Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Did anybody have this: I have to justify my proofreading.
Thread poster: Serge Driamov

Serge Driamov  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 08:37
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Aug 17, 2009

Hello everybody.

I got a translation of a short brochure for proofreading. Not bad but obviously a not native speaker has made it. Some days after I have delivered it the agency contacted me again asking to justify necessity of suggested changes (those, which have been accepted:)) and try to meet request of the end client to be closer to the initial context of some important expressions, which I have changed.:)
On the one hand, I would like to make reasonable and convincing explanations. On the other hand, nearly all I can explain is just "we do not put it like this in Russian but rather put it like that" and "I am a native speaker of Russian, that is why I know it".
The agency has an in-house Russian translator, who did the translation job.

Should I post the edited extracts on translation forums to collect pro- and contra- of the initial and the edited versions and then refer the agency to these forums?:)

Should I request the agency to clarify whether their in-house translator is really a native speaker of Russian?:)

How to charge for this explanatory job? At least one of my suggested changes of the text I can justify referring to a Russian grammar educational site. For me it looks like educating this in-house translator. So, charging for teaching?:)

P.S. most of the changes, which the agency and/or the end client have not accepted, were still necessary. Is there a point struggling for them?:)

Looking at the situation with a humor (that is why smiles in the text), however seriously need an advice.

Thanks


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:37
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Yes, you do. Aug 17, 2009

Can you send a letter to Boeing telling them "your 737 is not good but I'm not telling you why"... ? No, you can't.

Yes, you have to justify at least the most frequent changes you made. Without justification it has no value, it's just an opinion. You can't just say "this is how we say it in my village".

If you want to make it easy for yourself, you could

a) provide some reference from similar publications on at least 4-5 issues in the text
b) explain why this and that expressions had to be changed (at least 5 examples, if not 10)
c) instruct the agency to also hire a third editor to take a look.

Professional work = Documented and Justified.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 00:37
Spanish to English
Mmm Aug 17, 2009

None of us are above making mistakes, but why did they hire you as a proof-reader if they do not trust your expertise?

In my days as an English teacher I got a student who would not accept my word for the right way to speak English and argued a point for a good twenty minutes without my being able to convince him. You can't teach like that. At some point there has to be trust, not totally blind trust, of course, but if they do not trust your judgment they should look for a proofreader whose judgment they can trust.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

irina savescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 08:37
English to Romanian
Yes, you need to be able to justify the changes that you make Aug 18, 2009

P.S. most of the changes, which the agency and/or the end client have not accepted, were still necessary. Is there a point struggling for them?

NOPE. If you've already prepared a document justifying some/most or all of the accepted changes, just make a note at the end emphasizing that you still think that the other changes were still necessary and perhaps, as previously advised, suggest they pay a second proofreader and then decide.
Justifying your work is important for your own professional reputation. Doing unpaid work is not. And it usually takes, in the beginning, more time to explain your changes than to just to correct the text.

Should I request the agency to clarify whether their in-house translator is really a native speaker of Russian?


YES. and then prepare for a tornado of angry emails if he or she actually IS a native speaker.
I did this once, when the document was so bad it looked as if Google translated. And I got email after email of "so bad it's good" Romanian to prove 'nativeness'. I stopped replying after the first one and just enjoyed the funny writing.


[Edited at 2009-08-18 02:57 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
You have to educate them Aug 18, 2009

This has happened to me a couple of times.
The agency had a document translated by a non native, and the result was hilarious/hopeless (depending on your mood).
Words were not even in the right order, and there were mistakes that I think even a computer would have not done.
I called the agency and told them I was gonna have to apply a higher rate because the original translation didn't make sense.
They asked me to justify, I corrected a sample and asked them to show both samples to another native translator.
The other translator confirmed my diagnosis, they accepted my rate, and all was for the best.

There are still plenty of clients and even agencies who do not understand it is a way safer (if not compulsory) to hire a native in the first place and/or to assess the skills of their translators before even giving jobs to them.
You have to educate them.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:37
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Use established marking criteria Aug 18, 2009

Use professional terminology and specific categories to justify your changes, such as:

• wrong term
• syntactical error
• mistranslation
• wrong sentence structure
• omission
• misspelling
• punctuation error
• style (verbose/ wrong register.. etc)

The application of such clear marking criteria will make your assessment more credible.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Vitals  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 08:37
Member (2008)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Same as Johanna Aug 18, 2009

That's exactly what I do when I have to justify corrections - I use short phrases like the ones Johanna mentioned above.

There was a case when they asked me for an individual case - "Why did you translate the name of the co. this way and not the other way?" Then I provided references and links to relevant sites and sources.

I did not charge for those explanations...but that's a good idea! How about sth per target explanation word??


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Question to Johanna and/or Vitals Aug 18, 2009

I agree that you must be able to justify changes you make when proofreading, and "on the spot" justification is clearly a good idea, but I'd like to know exactly how you mark your changes.

Assuming you use the Word option of tracking changes, do you make the change then add the category? How do you ensure the client doesn't think you are suggesting this as part of the change? I know it's obvious to you but it needs to be clear to the client as well.

Example that I would like to avoid:

John likes spaghetti chips and rice ===> John likes spaghetti, punctuation chips and rice


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:37
French to English
+ ...
"Comment" function Aug 18, 2009

Sheila Wilson said:
Assuming you use the Word option of tracking changes, do you make the change then add the category? How do you ensure the client doesn't think you are suggesting this as part of the change? I know it's obvious to you but it needs to be clear to the client as well.

The "Comment" function in Track Changes is perfect for this - you can put in any remark you like about the nature of the mistake, and the client will know it's not meant for inclusion in the final text.

I do think it's important to justify changes. I tend to comment on one instance of each type of mistake, and then refer back to the initial comment each time this mistake-type crops up.

Knowledge of linguistics terminology/parts of speech helps a lot here.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
Excel Aug 18, 2009

When I do proofreading of Excel files, I create one column to explain the mistake category (quite similar to those listed by Johanna). If you choose key words which all start by a different letter, you don't need to type them every single time, they pop in as soon as you type the first letter.

It helps the client who might not understand the language to know if this is a big (omission, misunderstanding) or smaller (spelling, style) mistake.

By having different proofreaders check the work of one translator on different projects, the agency can grasp the actual level of this translator in a more objective way.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:37
English to French
+ ...
Using a PDF Aug 18, 2009

To answer Sheila's questions, I find that creating a PDF with the already proofread document showing tracked changes (without comments) works well. What I would do (and have done on a few occasions) is to use tracked changes to correct the translation (target text only). Then, I would create a PDF out of that copy, so the PDF would show the tracked changes. Then, I highlight the tracked changes which need to be justified and add a comment to the highlighted bit to explain the correction. This is easier on the eyes than adding comments directly in Word, avoids confusion because all commenting is added in commenting bubbles, which are separate from the actual corrections, doesn't allow for the client to mess up the tracked changes (in the PDF, these can't be edited) and allows for the client to reply to the comments with their preferences without messing up the corrections.

To answer Dr. Serge's questions, I believe you do have to justify your corrections. Sometimes, clarifications are requested not because the client doesn't trust your abilities but because they just want to understand the reasoning behind it. Since the client may not understand the target language, it is hard for them to try to finetune a translation. Also, your client may be alarmed by the number of corrections you have made and they may be afraid they are working with the wrong translator and they need your help to figure out just how good (or bad) the translator is.

However, I do not believe you should be required to comment every single correction in detail--that would be unfair. I would highlight the most obvious mistakes I corrected and explain those at length and then just code the rest of them, as Johanna suggested. As for the bits that you say are not expressed the right way in your native language, I wouldn't even go as far as saying that--I would simply say "does not sound native".

I do think that you could post a few such expressions on KudoZ and send links to those to the client. Actually, if you do use the markup method I suggest above, you can simply paste the links to the KudoZ questions in the commenting bubbles in the PDF.

Don't charge for any of this. Instead, make sure you only go into explanations where they are really relevant and don't overdo it--after all, you were hired to proofread the document, not to teach the translator to do his job.

Also, don't ask the agency to clarify whether the translator is native or not. This is relevant only for them, not for you. Requesting this may be construed as rude on your part. But if you do honestly believe the translator is not native, loyalty dictates that you suggest it to the agency. Just be careful not to sound like you are trying to discredit the translator. Instead, put it in a way that is helpful to your client. Make sure they understand that IF the translator is not native, the situation you are all going through now may very well repeat itself. Show them you are trying to help them avoid that in the future.

Do not struggle for your changes to be implemented. Make it clear that, although you would very much like to see your changes implemented, it is entirely up to them to accept and reject the changes they deem fit, but that you would not have proposed those changes had you deemed them optional. Then, just leave it up to them. They should have the last word either way.

All the best!

[Edited at 2009-08-18 15:44 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:37
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Some explanations Aug 18, 2009

To answer Sheila's questions (sorry to take so long, I just got up here at the West Coast!)

I’ve marked translations produced by candidates sitting for the Canadian ATIO/CTIC certification exams. The handwritten texts are assessed by applying the criteria above, and the respective notes (categories) are then added in the margin of the pages. Each category is assigned a numeric value (punctuation errors are considered minor flaws, while mistranslations are more serious, obviously), and the final pass/fail score is calculated by adding the number of errors.
When proofreading for a colleague, I usually just use the “comment” function to suggest alternatives.
Occasionally, a new translator or an agency will ask me to assess a translation. In those cases, I use “track changes”, and write a brief summary using the objective marking criteria above.
I also always comment on the strong points of a translation; there usually is a nice idiomatic phrase that deserves praise, or a neat choice of words, or just a creative way of dealing with a tricky sentence

Cheers,
johanna


[Edited at 2009-08-18 17:03 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:37
English to French
+ ...
I wish... Aug 18, 2009

Johanna Timm, PhD wrote:

I also always comment on the strong points of a translation; there usually is a nice idiomatic phrase that deserves praise, or a neat choice of words, or just a creative way of dealing with a tricky sentence

How I wish you were the one to review my translations! Who knew some people also look at the bright side when reviewing others' work?

One can only be fair if they look at both sides of the coin. And I find fairness should be a cornerstone of professionalism.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Serge Driamov  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 08:37
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Use professional terminology and specific categories to justify your changes Aug 18, 2009

Thank you Johanna,

I will definitely apply your suggestion to practice.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Serge Driamov  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 08:37
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The "Comment" function in Track Changes Aug 18, 2009

[quote]Angela Dickson wrote:



The "Comment" function in Track Changes is perfect for this.


Thank you Angela,

I hardly ever use this function and I see, I should.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Did anybody have this: I have to justify my proofreading.

Advanced search







Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2017 only €415 / $495
Get the cheapest prices for SDL Trados Studio 2017 on ProZ.com

Join this translator’s group buy brought to you by ProZ.com and buy SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance for only €415 / $495 / £325 / ¥60,000 You will also receive FREE access to our getting started eLearning program!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search