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Translator doing the proofreader's job?
Thread poster: Marthina Pettersson Cevallos

Marthina Pettersson Cevallos  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:26
Spanish to Swedish
+ ...
Jul 11, 2011

Hi all,

I have a question regarding the proofreaders' task. The thing is I have done a translation job and now the agency is sending me my original translation back to me with the proofreader's comments on what I should change and wants me to make the changes and corrections. Sometimes it is changes that I do not agree with, or unnecessary changes that doesn't change the meaning or improve the translation, i.e. synonyms, or changed word order.

I always thought that the proofreader makes the changes and corrections and then just send it back to the agency ready for delivery to the end client.

Is this procedure normal procedure, or how does it usually work? It feels as though I am doing part of the proofreader's job. If he/she anyway has to write the comments, why not change it directly in the translation?

Grateful for any comments.

Marthina



[Edited at 2011-07-11 11:19 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Does happen Jul 11, 2011

I have several customers that work this way. What they are giving you is the chance to accept or reject the changes (or that is what happens with my customers).

If you don't agree with the proofreader's changes, explain the reasons to the custome (with all possible information) and implement the things you can agree with.

Of course each customer is different, so you better confirm this procedure with the customer.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:26
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I see it as useful feedback Jul 11, 2011

I am always delighted when asked to do this.

It is your chance to see what others thought of your work, and sometimes a proofreader has a good suggestion for a passage or term you found difficult. Note it down for next time! But reject any changes where your version is better.

I know as a proofreader that I am not infallible. When I was training, the agency let me proofread as a native speaker for Danish translators who were experts in the subject (e.g. law), but translating into their acquired language. Then I had to send the text to the translator, and call him/her to discuss the changes.

Sometimes I misunderstood as a beginner, and there are times even now when I have to check with the client if there is time. I still cooperate with some of those colleagues - it goes both ways.

The agency is showing its respect for your work, on the understanding that everything can be said in different ways. In theory improvements are always possible.

This is far better than all the threads in this forum about people whose texts are ruined by proofreaders! You have the chance to defend your work, or to learn and improve.


PS If you use a CAT, remember to update your TM with any changes you accept. Then you will not be in doubt next time the expression comes up.

[Edited at 2011-07-11 12:57 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some clients expect it Jul 11, 2011

Marthina Pettersson Cevallos wrote:
I have done a translation job and now the agency is sending me my original translation back to me with the proofreader's comments on what I should change and wants me to make the changes and corrections.


It is not abnormal for a client to do this, although it does take extra time, and I think a client should tell you beforehand if he intends to do this to you.

What does the client want back from you -- additional tracked changes, or just a cleaned file with all changes already accepted/rejected? If the latter, then my take would be to simply reject the changes I disagree with, and then "accept all" and do a final spellcheck to ensure that spaces were not mangled. If the former (i.e. your changes would be in a second colour), then try to accept as many changes as possible, and only re-change those issues that you feel are completely wrong.

Whichever of these two are required, make a copy of the final file and "accept" all changes, and do a spell-check on it to see if spaces were deleted or introduced in error.

Unless the client specifically asks you to argue your point in comments or in a separate file, don't waste your time writing extra comments (unless you're sure that your comments will make their way back to the proofreader).


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 10:26
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, it is a normal procedure for some agencies... Jul 11, 2011

and as Tomás and Christine have already said it is quite useful (though also annoying sometimes!). My policy has been to agree to what is acceptable and reject firmly what is unacceptable, explaining the reason why.

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GerSi  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 11:26
Member (2010)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
normal procedure Jul 11, 2011

Hi,

being a translator and a proofreader myself I see it as a big plus as other colleagues already wrote despite the time consuming factor.

I believe in the end this can make the translation better.

This way you can learn while working.

And if it happens that somebody has poorer knowledge of grammar (or insufficient knowledge of the field) the translator still has the chance to prevent an embarrassing situation because all in all it still goes that the translator is mainly responsible for the translation.


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xxxhazmatgerman
Local time: 11:26
English to German
Be happy Jul 11, 2011

you've been given this chance, and learn from it. Just as the colleagues above have already pointed out.

[Edited at 2011-07-11 13:52 GMT]


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Wojciech Zakrzewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:26
Polish to English
+ ...
Proofreading Jul 11, 2011

Dear Colleagues

First of all translation is not a journalism because I can make over any text including myself many times by changing the word order or putting the other words having similar meaning which keeps the given text its content almost untouched and that is why we translators shouldn't take any responisibility for proofread text unless the text in question has substantional mistakes. The second, if we translators signs every work done so why the same rule is not applied to the proofers, we have the right to know unless they are afraid of something?

With all respect
Blue
Poland


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:26
Italian to English
Standard practice in publishing Jul 11, 2011

This is standard practice in book translation, at least among the more substantial publishing houses.

Once mutual trust and respect have been established, exchanges between copy editor and translator are very useful, partly because good copy editors go strictly by the book (the book in question generally being the Oxford Style Manual or the Chicago Manual of Style), and partly because it's a test run before publication: if the copy editor misreads a phrase, quite a lot of other readers will too!

The agencies that still take the trouble to do this are to be commended. The procedure can only have a positive impact on the final translation.


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Elizabeth Joy Pitt de Morales  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:26
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The end goal is quality,... Jul 11, 2011

...at least in my case.

I always welcome feedback and queries from those proofreading my work. It's a chance for both of us to learn something. Sure, it takes more time than if you just deliver your translation, forget about it and move on to the next project, but it also means that the end client is more likely to get an error-free, high-quality translation, and happy clients tend to return again and again.

This does not mean I appreciate the overzealous proofreader, and I have no problem with defending my translation against stylistic changes or the like, but I recognize that I am human, I have less productive/creative days and I sometimes even make mistakes. The best agencies know that even the best translators can slip up occasionally and that's why they take proofreading so seriously.

What's more, I consider this kind of feedback to be a sign of respect; I am being asked for my opinion about the proposed changes, rather than the proofreader simply imposing them.

As many colleagues have already said, this is a golden opportunity to learn and grow professionally while working.

I'd certainly take advantage of it.


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Marthina Pettersson Cevallos  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:26
Spanish to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A different view Jul 11, 2011

Thank you all for answering and giving me a different view on this matter. I guess I never thought of it the way you all do, first of all because it is the first time it happens and secondly due to the way the agency expressed itself when requesting me to make the changes. It kind of sounded like they expected me to just make the changes whether I agreed or not.

Even if it is a bit tidious and time consuming having to go through and make these changes and corrections, I will take it as an opportunity to learn as you have all suggested.

Thanks again and have a nice week.

Marthina


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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 11:26
English to German
+ ...
This is the ideal solution Jul 11, 2011

I mainly do technical translations. I work for an agency that succeeds in convincing some of their clients to pay more for a proofread translation. By coincidence, I saw some of these proofread translations and got angry, because the proofreader had altered the wording so that actually it meant the contrary. The proofreaders there are ladies with a linguistic education, not basically technical. I asked that all proofread translations must be submitted to me for final approval. I do not charge anything for this work, because I find it is in my interest. This works perfectly. I find that sometimes my translation was really improved, sometimes altered in an acceptable way OK. Or destroyed, then I insert my original translation. And at this occasion I even find typing errors of mine that the proofreader did not notice...
I am in no way compelled to accept the proofread text, what I send back is the accepted final version.
The final result is a perfect translation.


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Fouad El karnichi  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:26
Arabic to English
+ ...
Part of the translation cycle Jul 12, 2011

Revision or proofreading is a crucial step in the translation process. It is good for you as a translator to have your work checked. On one hand , the client shows respect to your work and ask you to either accept or reject proofreaders' amendments ( after all , you are the one who generated the text ....you will have a better grasp of it than the proofreader/reviser..so final word stays with you), then the end -client gets happy because of the high quality of the text ....,and the professio remains in high esteem.

No point in having these unprofessional attitudes . We are working as a team nowadays.The proofreader is there to support you and fix your areas of weaknesses....its an asset. We all work together . Also , the discourse we should keep must be of a cooperative nature. I revised, proofread other coleagues work and I always keep my commentaries (in the track changes ) and my discourse smooth and professional ( Purpose : to help the translator and not to undermine his/her decisions ).

Fouad


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:26
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
The proofreader can read the target text first without seeing the source Jul 12, 2011

This is one thing the translator can never do!

When proofreading, I always start by reading the target text. I catch typos and simple grammatical errors, and underline anything that sounds odd or is not idiomatic, or where the meaning appears inconsistent.

Then I check the whole text sentence by sentence against the source, before I make any major changes.

The proofreader's first task is to look at the text 'through the eyes of the target reader'.

The agency assumes that the translator also keeps the target reader in mind, so the translator has the final say.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:26
English to German
+ ...
The editor is my test market, not my cleaning woman Jul 12, 2011

Of course I am eager and curious to see the results. Especially since hardly any of my clients speak my target language.

Marthina Pettersson Cevallos wrote:
with the proofreader's comments on what I should change and wants me to make the changes and corrections. Sometimes it is changes that I do not agree with, or unnecessary changes that doesn't change the meaning or improve the translation, i.e. synonyms, or changed word order.


That's the beauty of it. It is up to you, which edits you would like to accept or wich ones you wish to decline. You have the final say.


I always thought that the proofreader makes the changes and corrections and then just send it back to the agency ready for delivery to the end client.


I don't like this kind of constellation. It makes me feel like a "translation mill".


So, in the end I don't consider this "extra work" but "finishing my work" and adding final touches.


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