QA analyses and dreary corrections
Thread poster: Nika Plevnik

Nika Plevnik  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 04:19
Member (2009)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Sep 5, 2009

To err is human and everyone make mistakes while translating, no doubt about that. Even proofreading does not eliminate all the mistakes. Some mistakes occur because of the software and messy situation with the codes and you easily overlook a letter or space. The other occur, because the words are not pointed out by a spellchecker, since they have a meaning and are not considered as a mistake out of context. I admit, these are my mistakes, my sloppy moments that I stumbled across the keyboard. These corrections have to be made by a translator free of charge and a translator has to be available to implement/comment them as soon the feedback arrives.

There are many different tools how to eliminate mistakes and keep terminology consistency already imbedded in the software, so called QA checks. Very useful tools, indeed, thank God for these.

Why I am writing this is because some of the agencies I am working with compare my translation with their TM and get back to me with a huuuuge list of inconsistencies/mistakes. But these are not mistakes, these are just different forms of words (declinations, endings etc.) that do not match the ones that are in their TM, because these entries are usually in their dictionary form. What they ask from me is to check all these entries to eliminate the possibility of making a mistake. These so called quality checks take me a few hours to the half of the day to get through. Above all this, I have to mark all changes that I consider important and that I decided to change them in the final document, in a separate report.

Now, I am asking you, dear colleagues, is this a normal way of QA that I have to spend almost the same amount of time to do these dreary checkups and reread the entire document free of charge? Would it be legitimate to claim an extra charge for these QAs?

Any thought would be very much appreciated.



Have a lovely weekend,

Nika


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Adam Łobatiuk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:19
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
I couldn't agree more Sep 5, 2009

With time, my regular clients have actually abandoned such terminology checks, as Polish, like Slovenian and most other Slavic languages, is rich in inflected forms, indeed. For example, an adjective has 3 genders in the singular and plural (although this is debatable), and 6 cases. Many forms overlap, but that's still about a dozen forms vs a single one in English.

You can reason with some clients by referring to e.g. a Wikipedia article about the grammar of your language, or by pointing out the percentage of actual errors among all the false positives in your reports. Maybe you can get in touch with your client's other translators working with languages like ours and discuss a strategy. If you can't and you're familiar with Excel functions, you could use the following technique:

- boring stuff starts -

Most such reports are or can be in Excel format. The columns usually contain the source segment, the translated segment and the glossary target term. You can use the MID (in English) function in an unused column to establish the part of the word that is most likely to stay unchanged, and then determine if that part of the word is present in your translation with the SEARCH function in yet another column. If it is, there is no error, you can filter for such no error results and comment them all at once.

For MID you need to indicate the initial character and the length of the string. Very often the first character and 0.5 length of the glossary term will be sufficient. For example, "restore" is "przywracać", "przywróć", "przywracanie" etc. So what we need is "przywr" and even "przyw" will do. If your translation contains "przywr", the term is translated correctly.

With SEARCH, you search for the result of MID in your translation string. It will return a number (the position of the MID string in your translation) or an error. If it returns an error, that means you have an actual terminology problem or MID was not accurate enough.

When you're done, apply auto filters and filter for the errors and non-errors and act on them accordingly. This should save you some time but requires experimentation with the string length. And it doesn't work with multiple word terms.

- boring stuff ends -

Another problem with those terminology checks is that the source text is often written poorly, with many unnecessary repetitions. It is quite counterproductive having to use the same number of term occurrences in a sentence, while you could easily use the term just once. Unfortunately, no Excel can help here.

Hope that helps a little.


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:19
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Why free of charge? Sep 5, 2009

If they want you to do unnecessary checking, they have to pay. It's as simple as that.

If you feel bad about those few mistakes which are really your fault, mark them in the Excel or whatever they send you. For example, if you spend one hour on corrections and 97 out of 100 items are OK, charge them 97% of your hourly rate.

Moreover, I suspect that they use the QA procedure as a replacement for a human proofreader. This is simply wrong - insist that the text is checked by another person. This will take care of your three mistakes (and possibly some more, which QA cannot catch...).


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Nika Plevnik  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 04:19
Member (2009)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Big thanks to both Sep 5, 2009

Dear Adam & Jabberwock,
thanks for your responses.
A. thanks for suggesting the MID function. I guess I'll need some practice and this might save some time. I'll explain the fact with inflections to a PM and hopefully she'll understand. I had to reread 8188 words and I managed to finish it in a little more than 4 hours of constant work. I found 3 typos and 25 other inconsistencies that were not real errors but mainly just different word order, word form or use of synonyms that were not marked in their TM. Jabberwock, what a great suggestion - I'll offer them a discount for the mistakes that occur due to my "sloppiness". I'll try to deal sth out of this situation, since this is the second time that I had to perform this kind of QA. I'll be quite happy with the paycheck for let's say 3 hours.
I'll keep you posted about the result of my negotiation


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Travelin Ann  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:19
French to English
+ ...
If it is only one agency that gives you these issues --- Sep 6, 2009

would you consider building an extra cost into your basic quote? In US English, we call it a "fudge factor"

If the agency stops the practice, you can always give them a "good customer" discount at the end - "It took me less time than I estimated, so I will reduce my invoice by x%."

Just a suggestion - good luck!


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Yiannis Markomanolakis
Greece
Local time: 05:19
English to Greek
Take a look at the bright side Sep 6, 2009

Jabberwock wrote:
Moreover, I suspect that they use the QA procedure as a replacement for a human proofreader .

The bright side is that the client trust you enough to let go the proofreader and rely on your second look of the text. This is the case with two of my clients. Of course, they only send back a 2-3 pages long report in .doc format, not an endless xls...


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Adam Łobatiuk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:19
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
You're too efficient :) Sep 6, 2009

Nika Plevnik wrote:I had to reread 8188 words and I managed to finish it in a little more than 4 hours of constant work.


By the standards I know, an editor does 6K words a day = 8 hours. Of course, you are not expected to work on style here, but the work still includes more than skimming through the text for missing commas. That means you should have actually spent over a day = 8 hours.

BTW., if you can re-run the tests yourself, you could probably simplify my Excel method by generating your own testing glossary where only the repeatable parts of words are used. You could do that manually or use MID again.

And to add to the rant, it is really annoying when you have to explain to people who are supposedly working in the linguistic industry that the usage of term X in various languages is different. For example, to "answer a phone" and to "answer a question" are two different verbs in my language. The reaction to that is "let's add the other one as a variant", which doesn't really work with terminology and QA software.

Also, it would help a lot if glossaries were actually smaller and only included necessary technical terms. For example, a client of mine includes the word "use" in their glossary. In Polish, you can choose from at least 3 different verbs, which would make the text sound a lot better, but no, you can only use one of them over and over. And the result looks like good machine translation.


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Nika Plevnik  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 04:19
Member (2009)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Exactly! Sep 6, 2009

There are too many "simple" everyday words with multiple meanings in the glossary and this is what makes the editing process so time consuming. They should include only special terminology words. And constant explaining of using the synonym instead of the suggested term in order to improve the text of being a machine translation often dissuades me to stick to my first decision and I rather just replace the word with the "safe" option form the TM. Simply because it is too much of the material.
It would be very nice if they just trust our judgment, after all we are the native speakers of the language and were chosen for the job on the basis of our abilities (previous project's references & experiences). Plus we sign and confirm every time that we checked the glossaries, reference materials and TM, but still ... Is this all really necessary?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about my problem.
Have a lovely rest of the day.

[Edited at 2009-09-06 11:39 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-09-06 15:37 GMT]


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Katherine Mérignac  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:19
Member (2004)
French to English
Drop them! Sep 7, 2009

It sounds exactly like the kind of thing an agency I have worked for would do - I had to spend hours explaining and writing comments next to all sorts of extremely annoying 'inconsistencies' picked up by TagEditor's quality check function.
Apart from anything, the original source document was inconsistent - commas at the end of some bullet points and not others for example. I paid the price for wanting to deliver a consistent target document by having to explain why I'd not put/added a comma every single time. It took me hours...
The project manager was very pleasant and understanding when I explained, but at each stage in their QA process another 'inconsistency file' would come back - drove me up the wall. The PM admitted it was a new QA process, and said they'd revise their system in the future - but I'm not going to risk it! I'll only accept more work from them if desperate!

K


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Nika Plevnik  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 04:19
Member (2009)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Everything worked out fine Oct 19, 2009

I somehow managed to talk my money out of them and explained to the PM that differences cannot be simply filtered out by a distiller tool. She admitted that and promised her team would try to figure out some other solution for QA check. It is important that they were understanding enough to pay me (not in the whole, since I gave them 10% off my hourly rate, because there were a few typos spotted (in less than 1% of the total word count)). But it is better than nothing and I am glad all worked out fine this time.

Thank you all for your answers and all the best,


Nika


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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:19
English to German
+ ...
QA by human Oct 22, 2009

QA checks should be done by a human editor/proofreader and typos are normal even after checking your own translation, it's the proofreader's job to spot them. It's the agency's responsibility to hire a professional for this task (unless you agreed to have the translation checked by another professional which should be reflected by the price). Typos don't warrant a reduction in price if they choose not to have the translation checked by another professional.
A clueless PM with a piece of software is just as suitable for the QA job as a chimp with a keyboard.


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Nika Plevnik  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 04:19
Member (2009)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
:-)))))))) Oct 22, 2009

I'll keep that in mind with my future projects, Thanks Olaf!

Have a good one!
Nika


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