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Have you ever looked for a native speaker to start a proofreading cooperation?
Thread poster: Nina_L
Nina_L  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:42
English to German
+ ...
Oct 21, 2012

Hello everybody,

I hope I'm in the right spot here posting my (possibly silly) question.

Have you ever thought of starting a cooperation with a native speaker of your B language for translations?

I've just done my first (paid) translation into English and even though I've given my best, I feel I'd like a native speaker to have a look at it.

Have you started cooperations with fellow translators/spouses/friends or have you started "proofreading cooperations" with other translators who work into your native language?

Best wishes from southern Germany,

Nina


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Oct 21, 2012

I'm from the UK and when I translate into US English (which isn't all that often) I always get someone to check it - and the results can be surprising. There are even regional variations within US English that may also need to be taken into account.

I also sometimes get colleagues to check some of my translations into UK English too, if I feel it's necessary.

[Edited at 2012-10-21 18:25 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:42
English to German
+ ...
Why, definitely. Oct 21, 2012

First of all: Greetings to Heidelberg from a native Heidelbergerin.

I had my first translations proofread by my sister who is a teacher of German at the Gymnasium / highschool. Later on I teamed up with translator colleagues. We always check each other's work. My company itself is a true family-owned business: myself, my American husband (MBA) and our cousin (Professor of English at a state university in the Midwest and book author). We are one heck of a good team.

The more people you have available for quality check, the better you will be as a translator. Note: All services must be paid.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Simple answer, but not a silly question Oct 21, 2012

Nina_L wrote:
Have you started cooperations with fellow translators/spouses/friends or have you started "proofreading cooperations" with other translators who work into your native language?

I've never accepted a translation into French for money, though I have done some for bottles of wine and/or profuse thanks. But I spend a lot of my time revising non-native texts, either translations or written in English by learners of English. Some are quite good and just need a bit of polishing, but it amazes me how confident some people are of their English writing skills when they actually write Chinglish, Franglais etc.

Although your forum post is in perfectly correct English I would advise you to have English translations proofread for quite a while - not just the first one or two. Your reputation is too valuable to risk by submitting unchecked texts.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:42
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, definitely, Nina Oct 21, 2012

You should do that, if it will make you feel better. Just make sure the proofreader is a professional proofreader, or an editor. Just anyone will not do. It may even make the translation worse. You need a professional. Perhaps you can even advertise on this side for a professional proofreader. They usually charge about $0.02/word. You also have to know what manual of style you want them to use -- for example: the Chicago Manual of Style (for AE) or something else.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:42
English to German
+ ...
Sorry, Lilian. Oct 21, 2012

LilianBoland wrote:
They usually charge about $0.02/word.


Rates for proofreading start at $0.05.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:42
English to German
+ ...
Addendum @ Lilian Oct 21, 2012

Please do me the favor and look at the language pair before you answer. Or next time when you try to tell me how my name is spelled properly in French. I am fluent in French. Are you?



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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:42
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Definitely, however... Oct 21, 2012

... I won't limit my options to those technically native speakers, i.e. who have spoken the target language at home with their family, or in kindergarten.

I'll definitely take a non-native professional translator (or writer) successfully working in the target language and living in the target language country for some considerable time already.

Likewise, I'd be considerably more suspicious of a truly native speaker of the target language, who has been living outside his or her home country for some considerable period of time.

To leave no doubt about it, I mean at least a decade when I mention 'considerable time' here.

The key point here covers not only language skills, but if the translation behooves a 'local sound', it also needs to be contemporary. There is no point in delivering a translation that sounds thoroughly as written by a native of the targeted audience's place, but also seems to have been written many years ago. Languages are dynamic.

Now and then I find an old Brazilian movie on TV, from the 1950/60s. Even if it's a low level comedy, people there use a much more formal tone than newscasts nowadays, not to mention soap operas. Some (very few) of these actors are still alive, but for ages they haven't spoken the way they did in those movies.

The truth is that I acquired my PT-BR native-speakerness at the time these movies were shot. Had I moved abroad any time between then and now - and we have a long time span in-between - I might have stuck to the way my truly native language was at that time.

This is not exclusive to Portuguese. I've watched some vintage American movies, from the B&W days, and they use a somewhat strange form of English, quite formal for today's standards. No, they were not epics, since people drove and rode their post-WWII shiny new cars. Some (again, few) of these actors are still alive, and they also don't talk that way any longer now.

So native speakerness is a more multifaceted variable than some "orthodox" translation outsourcers demand it on a yes/no basis.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 07:42
Chinese to English
Yes, but it can be hard to find the right person Oct 21, 2012

I've struggled to find anyone who works to the standards that I need. In your pair it should be possible, but there are a lot of people out there who just do a bit of English correcting/proofreading on the side, and aren't particularly professional about it. So make sure you find someone who knows what they're doing, and knows exactly what you want out of the process. "Proofreading" means different things to different people - and it often means a different thing in the copywriting and translation industries.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Your fears are groundless Oct 21, 2012

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
There is no point in delivering a translation that sounds thoroughly as written by a native of the targeted audience's place, but also seems to have been written many years ago. Languages are dynamic.

Now and then I find an old Brazilian movie on TV, from the 1950/60s. Even if it's a low level comedy, people there use a much more formal tone than newscasts nowadays, not to mention soap operas. Some (very few) of these actors are still alive, but for ages they haven't spoken the way they did in those movies.

The truth is that I acquired my PT-BR native-speakerness at the time these movies were shot. Had I moved abroad any time between then and now - and we have a long time span in-between - I might have stuck to the way my truly native language was at that time.

But you're a professional translator - you would have continued to use your language on a daily basis and you would have taken pains to keep it up-to-date.

This is not exclusive to Portuguese. I've watched some vintage American movies, from the B&W days, and they use a somewhat strange form of English, quite formal for today's standards. No, they were not epics, since people drove and rode their post-WWII shiny new cars. Some (again, few) of these actors are still alive, and they also don't talk that way any longer now.

I can't say whether a Portuguese expatriate could find his/her language stuck in the past, but English is everywhere you look: television, internet, cinema, radio, newspapers. There's no reason at all why a native English speaker should sound 'dated', regardless of where they live.


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Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:42
German to English
+ ...
A native speaker Oct 21, 2012

Are you saying you've submitted a professional translation without a single native speaker of the target language being involved somewhere along the line?
That's not good, Nina_L


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:42
French to English
+ ...
Definitely, if it's viable for you Oct 22, 2012

First, let's assume for that the end product that your client is expecting is of the same standard that one would normally deem to be a "professional" translation, i.e. a text that sounds like an idiomatic original document written by a skilled native speaker of the language in question.

The question then becomes: can you and your proofreader between you arrive at such a result, and can you do so in a way that is financially viable for you?

If you regularly use your "B" language actively and idiomatically, then the answer to this may well be yes. Only you can really determine whether this is the case.

I would *suggest* that it will probably only be viable if you have reached a level of production in your "B" language where the proofreader's observations are occasional, optional stylistic suggestions, and so where the level of "non-native speaker errors" is low. If you don't have a range of vocabulary in your B language to make subtle word choices, or if you frequently make what a native speaker would class as an out-and-out "non-native speaker error", then I would suspect it won't be a viable exercise.

But as I say, only you can really determine whether it is viable for you in practice.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 01:42
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Agencies use proofreaders Oct 22, 2012

If it is necessary to use a native proofreader or not depends on the situation. If I deliver a German translation to a German agency I am confident they will be able to do the proofreading in-house. But if the agency is located outside the German speaking world I would use a proofreader. That said I still believe every agency nowadays will check and double check the work delivered from its freelancers before sending it off to the customer. Usually I get a feedback and are requested to accept or reject the changes made by the proofreader. Usually they are helpful.

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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:42
French to German
+ ...
My 2 cents Oct 22, 2012

If this concerns a translation done for an agency I would assume that they are aware of the fact that you are not a native speaker of that language. IMHO it is really their responsibility to ensure that your work is proofread by a native speaker. (It should be proofread anyway, but I suspect that some agencies skip that step occasionally in order to maximise profits - which could backfire, of course, but that's another story.)

If this concerns a translation for a direct client, you should definitely have your work proofread by a native speaker, but – as Phil and Neil have said – can you find the right person and is it viable? I did offer translations into English when I started (yes, yes, I know I shouldn't have done that) but soon found that it was not a good idea since a) it took me much much longer to translate into that language, b) I didn't know a proofreader to collaborate with, c) it wasn't viable and d) I wasn't totally convinced that I could live up to my own quality standards.


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Nina_L  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:42
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone! Oct 22, 2012

Thank you so much for your feedback!

The translation in question was a freelance job for an agency from the US, so there surely is proofreading from a native speaker included, but still I wanted to deliver the best possible text.

And for future jobs where I may not be working with an agency like that, I'd just love to have a cooperation with a native speaker, that's why I thought I'd ask a group of seasoned translators for their opinion

Anyway, thank you very much for your responses and the useful advice!
Best wishes from sunny Heidelberg

Nina


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