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Poll: Do you feel some reviewers make changes to translations "just to change something"?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:52
SITE STAFF
May 18

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you feel some reviewers make changes to translations "just to change something"?".

This poll was originally submitted by Eva RUIZ. View the poll results »



 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:52
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, sometimes May 18

Yes, some do, but I do understand them. I’m also a reviewer and I know that some clients are not satisfied and even suspicious when you say that everything was OK! Over the years, I’ve built an excellent working relationship with a Proz.com member who reviews my work for three translation agencies. She’s very fair and thorough and on the very rare occasions I haven’t agreed with something (I always do the final check), we have discussed and solved the "issue" together either by e-mail or by telephone. I also have an arrangement with a trusted colleague where we review 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. Hope the same has happened with her...

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:52
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
From a reviewer's point of view... May 18

When reviewing - or in the old days proofreading - I was often asked to check texts written by Scandinavians or others who are not native speakers of English.
Some texts were translations, while others were written directly in English.

The writer might 'feel' that I was making changes 'just to change something', but in fact I tried very hard to avoid that.
Where special terminology was used, I checked who was responsible for the terminology, and made sure NOT to alter what the translator had written in legal or technical texts, when the specialist translator knew more than I did.

For the native speaker checking that the text was idiomatic, the synonym question does arise. The Danish word uddannelse covers education, training and sometimes qualifications as well. Education is not the normal English word for a two-day course in handling software or whatever: we call it training. Kompetanse is another word that does not always mean competency.

There are countless instances of where one apparent synonym is more appropriate than another. They are not always logical - it is a matter of common usage or idiom. I try to have a reason for the changes I make, even if I do not always write notes and comments about them.

But I certainly know the feeling - in my own translations, after I have thought about the alternatives, checked and looked them up... some reviewer goes and changes my text to the term I rejected. icon_mad.gif


 

Eric Zink  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
Member (2012)
German to English
There is always something May 18

I am also a reviewer (as well as a translator) and I don't care how many times you go over a text, there is almost always something that can be optimized. "Just to be changing something" is a little harsh, but it does apply to some changes I've seen to my translations by other reviewers. More irritating is when the changes insert errors into a text that was previously fine.

 

Eric Zink  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
Member (2012)
German to English
Inadequately informed proofreaders May 18

Christine Andersen wrote:

in my own translations, after I have thought about the alternatives, checked and looked them up... some reviewer goes and changes my text to the term I rejected. icon_mad.gif


Once I spent hours painstaking extracting technical terminology from a pair of catalogs PDFs provided as reference material. The proofreader came back with "improvements" that were cleary off-the-cuff suggestions. When I asked whether he had had access to the catalogs, too, the PM's response was "He's been really and hasn't had time to look at them."


 

mona elshazly  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 17:52
Member (2016)
Italian to Arabic
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Yes May 18

Yes, I feel that sometimes they want only to put the red pen on papers.

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:52
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, sometimes May 18

Very good question! It depends on the circumstances.

When colleagues work together and respect one another's work, their changes are often limited to constructive suggestions.

However, it can happen in a certain international organization that "revisers" go on a power trip and completely rewrite a translation, not only because it doesn't match what they would have done but also because there's a culture of "payback" for the many years that they themselves were revised and felt that their work was disrespected. At a conference, I once had to work under one of these people. He had struck out every line of my work and rewritten it between the lines. He then handed it back to me and harshly instructed me to retype it (I was working on a computer; if he did know word processing, it was beneath his dignity to use it).

With translation agencies, in the few reviews of my work that I've seen, I agreed with most of the changes. But there was one time when I did an article for a medical journal and the reviewer dumbed down the correct terminology to make the text more accessible to the general public (which I don't believe he/she was asked to do). In the process, a number of correct terms were exchanged for incorrect ones.

Some colleagues don't adjust their style to the audience of the text. Normally I don't mind, but when they correct my work, it bothers me.

I had one funny experience. I had just translated a medical text when I saw the same terms that I had recently researched pop up on KudoZ. "What a coincidence!" I thought, as I brightly posted my brilliant solutions. But I soon saw that it was more than a coincidence; it was the same text. I contacted the colleague and it turned out that he was reviewing my translation.

[Edited at 2018-05-18 09:15 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:52
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Add a positive comment instead May 18

mona elshazly wrote:

Yes, I feel that sometimes they want only to put the red pen on papers.


I once proofread twenty pages of law for a colleague, and made no real changes - I think I moved a comma and found a double space. You don't forget an experience like that!

Dear reviewers, instead of making arbitrary changes just to show you have 'been there', add a positive comment or two and complement the translator on a job well done.

I learned to do that from a mentor who read some of my earliest translations. It really helps a beginner to know which parts are fine, and should be left alone, as well as where there is room for improvement.
It makes the criticism much more acceptable, and it used to make my day when my mentor positively approved of my efforts!


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:52
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some, and sometimes May 18

Some owe their position to a quality control requirement and feel guilty if they don't seem to reflect it.
Some others want your job.
But, hey, as a member of a big team working for international orgs, I appreciate the lady or the guy who can bend 50 different styles and backgrounds into a consistent corporate look and feel!


 

George Simon  Identity Verified
Venezuela
Local time: 15:52
Member (2017)
Spanish to English
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Refreshing. May 18

After reading all your comments I find it refreshing to read your opinions.I am new to the world of translations and reviewing however, it is comforting to read that many of the feelings I have experienced upon having my material reviewed were not unique. Thank you all, I thought I was alone in my feelings and frustrations and I see now they are very commonplace.

[Edited at 2018-05-18 10:19 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes May 18

But thankfully not too often. What I dislike is that practically the only agency I work with nowadays sometimes asks me to comment on reviewers' modifications/suggestions. Although I do appreciate them giving me the chance to have my say and justify my own choices, at the same time I find it too time-consuming at their current rates. This makes me more reluctant to accept work from them... But the way I see it, it's their loss.

Only a couple of my direct clients ever make changes to the texts I deliver, and they usually discuss them with me, which is nice.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:52
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Always! May 18

Eric Zink wrote:

I don't care how many times you go over a text, there is almost always something that can be optimized.


First of all, there is a matter of perception. How will the client know that the reviewer actually read the text, if s/he made NO change whatsoever?

One of my most frequent clients - a translation agency in the USA - always has their jobs reviewed by a second pair of eyes. The translator and reviewer are in direct contact, and may exchange ideas freely. They actually swap T/R roles now and then, and nobody complains, because all these players - in spite of different backgrounds - have comparable competence as translators.

When I began working with them, 10+ years ago, initially as a reviewer I started the "paint me red" fad. Of course, the reviewer is expected to fix any mistakes, however the chance to improve the team's output is there, wide open. Why not take it?

So I changed everything that I thought that could be improved, so that WE - the T+R team - would always deliver our best. The PM at first had cold feet... could that many things be wrong??? As I explained it, my team mates quickly adopted this stance.

For some reason, my usual team mates prefer to have me translating, and they usually take up the reviewing. Now and then, when I'm overloaded with other jobs, I ask them to take the translator's seat, and I review.

Sometimes, one of the usual reviewers, when she doesn't like what I wrote, or the way I wrote it, but can't figure out the ideal solution, puts 2-3 other options there. These options often trigger another one in me, which will either be the final one, or directly lead to it.

Another team mate recently commented that I was correcting myself while reviewing, as I was adopting different solutions to matters that I had translated previously (for the same end client). As he put it, there is always room to keep improving.

Quite honestly, I am not shy of improving my own translations, if I can.

In that same agency, now and then we have a newbie. The first job there is always in the reviewer's role. One such newbie found nothing to improve in my translation. When I got it back, untouched, I still found a couple of tidbits I could improve further in my translation. I never heard of that guy again.

I think both translator and reviewer should hone every translation to their max. I don't differentiate between proofreading, editing, reviewing, whatever. The goal is to keep improving the TEAM's output. No point in T&R competing on who's the best to make the PM regret their role assignment, but to let that PM celebrate their clever team selection instead.


 

Lian Pang  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:52
Member (Mar 2018)
English to Chinese
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


It happens but I understand May 18

As long as they do not have malicious intent, like boosting their "competency" image by badmouthing about the translator, or intentionally doing a lot of preferential changes.

I understand if they make some revisions that have no major bearings. some clients just want to see that report filled as much as possible. "What ? Only two mistakes spotted ? We paid you for 5 hours ! What have you been doing ?"

Lol


 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:52
Dutch to English
+ ...
Take it on the chin May 18

Looking at the wording of this poll, it was probably devised by someone who is highly offended by changes in their translations. Part of the problem is that in some countries, like Portugal where I live, writing in red is a massive affront and enough in itself to get the correctee's hair standing on end.

I reviewed 3 texts this morning; 1 was crap, 1 was very good, and the third was average.
I only corrected the basic mis-translations, omissions and spelling mistakes in the crap one, but changed some sentence structures in the good one because it was worth making the extra effort. That's the difference.


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:52
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It happens all the time, and I don't understand or agree May 18

The vast majority of revisers that have crossed my path in 30 years were a disaster. What should be an excellent help to make translations better becomes stress, because the revisers just want to show how great they are (if they were great, they'd be translating, not revising).

My tips for them:

1. DO NOT replace any terms with synonyms, unless you are absolutely sure the other terms sounds a lot better and a lot more natural than the previous one. Your preference is not a mistake of the transaltor.
2. DO NOT change the order of the terms or reconstruct the phrase unless you are absolutely sure it sounds a lot better than before.
3. DO NOT mark five words in red if you are only changing one or a few letters.
4. You DO NOT have to fill a good translation with red marks to prove you are good and necessary.

If, and only if, you can do these four things, you can be a good reviser.


 
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Poll: Do you feel some reviewers make changes to translations "just to change something"?

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