Tight deadlines and proofreading by agency
Thread poster: Sandrine Ananie

Sandrine Ananie  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
Member (2009)
English to French
Jan 23, 2010

Hi all,

I was just wondering about something: when an agency says "the client wants the translation at 6 UK time" (only an example), and you do send the file that same day at, say, 5.45, do they just forward said file to the client, or do they take the time to proofread it? All agencies claim all translations are carefully proofread, but do they really do it all the time?

Many thanks in advance,



Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:58
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
No Jan 23, 2010

It's variable. Not all agencies claim to proofread it anyway.


Albert Fischer (Dipl. Jur., LL.B., BDÜ)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
English to German
+ ...
Depends Jan 23, 2010

Depends on the agency I s'pose. And even within one agency it may vary - how much do they trust in your skills? Do they have a decent proofreader available? Are they trying to save money at all?


Umang Dholabhai  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:28
English to Gujarati
+ ...
They do it ! Jan 23, 2010

Fortunately for me most of the agencies for whom I work, have been doing the proofreading quite sincerely. I know this because occasionally my PMs discuss it on the phone or send me extracts for clarifications. Any agency worth its salt would do that. It is another matter that they may have such a degree of trust that they may not find it strictly necessary to do so, and may deliver after an oral assurance from a reliable translator and deliver certain urgent files to a client. It is up to us the translators, to build up that level of confidence, that they may feel free to do so even if rarely so.


Dhiraj Khati  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:43
Member (2009)
English to Nepali
+ ...
They usually keep some time for proofreading Jan 23, 2010

Even though the agency gives you sharp deadline for some translation they also do keep some reserve time for proofreading . They might not telling you the exact time for delivery to end client instead that time may be for the proofreading job which they have already fixed with someone else before your delivery. I am saying this on the basis my experience as proofreader. The agency first asks for my availability for editing and proofreading and after receiving the translation they forward me for quick proofreading. I suppose most of the agencies do like this.


jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:58
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
The fact that the client gives you a tight deadline Jan 24, 2010

doesn't imply that he would have no time for the translation to be reviewed and proofread.

[Edited at 2010-01-24 01:51 GMT]


David Eunice  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:58
Japanese to English
A consistently reliable agency is hard to find. Jan 24, 2010

Sandrine Ananie wrote:
I was just wondering about something: when an agency says
"the client wants the translation at 6 UK time" (only an example),
and you do send the file that same day at, say, 5.45, do they just forward ...

Hello Sandrine,

The example you give above does look very discouraging.
But you don't know that what you heard was the truth.
Translation coordinators deal with all kinds of translators
and no doubt bitterly recallicon_evil.gif what it is like to be let down.
Such phrasing may be an habitual way of saying:
I want to get it before end of business todayicon_wink.gif
so I can take it home with me or send it to a checker
and deliver it first thing in the morning or, if the translator
doesn't send it, I can carry out a contingency plan.

If you want to test the agency, ask to see the revised text.
A legitimate reason to give is so that you can improve your work.

In twenty years of translation, I have found that not all agencies
properly check my work (icon_eek.gif many leave QA to the client).
And even those that do usually make a thorough check, that is,
comparative reading against the source, do not always even
perform the most basic copyediting passesicon_confused.gif (e.g., checking
commas and numbers). Sometimes they are busier with projects
done by translators not as reliable as I try to be.

I rarely have the luxury of leaving a translation for a couple of
days before I check it.
Knowing that the agency may not carry out proper QA
does not make me more careful: I cannot be more careful than
I already am. It just increases my stress.
And, when they don't check my translations, they don't refund
me for the service they didn't provide.icon_rolleyes.gif

You need to find the best agents you can and try not to always
deal with rush work.

To me an agent should perform four services to the translator:

  • Connect the translation with work from end clients
  • As necessary, qualify, mark up, or otherwise prepare work from end clients
  • Assure the quality of incoming and outgoing work
  • Support and protect the translator from unreasonable feedback

The best coordinators, without needing to be asked, will try to
get the source in the best possible form (text data rather than
graphical pdf) and brief you about the purpose of the text and
target readers.

Yes. You are right to be concerned about a delivering a translation
shortly before the end client wants to receive it.

[Edited at 2010-01-24 10:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-01-24 10:54 GMT]


Sandrine Ananie  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
Member (2009)
English to French
Thanks! Jan 24, 2010

Many thanks for your kind replies. Everything is clearer now!


Roel Verschueren  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
Member (2007)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Proofreading... always proofreading Jan 24, 2010

Dear Sandrine,

I proofread about 70% of my time and translate the other 30%. The other 100% I write for newspapers, am a columnist and novelist.
I don’t know how I got into this situation, but a lot of agencies just trust me for that.
I think this has to do with the fact that I have build up a certain routine and knowledge, and an eye for sentence constructions and wording.
I know by experience that if an agency asks you to deliver your translation before 6 p.m. (quote: ‘because the client needs at 6 p.m.) the client only needs it at 8 a.m. the next morning.
80% of my proofreading work is between 4 p.m. and midnight. These are my working hours. It’s as a full working day as anybody else’s, and I know it is because my client delivers at 8 a.m. to his client.
So… the answer is YES… your work is proofread.
I find it absolutely normal and professional to ask your client to send you the final version, so the copy he finally sends out.
I am used to get the proofreading files WITH the email address of the translator, and I do contact the translator if need be. If not, I ALWAYS forward the final file CC to the translator. Hope this helps?


[Bijgewerkt op 2010-01-24 23:26 GMT]


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Feedback is important Jan 25, 2010

I assume that my work will NOT be proofread, and make a habit of always delivering work that is free from errors and can be used immediately by the end client.

Nobody is perfect, however. I know that in practice at least some agencies do check my work (and I check other people´s work in the same way). A good translation can almost always be improved by someone looking at it with fresh eyes, especially when it has been done within a tight deadline.

A reader who has not seen the source text may not find it entirely clear, and the translator can never approach it like that!

Like Roel, I try to send feedback whenever I can, and I appreciate any that comes back to me.
I like to know whether my work is actually good, or just barely acceptable, and how can I incorporate the improvements next time, if nobody tells me about them?
Am I getting into bad habits? In marketing, even good ideas lose their freshness if they are repeated too often!

Given the right way, criticism is healthy, and I have been enormously grateful to colleagues who have commented on my work and made suggestions. But it happens all too rarely, so it is best to play safe and assume that a deadline is the end client´s deadline!


MariusV  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:58
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
in my modest opinion Jan 27, 2010

1) regarding the deadline/delivery time of your translation - agency deals with the end client/their client, you deal with the agency/your client - this is not a trilateral contract and as long as you provide translation to the agency in due time and professional quality, that is it; and what the agency agreed with the client - their "area of competence" - you don't have the right to approach the end client, don't you?

2) if agency ordered translation from you (translation is just "translating the text"), again proofreading issues are not covered under your deal with the agency as proofreading is a separate task/job; whether it is done by the agency or not, whether the agency understands their "mission" as getting your email, saving the translation file from it, and re-attaching it to the client - who cares?

3) if the agency just re-attaches your "raw translation" to the client and it goes for printing in 300 000 copies, and someone notices a couple of "typo errors" when these texts are already printed, not arranging a proofing or other QA check, is the problem of the agency in their deal with the end client because they sent a "raw translation" (we are all humans, and anyone can make a mistake, even a translator)...


Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:58
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I think that... Jan 27, 2010

.. they are really lying! They just want to make sure that they will get the translation at a certain time (probably a little before they leave the office), so that they can send it to the proofreader and, as Roel says, have everything ready by the next morning.

There are probably many translators over there who do not meet deadlines as a regular rule. Too bad for those who do! So then customers learn from that and just lie to have things ready before they really want them.

Happens here in my country too with tailors. For example, you need to have your dress fixed before a party but, I don't know why, tailors are never on time. So people are used to tell them that the party will take place 1 or 2 days before it really does.


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

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

Tight deadlines and proofreading by agency

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 »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »

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