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Poll: Should a linguist stick to quality or deadline?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:37
SITE STAFF
Mar 18, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Should a linguist stick to quality or deadline?".

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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:37
Member
English to French
Deadline Mar 18, 2016

Letting the customer know that quality will suffer from insufficient lead time.

A customer who wants printed material for an event no longer needs it after the event. Either they knowingly order a sub-standard translation, or they do without the translation.

I fail to see the point of delivering a quality translation that is of no use to the customer.

Philippe


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:37
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Both ... Mar 18, 2016

... of course. Ideally, one shouldn't accept a tight deadline if it means the quality will suffer. I know that these days "urgency" seems to be increasing but there are limits to what one person can do.

 

Markus Perndl
Austria
Local time: 15:37
Italian to German
+ ...
Other... Mar 18, 2016

A translator should not accept a job, if he is not able to deliver a good quality wihin the agreed delivery date...

 

svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:37
French to German
+ ...
Other Mar 18, 2016

First of all, never bite off more than you can chew.

If a deadline seems unreasonable to start with, tell the customer and let them decide if speed is more important than quality. After all, they may just need a draft for whatever reason. On the other hand they may not have realised that the given deadline is to short and might be able to extend it. In any case, it's a good idea to sort that out before accepting a job.


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:37
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Wrong question Mar 18, 2016

The keyword is "should". Otherwise, the more measurable element in the contract (yes, it is a contract of sorts) is "deadline".

Consequently, the answer lies in an assumable estimate of output under aceptable conditions of quality. No one can be called a bad translator if he negotiates the deadline or calls for assistance to meet it.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:37
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Mar 18, 2016

svenfrade wrote:
First of all, never bite off more than you can chew.


Deadlines must be met. Quality shouldn't suffer.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:37
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other! Mar 18, 2016

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

svenfrade wrote:
First of all, never bite off more than you can chew.


Deadlines must be met. Quality shouldn't suffer.


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 08:37
German to English
+ ...
The question is totally wrong Mar 18, 2016

When a translator sets the deadline within which she can complete the translation, quality is already the main consideration. There can be no conflict between quality and deadline.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:37
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Other Mar 18, 2016

Both, of course. As they said at business school, you can't sell Christmas trees in January.
There are times when a deadline cannot be altered, and you have to do the best you can in a short time. Delivering on time is also an element of quality!

In fact, interpreters do the best they can at speed. They can't doodle about correcting and adjusting - they have to translate each sentence and move on. I can't do it myself, so I am fascinated and respectful when others can.

They prepare in advance. They read up on the subject, practise, and as far as possible have things ready before they start.
Translators can do that too. Get to know the clients, or at least the industries they work in. I look at any earlier work I have done for the client and note their terminology, and collect solutions to style issues.

When the rushed jobs job come, I can fire off a reasonably worded translation at speed. I always aim to make a usable draft of a translation at the first pass. For the 'here today and mulched tomorrow' kind of text, the quality is acceptable to good.

There are texts that need polishing and refining, and it is always good to have time to 'sleep on' a translation. In my case the results are usually better, but sometimes just different - and possibly less consistent!

Experience helps, and as others have said, you should never take on more than you can deliver. I never accept a really impossible deadline, or too many rushed jobs in succession.

If 'fast' is all the client wants, then MT is making progress!


 

Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 13:37
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Both Mar 18, 2016

If you can't do both, don't take the job.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:37
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Other Mar 18, 2016

Christine Andersen wrote:

Both, of course. As they said at business school, you can't sell Christmas trees in January.
There are times when a deadline cannot be altered, and you have to do the best you can in a short time. Delivering on time is also an element of quality! ....

If 'fast' is all the client wants, then MT is making progress!



Exactly. Even if you try to deliver the best possible quality, it won't do much good if you return the translation late. Your client (agency) might also have a tight and mandatory delivery deadline.


 

Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:37
English to Russian
+ ...
Client's needs Mar 18, 2016

In all cases linguist should stick to client's directions.
Sometimes, clients ask to compromise quality for the sake of meeting very tight deadline. However, it is up to you to accept or decline such jobs


 

Sara Maghini  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:37
English to Italian
+ ...
Why should you choose between two fundamental elements? Mar 18, 2016

If you're a real professional, you guarantee both. Simply don't accept a job if you can't deliver it on time.

 

Nele Van den Broeck  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 15:37
French to Dutch
+ ...
Both but... Mar 18, 2016

Both, but if I really have to choose I would say deadline, provided that the quality is "acceptable".

What would be best:
Acceptable quality (not a masterpiece, but correct and mostly idiomatic) and on time?
Or a masterpiece ("This translation should be nominated for an award of Best Quality Ever"), but too late?
I honestly think that a lot of us most of the time aim for "acceptable to good quality", and not for "extraordinary good quality" due to deadline restrictions, don't you think so?


 
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