Seeking advice on organizing review teams
Thread poster: Nancy Greenleese

Nancy Greenleese  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:45
Member (2013)
Italian to English
+ ...
Mar 21, 2014

Dear colleagues,

A colleague and I have begun reviewing each other's work. We are both freelancers and translate in the same language pair. We check the translations for errors, style problems, etc. Another set of eyes before sending off a completed translation. There's no exchange of money.

We would like to formalize our arrangement and maybe add a few other translators. Being new to this game, we are seeking some advice and hope you can help.

How are review teams typically organized?

How do you balance or track the workload so that each translator is proofing approximately the same number of words?

Do you have a standard model for reviewing, ex. track changes, notes?

Any key factors that we are missing?

Many thanks for your advice.

Best,

Nancy


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The Misha
Local time: 20:45
Russian to English
+ ...
You are missing the point Mar 22, 2014

Nancy Greenleese wrote:

Any key factors that we are missing?



Review, proofreading, editing, "second pair of eyes" - whatever you want to call it, it's a separate service that has to be paid for. If it isn't, then you are working for a rate that is less than you think you are getting, even if you pay for it "in kind" by reviewing your party's work. After all, you could use the time you spend on it doing a paid job or relaxing on the beach. If the rate you charge does include the second pair of eyes, then you should simply pay your party the rate you agreed upon and keep it simple and straightforward. Just keep a running count of who did what within a month, offset the numbers against each other, and pay (or receive) the balance in cash.

Regardless, this seems like a fairly unusual arrangement and it will probably not last long. What if you are busy when your party needs you? Or the other way around?

No wonder no one had anything to say about it yet.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:45
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The key factors Mar 22, 2014

The key factor that too many translation outsourcers miss is that they try to keep translator and proofreader separated by a stone wall, so they can pit the proofreader against the translator, in order to force some price reduction onto the latter. They assume that the proofreader is eager to get the higher-rate translator role next time, so s/he'll try to overexpose the present translator's presumed (not always real) weaknesses.

I have been successfully working in such an environment for over 6 years, and the results amaze the PM who created the setup.

The first important ingredient is that all of us in the team rate and respect each other as equally competent as translators, despite our quite different backgrounds. While each will be more knowledgeable than the others in some specific subjects, we let the contributions come naturally, and don't challenge theother's inputs merely for the pride of being right.

The second important ingredient is that we don't compete, ever! For some unstated reason, two of my most frequent teammates prefer to review, having me in the translating role; though none of us ever has any objection reversing roles. In fact, if it is a long job under a very tight deadline, we may split it, and each one will review the other's part of the translation.

The third important ingredient is that the reviewer is never merely chasing the partner's mistakes. These are included in the pervasive idea that WE can make it better; it's TEAMwork! I call it "Paint me red!". If any of us thinks that any tidbit or chunk can be improved, we change it. If we can't find a visibly better alternative for something we don't like, we'll give 2-4 suggestions there. These may - and most often does - trigger the best solution in the partner's mind.

Translating the third ingredient, neither of the partners is 'shy' to change anything, and the other is expected to accept/improve/reject with reason any of them.

We communicate directly via e-mail or Skype, if there is any issue that may be resolved more expeditiously together, however we don't abuse it. It's only for critical issues.

Of course, this involves bouncing the job files between translator and reviewer as few times, at least three (T-R-T), usually four, however it may go beyond that.

This all relies on MS Word's Track Changes feature, and the job is done when there are no changes left for either partner to accept/reject. Doing it on other file types, e.g. XLS, PPT, PDF may be tricky, and often complex.

For large jobs, there is one last trick that significantly increases daily production, provided the partners are in different time zones: Have the partner who is "ahead" in time translate, and the one who is "behind" review. Since translation always precedes reviewing, the pair will have a longer working day.


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Texte Style
Local time: 02:45
French to English
Why be pessimistic? Mar 22, 2014

The Misha wrote:

Nancy Greenleese wrote:

Any key factors that we are missing?



Review, proofreading, editing, "second pair of eyes" - whatever you want to call it, it's a separate service that has to be paid for. If it isn't, then you are working for a rate that is less than you think you are getting, even if you pay for it "in kind" by reviewing your party's work. After all, you could use the time you spend on it doing a paid job or relaxing on the beach. If the rate you charge does include the second pair of eyes, then you should simply pay your party the rate you agreed upon and keep it simple and straightforward. Just keep a running count of who did what within a month, offset the numbers against each other, and pay (or receive) the balance in cash.


The Misha, I don't share your pessimism in that I have worked for years like this without any problem. My colleague has always been far more critical of my work than I have been of hers - this is more to do with personality than talent. So she spends more time proofreading me than I spend proofreading her, without it being a problem. There are perhaps not that many people who would enjoy this setup, I don't know.

Certainly I wouldn't be able to relax on the beach instead of proofing because then my work wouldn't be checked, and so relaxing anywhere would be out of the question!


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Nancy Greenleese  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:45
Member (2013)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
excellent ideas Mar 22, 2014

Thank you very much for your ideas and comments.

The key factors that José outlined are incredibly useful. He seems to have a model setup.

Time for proofing is definitely factored into my fee and that of my colleague. We are both former journalists and accustomed to having editors check our work. A relatively quick check can often uncover those little mistakes that we might miss when we're tired, distracted, have looked at a screen too long, etc. Texte Style put it well.

Texte Style wrote:


Certainly I wouldn't be able to relax on the beach instead of proofing because then my work wouldn't be checked, and so relaxing anywhere would be out of the question!


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:45
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It's not about mistakes (only) Mar 22, 2014

Nancy Greenleese wrote:

A relatively quick check can often uncover those little mistakes that we might miss when we're tired, distracted, have looked at a screen too long, etc.


Some translators/clients differentiate between proofreading, checking, reviewing, editing, whatever. I don't. My mission as a first, second, third (regardless if I was the first too) and so on pair of eyes (and a brain behind them) is always to take that translation as close to perfection as I can in one single step.

Correcting mistakes is the easy part. The trick lies in honing that text until it shines to dazzle the reader with brilliance.


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