Poll: Have you ever questioned the quality of your work?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:36
Jun 23, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever questioned the quality of your work?".

View the poll results »


Gitte Hoveds (X)
Local time: 16:36
Danish to English
+ ...
Always Jun 23, 2017

If I didn't question the quality of my work, I would feel a fraud.

But I don't deliver work to a client until I am happy that the quality matches the client's expectations.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
Occasionally Jun 23, 2017

It would be remiss of me not to.
Having too much work at one time and deadlines which are unreasonably tight are probably the main reasons behind any perceivable lapses in quality. Oh, and poorly written source material can exacerbate things too...

[Edited at 2017-06-23 08:42 GMT]


Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
No Jun 23, 2017

How could you function as a freelancer if you didn't think your work was good enough?


Teresa Borges
Local time: 15:36
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In the past yes, but not now Jun 23, 2017

Please excuse my immodesty, but there is a reason: my golden rule for quality assurance is that all my work is proofread by another freelance translator (the only exceptions being very short texts = less than one page). I have an arrangement with an ex-colleague where we provide each other with mutual assistance and cooperation. Some medicine work is first revised by an expert (medical doctor) and then proofread. The same applies to some complex law documents that are revised by a lawyer friend of mine.


Jan Truper
Local time: 16:36
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Rarely... Jun 23, 2017

...and only because I tend to obsess.
About 2 weeks ago, I thought of the perfect German translation for a running joke ("to stop short") in a Seinfeld episode that I translated approx. 10 years ago.
So that one could have been slightly better...

[Edited at 2017-06-23 10:06 GMT]


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:36
English to Portuguese
+ ...
All the time before delivering, never after delivery Jun 23, 2017

Before accepting any assignment, I question whether I am competent to do it. This has led me to identify (so far) five areas of human knowledge where, if the material is intended for professional practitioners, I am not qualified to do it. I keep a short list of qualified colleagues I know personally, and who specialize in each of these areas I consider off-limits for me, and refer the prospect to them immediately.

While I'm doing it, I always keep checking on whether I'm doing my best, and yet, if that can be improved. Before delivering, I check on whether it is truly adequate for the intended use.

My goal is to have no regrets. Years ago, when I was moving home, I found translations I had done more than 30 years before. I was glad to notice that I could still be proud of them. Of course I developed in all these years, by taking ever more complex assignments. However I always did my best, and succeeded in not having any dark spots in my career, by always questioning the quality of my work while I do it.


Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
To me Jun 23, 2017

it is a must.


Ilan Rubin (X)  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:36
Russian to English
Often, but... Jun 23, 2017

... then I see the c#@p that peers produce in my language pair (or provide in Kudos answers) and I relax again 😁😁


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:36
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ambiguous Jun 23, 2017

This is a pretty ambiguous poll. Despite the cliché: please define "questioned".

1. Does it mean you were doubtful about the quality?
2. Does it mean you thought it wasn't so good and revised it carefully?
3. Does it mean you thought you delivered something below your own standards?
4. Does it mean you are picky about your own work and want to deliver the best always?

In each case, the reaction and the answers would be different:

1. I used to in the past, but not anymore
2. Sometimes it happens
3. It might have happened in the past, in cases of overburden or other issues.
4. Always


Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:36
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good [enough] Jun 23, 2017

I think that there is something to be said for both sides of where people seem to be coming down on this question.

On the one hand, a basic self-confidence is absolutely necessary to function as a freelance translator. If you truly thought that the work you were doing was inadequate, you would not only be unable to function, but would be so demoralized that both your work and your fundamental emotional wellbeing would be adversely affected.

On the other hand, and within the limits imposed by having to do projects involving tight deadlines and fee arrangements that place a premium on speed rather than quality, it is also important to recognize when your work leaves room for improvement.

In other words, I think that any translator who loses sight of the fundamental distinction between "good enough so that there are no serious complaints and I get paid" and "good period" is hampering their professional growth - and setting themselves up for very serious trouble somewhere down the line.

[Edited at 2017-06-23 17:47 GMT]


John Fossey  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:36
Member (2008)
French to English
Always Jun 23, 2017

I answered Other, because there should have been a response available for Always.

Questioning your own quality is fundamental, in my opinion. As soon as you stop questioning your own quality, the laws of entropy say that a deterioration in quality will begin to creep in.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:36
Member (2007)
+ ...

Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile

Confident most of the time, but not always. Jun 23, 2017

I was a little worried this week, for example. My cat had an op last Friday and will NOT wear a collar. Result: the rwo of us are keeping a 24hr/day watch on her. With nothing more than 4 hours' sleep at a time, it's difficult to ensure quality, so everything is takng longer. Mind you, my clients are doing quite well, getting deliveries at all hours!


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