 2016

My wife & I do the translations together. For a translation into English, I do the first draft and read it through; she checks the translation to make sure there aren't any obvious misunderstandings on my part, as well as proofreading and suggesting other ways of expressing a passage if that occurs to her. It has developed into a really good partnership. On the odd occasion that we do a translation from English to Danish, the roles are reversed.

 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:44
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Why do we insist on calling it "proofreading"? Jan 29, 2016

It's not proofreading, folks. There are plenty of terms in plain English that describe what we do to a translation after the first draft: review, revise, edit, correct, polish, check... But proofreading it is not, unless you work for a publisher and are checking through a "proof":

proof
a trial impression of a page used for making corrections before final printing.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 18:44
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Proofreading is what the client says it is ... Jan 29, 2016

We can define it all we want, but if clients don't take any notice and understand the term differently, then it is a waste of time to argue. For many clients 'proofreading' is an umbrella term that means doing the necessary to ensure a translation is fit for use, and it is shorter than listing a whole lot of other terms that also need defining.
(How do you differentiate between reviewing, revising and editing? And I never quite understood one agency's instructions about 'flagging' issues but not making alterations...)
___________________

I don't send my work to a colleague. I go through it two or three times and check in several ways, then I deliver to the agency.

Some send me a PDF to check again, to make sure there are no ridiculous line-breaks or 'widows and orphans' - which the Danes so charmingly call horeunger (bastards!)...
Or no other minor points I want to alter.

Some agencies do have a second person to check what comes in.

However, I agree that a lot of the so-called QA that goes on is a waste of everybody's time. It would be far better to let one qualified translator have the extra day to get everything right first time, sleep on it, and make the necessary refinements.

You can call that method old-fashioned, or you can call it tried-and-tested and hard to improve on. It is NOT outdated - in many cases it is still the most effective.
A second pair of eyes can be an advantage, and feedback is often very useful, but I reckon my work is fit for purpose when I deliver the first time.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Like calling it DTP when it's typesetting Jan 29, 2016

Simon Bruni wrote:

It's not proofreading, folks. There are plenty of terms in plain English that describe what we do to a translation after the first draft: review, revise, edit, correct, polish, check... But proofreading it is not, unless you work for a publisher and are checking through a "proof":

proof
a trial impression of a page used for making corrections before final printing.


Guilty as charged, Simon, but I know what you're saying. I used to proofread galleys in Spanish for a typesetting company in Manhattan. I used proofreading marks (the ones that appear on the back cover of many dictionaries) and used a red pen for that.

However, it's too late to stop that train of usage. Strictly speaking in the translation sphere, proofreading is making sure that there are no typos and checking for punctuation errors. Editing (which many still confuse with proofreading and reviewing) involves sometimes rewriting a paragraph or translating a term or a phrase the translator forgot. At least, that's how I use those terms.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Flagging Jan 29, 2016

Regarding your comment, And I never quite understood one agency's instructions about 'flagging' issues but not making alterations...), Christina, allow me to give you an example.

To flag an issue is to indicate a problem with the text. I can think of two examples:

1) You are the proofreader of a translation. The client just wants you to mark (with track changes in Word or with a yellow note in Adobe Acrobat) where a word should be changed or where there is a typo that needs attention, but you are not expected to make the correction yourself.

2) You are proofreading a PDF file containing the translation, prepared by a typesetter (why they keep calling them desktop publisher is almost a mystery to me). The typesetter has been put in charge of making changes to the Quark Xpress, InDesign or other type of file. So your client is asking you to indicate the problems the PDF file has. One example would be a heading that is too long or too close to the first paragraph.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 01:44
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No Jan 30, 2016

Chris S wrote:

But no, I don't routinely take my car to a second garage to check the first garage tightened all the right nuts.



Chris, my nuts are tight, figuratively speaking, of course. icon_smile.gif

When my customers ask me to do a translation, they know what they are getting - work done and checked/revised by moi. Nothing more nothing less.

There might be the occasional newbie who asks the obvious "Will it be proofed by a native?" or "Who is going to give it the 'native check'?" I will just give them a blank look or an equivalent e-mail so that they can realize the idiocy of their question. I have also asked if they want a 'bushman' to give it a once over (in response to the 'native check' query), which also helps them to realize that they shouldn't have asked the stupid question in the first place.

@Simon Bruni
Yes, you're quite right.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:44
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No - I proofread my own translations Jan 30, 2016

I try to read every translation twice - once for content and then for typos. When I review my own work, I call it 'proofreading'. When someone else goes over my work, I call it 'reviewing'.

 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:44
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No, but Jan 30, 2016

But I know some agencies (unfortunately) have revisers. In 28 years of experience, I found that revisers and proofreaders are most of the time a negative aspect of our profession. When they are engaged to revise a poorly translated text, they may be an excellent choice, as they will have something to do. But when they are given a good translation to review, they will never, ever, be satisfied to simply fix the typos and a few concordance and punctuation mistakes. They have that uncontrollable need to fill your text with red marks, changing six for half a dozen most of the time.

It has happened to me many, many times that a client sends my translations to a proofreader, then sends me back the revision, and I eliminate 90% of their "corrections", with plausible explanations why the "corrections" were undue. And many other times, the agency sends the revised document to the client without my double checking, then, when the client complains about errors, the agency sends it back to me, only to find out ALL the errors the client complained about were the "corrections" made by the reviser.

I would be very happy if none of my translations were ever touched again by a proofreader/reviser.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:44
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
a good night's sleep Jan 30, 2016

Christine Andersen wrote:

However, I agree that a lot of the so-called QA that goes on is a waste of everybody's time. It would be far better to let one qualified translator have the extra day to get everything right first time, sleep on it, and make the necessary refinements.



the day a good night's sleep goes out of fashion, so do I.

I always tell my clients that translations are like bread, it's so much better if you can leave it in the fridge overnight.

During my stint as PM, the rare genuine quality issues we had all cropped up in "urgent" projects.
Translator has less than 24hrs, turns in sub-standard work, proofreader has even less time, decides to give benefit of the doubt instead of double-checking since the translator always does a good job. Client then takes a week to detect the error. Why not simply give the translator a decent deadline in the first place?

And to answer the question: it was routine procedure at the high-end agency I worked at. Nowadays no I don't any more. I learned tons going through my proofred work at the agency and I even at times visualise the very prim and pinched look on a certain colleague's face* as I contemplate using a term she would underline in red. I consider myself grown up enough to be able to decide whether or not to ignore her.


* the French have the perfect expression to describe this sort of person: "psycho-rigide"


 


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