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Poll: Have you ever had a translation criticized by an obviously less experienced reviewer?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Dec 8, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever had a translation criticized by an obviously less experienced reviewer?".

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:40
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, of course Dec 8, 2016

In my 30+ years of translating, you bump into lots of idiots who think they know more than you do.

I remember one particular job I got feedback for, obviously done by a complete nincompoop. I ripped it to shreds. Spent more time in dealing with the customer than I actually spent on translating it.

Anonymous is having a field day recently. This is the fifth Anonymous poll on the trot. I'm sure there is a nice backlog of bona fide polls suggested by the Proz community that could be chosen instead.


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Catherine De Crignis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:40
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
Yes Dec 8, 2016

Of course it can happen. Very unusual in my experience. Exceptional in fact, but rather unpleasant so it sort of sticks in your mind. I'd say that in the vast majority of cases people play the game by the rules:
1/ the selected reviewer is at least just as qualified for the purpose as the translator,
2/ he does his job properly.
Can't remember who said that, but to put it plainly a good reviewer leaves errors, whereas a bad one adds some.


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Catherine De Crignis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:40
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
LOL Dec 8, 2016

Julian Holmes wrote:
nincompoop


Haven't heard that one for a while and seeing it written is even funnier ( -;


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 13:40
Member (2005)
English to German
Yes, with two possible outcomes Dec 8, 2016

Yes, and I respond to such reviews on a very factual level, as in "I suggest to not change this word to that word, because...". I've seen two alternative outcomes: 1. I run, or 2. the reviewer is never seen again.

Alternative 1 happens far more often, but I've actually had the rare case that a client or project manager doublechecked and realized that the reviewer was not a native speaker, or not a SME, or just not good at what they were doing.

What is clear to me is that either the situation changes or I go. If I wanted to be bullied by people who have no business doing so, I would go into dependent employment. Living with inept superiors is the price employees pay for their advantages such as paid sick days. Some people are willing to pay this price, some aren't.


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Andrea Garfield-Barkworth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:40
Member (2015)
German to English
By the company's secretary Dec 8, 2016

She insisted that the word lighter can only be used in reference to lighting cigarettes and has nothing to do with something being less heavy!!

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Chie. I  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:40
Partial member (2013)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Yes Dec 8, 2016

I got complaints from an Indian client that my translation did not match Google Translate results. I STRONGLY recommended to use Google free service instead of me.
In other instance, well, a reviewer spoiled translation with inaccurate comments and I was much frustrated about it.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 12:40
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Dec 8, 2016

Yes, it happened a few times, though in general over the years I have had a very good experience with revisers (contrary to what most of you say). The first time, one of my clients (a Japanese direct client) after an internal restructuring decided to appoint a new reviser: a Spanish lady (I translate exclusively into European Portuguese), it took some time, a lot of examples, back-and-forth emails and some negotiation to finally convince him that I was right. The second case concerned also a direct client (an American one) and their reviser simply had no knowledge of the Portuguese language to translate let alone to review: for those of you who speak Portuguese he changed “não hesite em” into “não exite em”… I also remember a case with a European Commission in-house reviser, who said that a certain word didn’t exist in Portuguese when I was doing scrupulously as I was asked: use the directive XXX/XXX/EC terminology and yes that term was there…

Anyway, as I said before, I have an arrangement with a trusted colleague (we worked in-house together for 20 years) where we proofread each other's work. We know each other quite well and we both respect each other’s work. I for one have learned a lot with her revisions. Hope the same has happened with her...

Over the years, I have also built a good working relationship with a Proz.com member who revises my work for a translation agency. On the very rare occasions, I haven’t agreed with something (the agency always sends me the revised text), we have discussed and solved the "issue" together either by e-mail or by telephone.


[Edited at 2016-12-08 09:22 GMT]


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Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:40
Member (2012)
French to English
Sort of Dec 8, 2016

Last week, I got an email from an agency I work with, saying the client had questioned a few things in my translation. I had a look, with some trepidation, wondering what I had done wrong, then breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that the queries were all unjustified. I simply provided links to reference sources, etc., showing that the phrases I had used were correct.

A little while later, the agency asked if I could just have another look at the translation to make sure it was ok before sending it back to the client. At that point, I could see that several changes had been implemented, including one "grammar correction", where someone had wrongly removed an apostrophe. I didn't bother to tell them about this, as I don't see it as my job to explain English grammar to them. If they prefer to believe that their knowledge of the English language is superior to that of a native speaker, let them get on with it.


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Catherine De Crignis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:40
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
Quite Dec 8, 2016

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:
I didn't bother to tell them about this, as I don't see it as my job to explain English grammar to them.


This is it.
In case of agency work, there's only so much we can do about silly reviews before we start wasting time and money. My view is: "at the end of the day, it is their client, not mine".
For direct clients, it is frustrating of course if they'd rather go along with whatever the secretary said or wrote, instead of what we recommend. Ironical how it actually turns out to be a relief that our work is anonymous when someone goes and spoils it thinking they know better than we do.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:40
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
One in particular recently. Dec 8, 2016

I was getting regular and interesting work from a US agency, and had a good relationship with the project manager, but the constant niggling about petty matters of no importance, rudeness and wrong criticisms (plus a few correct ones, to give him his due) from the proofreader were so annoying that I refused to undertake any more work from them.

If by "less experienced reviewer" you mean someone less experience than myself in reviewing, that it also true. I spent about twelve years as an Assistant Chief Monitor in BBC Monitoring, regularly reviewing the work of trainees, newly qualified monitors and monitors in general for annual report.

@ Catherine de Crignis: Yes, "nincompoop" is not often used nowadays. Did you know it comes from the Latin "non compos mentis" (not of sound mind)?

[Edited at 2016-12-08 09:50 GMT]


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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:40
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes ... Dec 8, 2016

as the Romans liked to say, Vasa vana plurimum sonant.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:40
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I have to admit that I have also done it myself Dec 8, 2016

Luckily, I was working in-house when I was first asked to review work by colleagues.

I had to call the translator and talk about each change I proposed, which was a very healthy exercise! My main task was to be the native speaker of English, and pick up on any non-native syntax etc. It was before the days of Trados, so I had to find the odd skipped sentence and that kind of inaccuracy as well. I was reviewing translations into English by experienced Danish colleagues, and I could see some very neat solutions to problems I was meeting in my own translations.

I would like to point out that it may not be an entirely bad idea to let beginners review the work of more experienced colleagues, with suitable supervision and provided the experienced translator makes the final decision whether to make changes or not.

Of course, I have also had my texts reviewed (and sometimes mangled) by others, and only last week a colleague and I gave a client a 10% discount. There was nothing wrong with the translation, but the client insisted on using the bullshit bingo their advertising agency suggested, and we did not want to spend any more time on arguing. We also refused to take any responsibility for the text whatsoever. It was not as we wrote it, and it was not a correct translation of the source text.

Ouch, that kind of thing still hurts!!! (And it's not the money, that just means less tax in my case...)


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:40
Member (2006)
German to English
Oh yes Dec 8, 2016

After spending one week in London without a clue of the languagem the Germans are generally experts in all language fields.
I do not argue, just say to them "OK", but if the car does blow up, I do have the original documents to get me out!


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Catherine De Crignis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:40
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
Thanks Jack Dec 8, 2016

Jack Doughty wrote:
@Catherine de Crignis: Yes, "nincompoop" is not often used nowadays. Did you know it comes from the Latin "non compos mentis" (not of sound mind)?

[Edited at 2016-12-08 09:50 GMT]


No, I didn't know that, Jack. The child in me always thought the whole sound of the word and particularly its ending were odd and amusing, that's all ( -;


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