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Poll: Do you include Translator Notes in your documents?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:07
SITE STAFF
Jul 24, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you include Translator Notes in your documents?".

This poll was originally submitted by Belkis Díaz-Vidaillet

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Saskia Steur  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:07
English to Dutch
+ ...
I voted 'never' Jul 24, 2006

because I list my translator's note in the body of the e-mail message I send my clients. The translation documents themselves are sent as an attachment, without comments and/or notes. I do sometimes use a highlight for a word, phrase or paragraph and mention this in the e-mail message, just to make sure the client can easily identify a certain word or passage.

Best regards,
Saskia


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:07
Member
French to English
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Agree with Saskia Jul 24, 2006

I too always send my notes apart from the final document in order to avoid potential accidents (such as publishing material with an added note not intended for the target audience).

Thus far I have never been asked to provide notes within the documents delivered, but I have often been thanked by clients for providing my feedback or notes in an email or separate document.

Cheers,
Jocelyne


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 15:07
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Always Jul 24, 2006

I chose "frequently" and would have chosen "always" if that option had been available.

I may, however, have misunderstood the question. I don't include my notes embedded within the document (though I would do so if the client asked me to). I make a separate document with a list of comments, adding to it as I work. When I'm ready to submit the translation, I update/edit my translator's note (I can usually delete several items) and submit it as a separate document. My clients almost always thank me for it, and one told me that's the reason I'm getting his repeat business.

If the comments are very few, I may cut & paste them into an email. But I don't think I've ever sent a translation without notes. On rare occasions, I will highlight a very problematical term in the text; other than that, I send a clean translation and separate notes.


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 21:07
German
+ ...
Whoops Jul 24, 2006

Saskia Steur wrote:

because I list my translator's note in the body of the e-mail message I send my clients. The translation documents themselves are sent as an attachment, without comments and/or notes. I do sometimes use a highlight for a word, phrase or paragraph and mention this in the e-mail message, just to make sure the client can easily identify a certain word or passage.

Best regards,
Saskia

The wording of the poll is a bit ambiguous, I guess. I chose "Frequently", because we frequently send notes along with the translation but we always leave the translated file unmarked and un-annotated.

You never know if some dimwit just passes them along without even having a look at them, and it would be really embarrassing if a file with translator's notes in it went into print...

Regards,
Benjamin


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:07
English to Arabic
+ ...
Never/Frequently Jul 24, 2006

Yes, just like Saskia, I chose "Never" because I never write the notes in the translated text, but frequently do so in a separate document or the body of the email - like Jane, who went for "frequently".
So who got the poll right?


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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:07
Swedish to English
+ ...
Sometimes... Jul 24, 2006

I took translator's notes as meaning notes about the text/translation for the benefit of the end client, incorporated into the translation (footnotes or otherwise)... I also send e-mails/comments to agencies about the translation, but I don't count these as being "translator's notes".

I have one agency that regularly sends work with a specific request that translator's notes should be in the body of the text in square brackets - in case of being unable to find an abbreviation/completely illegible handwriting/etc. I think the original request for notes is from the end client. I even had one project where I had one single translator's note in 35,000 words - and it ended up being used, unedited, as a caption for a picture!

I also have one good direct client for whom I can send a first translation that is pretty much a rough draft, along with highlights in the text and an e-mail full of discussion points, and we work towards a finished product from there - but this is based on mutual trust of each other's expertise, and I don't regard any of our correspondence about the translation as falling under the category of translator's notes.


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 15:07
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Misunderstandings can bring about an interesting discussion. Jul 24, 2006

Well, so far we have three different interpretations of the poll--two of them based on the interpretation of "in your documents" and one on the definition of "translator notes." So, the numerical response may end up being meaningless, but the discussion of methods is well worth reading.

Clare (by the way, my maiden name is Barnes!), when I read the question I never even thought of the square-bracket insertions and the "Trans."-signed footnotes that I use (judiciously, I hope) for the information of the end user. I try to curb my tendency to overexplain, but sometimes it's necessary. If your interpretation of the poll question is right, then my answer would have to be "sometimes."

How fortunate you are in your "one good direct client" with whom you truly collaborate. I have one of those as well, and it's wonderful! What I send him is more polished than a rough draft, but still short of the final version that we can both be proud of.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
Frequently Jul 24, 2006

I frequently use notes in translations of existing legal documents that are included in a convenient place in the translation itself, either on the same page where clarification is needed when they are short and there is space, or otherwise appended at the end. These notes are intended for clarification to the reader of the document, not merely for the private consumption of the client.

The reasons for these note can include acronyms, items that have no direct translation or no viable equivalent or that can be misunderstood, errors, etc.

However, in documents generated by the client I simply point out any possible errors, omissions, inconsistencies, etc. I may have noticed in my e-mail


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Claudia Aguero  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 13:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Frequently Jul 24, 2006

Henry Hinds wrote:

The reasons for these note can include acronyms, items that have no direct translation or no viable equivalent or that can be misunderstood, errors, etc.

However, in documents generated by the client I simply point out any possible errors, omissions, inconsistencies, etc. I may have noticed in my e-mail


I understood "translator's notes" as clarifications or additional information; not as doubts or question for the client.

I usually write translator's notes in my certified translators as footnotes. I also use square brackets inside the text to indicate illegible information or missing texts.

I usually include my doubts in the email, not in the text. In a few cases I highlight words and tell the client about it both by phone and in the email.


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
voted "never," but... Jul 24, 2006

Saskia Steur wrote:
because I list my translator's note in the body of the e-mail message I send my clients. The translation documents themselves are sent as an attachment, without comments and/or notes. I do sometimes use a highlight for a word, phrase or paragraph and mention this in the e-mail message, just to make sure the client can easily identify a certain word or passage.



This is my habitual procedure as well.

Best,

Susana


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BelkisDV  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
I've learned something new today also. Jul 24, 2006

Dear all,

Thank you for voting. Your responses are very interesting. A "Translator's Note" (not NOTES) is an explanation of XXX in case the client has any doubts as to why you've chosen X over Y. It is also everything Henry has said in his posting, list the errors on the original, etc.

Sometimes our clients ask us to use certain terminology we don't agree with, we know it's not right or proper, but they may have their reasons for doing so (it's how they say it in-house, etc.) A Translator's Note in this case not only releases us from liability, it also states (very politely) that you prefer to say it THIS way instead of THAt way (provide references to back you up if possible.)

In Spanish we call it "N. del T.", it is placed at the end of the document (or as a footnote on a page) and serves the purposes described above.

Kind regards,
Belkis

[Edited at 2006-07-24 23:07]


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BelkisDV  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Translator's Note (Nota del Traductor) Jul 24, 2006

tectranslate wrote:

Saskia Steur wrote:


Saskia

The wording of the poll is a bit ambiguous, I guess. I chose "Frequently", because we frequently send notes along with the translation but we always leave the translated file unmarked and un-annotated.

You never know if some dimwit just passes them along without even having a look at them, and it would be really embarrassing if a file with translator's notes in it went into print...

Regards,
Benjamin


I agree with you Saskia, the original text I provided said "Translator's Note", not 'Translators Notes'.

See how a simple 'editing' job can change the entire meaning of a sentence?



Kind regards,
Belkis


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
Incorrect terminology Jul 25, 2006

Belkis said:

"Sometimes our clients ask us to use certain terminology we don't agree with, we know it's not right or proper, but they may have their reasons for doing so (it's how they say it in-house, etc.)"

This is something I've very seldom had any issues with, but it is not a matter for notes, it is a matter for discusssion with the client. They will get the translation as I feel it should be done (that is what they pay me for) and my opinions will be separate and apart.

It's seldom a problem, and the result is that they usually get more than they paid for.


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BelkisDV  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
I've often found the T.N. to be a life saver. Jul 25, 2006

Henry Hinds wrote:

Belkis said:

"Sometimes our clients ask us to use certain terminology we don't agree with, we know it's not right or proper, but they may have their reasons for doing so (it's how they say it in-house, etc.)"

This is something I've very seldom had any issues with, but it is not a matter for notes, it is a matter for discusssion with the client.


That works in most cases, more specifically I was referring to legal translations and even localization projects. In 17 years I've had to deal with very stubborn clients who wouldn't budge for anything.

The last disaster was a 130,000 word project for Puerto Rico. I correctly translated 'peanut butter' into Spanish for the PR market (mantequilla de maní), 6 months later I had no other recourse but threaten to take the Company to court for non-payment (an ugly situation I had never encountered before). The problem was a single individual who insisted on leaving the text in English.

Having lived in PR for 20 years, I knew no one would ask for 'peanut butter X', so I stuck to my guns. The client realized this and apologized by explaining one of their Senior Vicepresidents insisted on keeping the English version for that one item, not the company itself (???). I was paid immediately. Had it not been for the Translator's Note I included (despite numerous emails and phone calls for them to come to their senses and realize that rendition would not work), I would have been held liable for a mistranslation. The Translator's Note killed 2 birds with one stone: it cleared (if not saved) my reputation and I finally got paid.

Kind regards,
Belkis

[Edited at 2006-07-25 05:24]


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