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Proofreading
Thread poster: Wojciech Zakrzewski (X)

Wojciech Zakrzewski (X)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:49
Polish to English
+ ...
Mar 26, 2010

The open letter
Dear colleagues translators
I would like to bring up the growing problem appearing on translators market concerning so called proofreading or correction of translated texts. This service is of course necessary in this business according to the old saying that nobody’s perfect but it lies mainly in punctuation and characters checking, specific to the given language only if done by a good translator or proofreader. However the latter more and more often uses his/her position which should be taken only by high quality translators whose knowledge of the specific technical translation guarantees high tech accuracy of the proofread text by them just to play with wording or change the word order, icing the text here and there and in that way not only subjecting the given translation agency for which they work for additional costs but first of all discredit a good quality translator just by saying that his/her translation was a crap, often without pointing out allegedly terribly mistakes made. I guess guys it’s about high time to show these proofers where they belong to and what proofreading really is. Studying linguistics is a good start no doubt but a translator is like wine…the older the better.
Awaiting your response
Kind regards
Blue
Poland


 

Michaela Müller
Germany
Local time: 23:49
English to German
+ ...
New ProZ.com record? Mar 27, 2010

Hi Wojtek,

Wow, I guess you set a new record by writing a 41 word long sentence followed by a 98 word long sentence.

But now to your statements:

I don't quite understand your position: At first, you state that "This service ... lies mainly in punctuation and characters checking", and then you contradict yourself in saying "position which should be taken only by high quality translators whose knowledge of the specific technical translation guarantees high tech accuracy of the proofread text".

"Proofreading" is about checking spelling, punctuation etc., "Editing" is about checking against the source, checking technical accuracy etc. So what is this rant about?

I don't quite agree with your statement that "a translator is like wine…the older the better." It is certainly true that you get better the more experience you have. However, IMHO the age of a translator is no guarantee at all.
I have often seen translations by colleagues who have been in the business for several decades but who don't bother to work carefully enough or who don't consider staying up-to-date with language/spelling rules. Those are often mad at proofreaders who correct the mistakes they could have avoided themselves by not just relying on their age.

I have hardly ever encountered other proofreaders who just changed my translations without any reasons. But there are more than enough translators who think they are always right and their texts cannot be corrected anymore since they are already perfect - those are easily offended by proofreaders and editors, even if the latter explain each of their decisions.

If you have any problems with proofreaders who seem to make incorrect changes, I suggest you reply to only a part or each of those changes, so the agency or client sees that you are the one who knows better about the language. A professional client will then see to get a better proofreader. The translator should always learn something from the corrections, so the same mistakes won't happen again.

And a professional and good proofreader doesn't just say that a translation is crap - he/she proves his/her statement by giving examples of the bad quality. The main goal for a proofreader/editor should always be to have a final text without mistakes - and a satisfied client.

I am not sure if you always have those problems with one and the same client/agency or which of your language pairs is the one being criticised. If it is Polish>English, then I wouldn't be offended as a non-native speaker. Also, translators with only a technical background often don't know how to deal with language, spelling and sentence structures, and that's why agencies decide to pay proofreaders and editors. In the end, ideally every party should be satisfied after delivering a text - born out of teamwork - to the final client. So a bruised ego is absolutely out of place here. It sometimes might be hard to accept a proofreader's corrections, but if they are not correct, you can always object to them by proving or explaining your original choices.

Kind regards,
Michaela


 

David Eunice  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 07:49
Japanese to English
Writing is seldom finished, but it usually spoiled by non-native spkrs Mar 27, 2010

No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.
-- H.G. Wells

Michaela Müller wrote:
I have hardly ever encountered other proofreaders who just changed my translations without any reasons. But there are more than enough translators who think they are always right and their texts cannot be corrected anymore since they are already perfect - those are easily offended by proofreaders and editors, even if the latter explain each of their decisions.


What a lucky person you are Michaela.
You seem to be working in house, in a team?

In my freelance experience few buyers are competent to
assure the quality of translations. You would hope that the
agencies would carry out that work, but in some markets
the agencies do not consistently assure quality, if at all.

They might even expect the translator to deal with the buyers'
changes, made by checkers who are second-language speakers
of the target-text, able to competently communicate with speakers
of the second language, but not good writers in the second language.

Few buyers employ trained copyeditors. The people put to the task --
applying the brightest interpretation on their activities -- attempt to
justify their employment by 'improving' the target text and, in my
experience (19 years J --> E), nearly invariably fail.

In feedback I recently, via a client, from a native speaker,
I thought that the specific points were questions of taste.
To test my opinion I e-mailed three friends who were blind to
the authorship of the alternatives.
From the responses, six out of the eight suggestions made were
obviously questions of taste and the remaining two were thought
to be detrimental by two out three respondents.

Rust never sleeps. It is essential to keep your all your active language
mechanisms well maintained. You are lucky to have people who help you.

[Edited at 2010-03-27 16:23 GMT]


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 00:49
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Its always difficult Mar 27, 2010

A translation might be perfect regarding formatting, spelling and punctuation, even terminology, but the end customer might still be unsatisfied. Even in technical manuals there are cultural differences.
Another aspect is that for agencies it is very difficult to find real specialists. Good specialists of a certain field are seldom freelance translators but have well paid positions in industry and no time whatsoever to check translations that don't concern them otherwise.

I have seen all kinds of results from editing my translations. Sometimes the word order is reversed in almost every sentence, sometimes the terminology didn't fit the reviewer at all, sometimes after a large project the reviewer changed only one single term for an other on 200 pages of text. Most of the time though I hear nothing after delivery.

IMO the customer can do with the text what she wants. We should not take offence.

This week I did my first editing job. There were 8 ttx files to be edited straight in TE. To me that makes sense, it is much better than editing pdfs or printouts and faxing the result.
It was funny how many times I had to go back to earlier files because I noticed again some new issue I had to correct. I was no specialist for the subject, so I checked the terminology by google search and decided that the original translator had known his job well. In fact there were only style and spelling issues and one sentence where the meaning of the original was not expressed right.

Regards
Heinrich


 

Wojciech Zakrzewski (X)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:49
Polish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Proofreading Mar 27, 2010

Look Guys!

I am not saying to be perfect and that's what the so called proofreaders are for...All I wanna say is that every tranlstor has his/her style and it is normal that translation agancy wants to match the given text to meet the end clients' requirements espacially when the batches often come from other translators but it is not our problem...Do you know what proofer checked my text on "New Familly of Microprocessors"??? the guy who graduated at chemistry. Tell me how you can translate or proofread something you do not understand???. I do not take a job of which I have not enough knowledge or support and that is why I am still "alive" on this more and more demanding market.

Good luck to all of you
Blue


 

Wojciech Zakrzewski (X)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:49
Polish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Proofreading Mar 27, 2010

Me once again guys

Every translator is able to change the given text over and over without infuancing its substance just by changing the word order and icing it here and there and that is what I meant and my guessing is that this dangerous procedure often used by translation agencies to reduce translator's fee. The paradox of it that so called proofers earn more than translators...
Take care of you!
Blue


 

Wojciech Zakrzewski (X)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:49
Polish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Proofreading Mar 27, 2010

Dear Colleagues Translators

In relation to my previous topic I would like to inform you that translation agencies have absolutely no rights acording to EU regulations to charging translators for proofreading services and the agreed before assignment rate is final. However in exceptional cases for example if the translation was really bad quality, the translation agency in question is obliged for giving the full name of the proofreading translator.

All the best
Blue


 

Peoplesartist  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:19
Member (2007)
English to Hindi
+ ...
English>Hindi Mar 29, 2010

Dear friends, I deal mainly English>Hindi pair. In my country general practise is : Agencies search proofreader only when their clients asks for proofreading. They alloted job to lowest price translaor/proofreader. For outsourcer it doesn't matter that proofreader should be more competent than translator.

 

Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:49
English to Polish
+ ...
@ Kamtaa prasad Mar 29, 2010

kamta prasad wrote:
Dear friends, I deal mainly English>Hindi pair. In my country general practise is : Agencies search proofreader only when their clients asks for proofreading. They alloted job to lowest price translaor/proofreader. For outsourcer it doesn't matter that proofreader should be more competent than translator.


That's not even sad, that's pathetic. Are they (agencies) familiar with the word 'quality'?
Ewa

[Edited at 2010-03-29 21:31 GMT]


 

madak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:49
Swedish to English
+ ...
Do you have any legal reference for this statement? Mar 29, 2010

Wojciech Zakrzewski wrote:

I would like to inform you that translation agencies have absolutely no rights acording to EU regulations to charging translators for proofreading services and the agreed before assignment rate is final.


Like, which EU regulation you're referring to?


 

Wojciech Zakrzewski (X)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:49
Polish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Proofreading Mar 29, 2010

Hi Madeleine

I was informed about it by an university tutor, doctor at lingustics so if you are inetersted I will let you know which ones. She told me also that if some translation agency refuses to pay you the NDA is not obligatory to you anymore and the files done by you, you can treat as your property meaning you may even sell them to someone else...It is sad but we individual translators have no other means to claim our rights only by sharing it on server forums because we just can't afford to hire the lawyer to sue them for a few bucks.

Take care
Blue


 

madak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:49
Swedish to English
+ ...
Sounds interesting, but would have preferred... Mar 29, 2010

If your source of information had some kind of legal background.
Wojciech Zakrzewski wrote:

I was informed about it by an university tutor, doctor at lingustics


I'd still like to know which directive or other EU regulation she used to arrive at her conclusions.

Hiring lawyers for a "few bucks", or more, is not the issue - knowing the relevant legislation is.


 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Unedited since 5 days

Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:49
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Hi there Apr 2, 2010

Wojciech, if you are sure you did a good work, there is no other way than to explain and prove all questioned cases one by one, despite the fact it is time consuming. Are you sure that you have performed a spell-check before submitting your work? Are you sure that your work does not contain any punctuation errors, spelling mistakes, etc.? If yes - perfect! Ask anybody else to check your work. And then provide the client with the evidence that it is you who is right.

On the other hand, everybody makes mistakes, even the best ones. And if you have really made some, you should have courage to admit this.

Natalia


 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 23:49
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Please let us know Apr 2, 2010

Wojciech Zakrzewski wrote:

Hi Madeleine

I was informed about it by an university tutor, doctor at lingustics so if you are inetersted I will let you know which ones.


Yes, please. Let us know which ones.

You can post it right here - there are no site rules against publishing such information here, and I'm sure many of us would really like to have some legal reference material on the subject.


 
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