Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Off topic: Agencies pay for this?
Thread poster: Jonathan Norris

Jonathan Norris  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 17, 2014

I have recently been enlisted in the capacity of proofreader for another translator's job of a contract, and I am amazed at what I have found thusfar.

To be perfectly clear, there are signs of this translator being quite competent. That said, the vast majority is riddled with errors, silly mistakes, unforced errors, blatant laziness, and what amounts to copy-and-paste machine translation from Google Translate. Overall, this translation is unusable, if not unreadable.

And yet, this agency assigned this person a 15,000 word contract to translate. And they'll pay him, too.

On one hand, I would congratulate this person as he has obviously gamed the system. He gets jobs, bungles them roundly, and continues to get jobs while his editors are left wondering why. In this light, it almost makes me feel foolish for spending so much time checking and rechecking, if agencies are just as happy with crap like this.

On the other hand, I feel like sending it back unread and telling them this needs to be redone. The only reason I don't is this person is clearly one of their "vetted" service-providers, and it's not my job to do their hiring and firing for them.


[Edited at 2014-04-17 02:58 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 17:08
Chinese to English
This is why I very rarely proofread Apr 17, 2014

There are a lot of very poor practitioners out there.

If your agency is good, they will appreciate your comments. My best agency clients actually request quality comments on every proofreading job. It's a hassle, and I don't like doing it much, but I think we should recognise it as part of their attempts to do quality control. If you are charging by the hour for proofreading, then the quality of their first translator will directly affect how much they have to pay you, as well. So good agencies will be monitoring the situation.

But there are plenty of not-so-good agencies teamed up with not-so-good translators, and large amounts of manure accumulate in those corners of the industry.


Edit:
Just on the doctor thing... the situations aren't quite the same. The people who get into med school are already pretty smart, and the whole medical profession is full of rules and enforced practices to make sure that egregious errors are prevented and caught quickly. There was a major scandal in the UK about a "bad" heart surgeon whose death rates were higher than they should have been: "...between 30 and 35 "excess deaths" at Bristol between 1991 and 1995...mistakes had been made in the overall care of 10% of babies and children". That's a tragedy, but still most children were getting good care. That's what a scandal looks like in medicine. In translation, a nuclear safety document translated by an incompetent is barely worth a comment, let alone a scandal.

So please support any institutions who try to impose good quality systems - agencies, teaching institutions, clients, whoever they are. Quality control isn't about individual efforts, it's about systematic good practice.

[Edited at 2014-04-17 01:53 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:08
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Good idea Apr 17, 2014

Jonathan Norris wrote:

On the other hand, I feel like sending it back unread and telling them this needs to be redone. The only reason I don't is this person is clearly one of their "vetted" service-providers, and it's not my job to do their hiring and firing for them.


[Edited at 2014-04-17 02:58 GMT]


Why don't you do just that? It really doesn't matter whether this person is their "vetted" service-provider or not. The only thing that matters is that you are the one who does the actual translation. This sounds a little like that translator is using MT and then let you do the actual translation disguised as proof-reading.


[Edited at 2014-04-17 06:37 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Terence Noonan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:08
German to English
+ ...
Fast and cheap attracts bottom feeders Apr 17, 2014

Sometimes you need the job and need the money, but they are definitely taking advantage of you by trying to get what is essentially a rework job at a proofreading rate.

Ideally you should be turning down jobs like this, or charging massively for them in order to discourage bad behavior. From a marketing standpoint, I also think you are doing yourself no favors by advertising yourself as fast and cheap through your keywords. If I were an unscrupulous PM looking above all to minimize "vendor spend", I would see that plus your humanities background and think that this is someone with weak negotiation skills, and that this is someone to whom I can unilaterally dictate the terms of the job with little "pushback".

As workers in a creative profession we sometimes deal with customers in the business/corporate/cubicle world who think we have a "useless" liberal arts skill set and should be paid and treated accordingly, but the relative rarity of our skills versus the high demand for such skills suggests a much different value for our services than the one they envision.

I see you have a lot of positive reviews on your page, so there should be no need for you to advertise yourself as being available any time for any price just to get established. Perhaps I myself should do that since I'm new here, but you shouldn't have to.

[Edited at 2014-04-17 07:04 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-04-17 07:07 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jonathan Norris  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Re: your thoughts on image control Apr 17, 2014

Terence Noonan wrote:

From a marketing standpoint, I also think you are doing yourself no favors by advertising yourself as fast and cheap through your keywords. If I were an unscrupulous PM looking above all to minimize "vendor spend", I would see that plus your humanities background and think that this is someone with weak negotiation skills, and that this is someone to whom I can unilaterally dictate the terms of the job with little "pushback".


[Edited at 2014-04-17 07:04 GMT]


Hi, thanks for replying. Guess it's time to update my keywords.

Can't be too careful with new customers, true. Sometimes you take break-even jobs as a favor to loyal customers, sure beats getting jerked around by new ones. Never considered myself as being taken advantage of, but thanks for lookin out friend.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jonathan Norris  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A tri-parter Apr 17, 2014

Phil Hand wrote:

1. There are a lot of very poor practitioners out there.

2. If your agency is good, they will appreciate your comments.

3. Just on the doctor thing... the situations aren't quite the same.



[Edited at 2014-04-17 01:53 GMT]


1. No doubt, but let's not take a turn to negative town.

2. They do and they have, good customer, no reason to suspect their motives. Just a one time deal, methinks.

3. So true, a rare instance of undue poetic license. Corrected with thanks.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jonathan Norris  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Re: Apr 17, 2014

Thayenga wrote:

Jonathan Norris wrote:

On the other hand, I feel like sending it back unread and telling them this needs to be redone. The only reason I don't is this person is clearly one of their "vetted" service-providers, and it's not my job to do their hiring and firing for them.


[Edited at 2014-04-17 02:58 GMT]


Why don't you do just that? It really doesn't matter whether this person is their "vetted" service-provider or not. The only thing that matters is that you are the one who does the actual translation. This sounds a little like that translator is using MT and then let you do the actual translation disguised as proof-reading.


[Edited at 2014-04-17 06:37 GMT]


Thanks but it's probably nothing ill-intentioned like that. I rather take it as a compliment being trusted to clean up bad translations.

[Edited at 2014-04-17 07:59 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Noura Tawil  Identity Verified
Syria
Local time: 12:08
Member (2013)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Deja vu Apr 17, 2014

Very recently, an editing job turned out to be a time consuming nightmare, the spelling and grammatical mistakes were the easy part although the translator obviously didn't give his speedy work a second look but making the Arabic translation readable was another story. I completed the task, sent the good agency a somewhat detailed report, and asked them to kindly not send me any editing jobs from that particular translator. I think they got the idea!

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Terence Noonan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:08
German to English
+ ...
What are you being paid? Apr 17, 2014

Thanks but it's probably nothing ill-intentioned like that. I rather take it as a compliment being trusted to clean up bad translations.

[Edited at 2014-04-17 07:59 GMT] [/quote]

It is only a compliment if you are being paid adequately for your services.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:08
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
The compliment Apr 17, 2014

Jonathan Norris wrote:

Thanks but it's probably nothing ill-intentioned like that. I rather take it as a compliment being trusted to clean up bad translations.

[Edited at 2014-04-17 07:59 GMT]


In a way it is a complimeent. However, you are a business man and can, therefore, not afford to spend your time with extensive corrections, being paid a fraction of what the translator gets.

I do a lot of proofreading and editing, so I know how "frustrating" it can be having to correct a less than good translation. Usually I refrain from commenting on the quality of the translation - my changes should say it all - except for one time. And even in that particular case, I only asked the client if he was sure that the translator was a native speaker. I still receive proofreading/editing jobs from that client, but... never one from that particular translator. I wonder why.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:08
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
This is why... Apr 17, 2014

Phil Hand wrote:
This is why I very rarely proofread

Exactly. Same here. It takes me much less time to translate from scratch than to proofread some work.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:08
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Checks and balances Apr 17, 2014

Every proofreader should charge the actual time spent correcting a text. When a text is a mess and costs the agency big money in proofreading, the agency is bound to question their translator and might switch to a better one. And the same on the opposite side: when proofreading costs very little because the translation was a good one, agencies will be glad to pay the translator more.

By paying proofreaders a per-word rate, some agencies make their calculations, pay a ridiculous fee to a very bad translator, pay the proofreader 25% of that, and feel that they get a good final product and even make a profit. They are not really aware that they are skating on thin ice and risk losing their customer very easily.

Clearly, those who proofread as a regular business are responsible of helping agencies weed out bad translators, simply by charging their actual time spent.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jonathan Norris  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Re: your experiece Apr 17, 2014

Noura Tawil wrote:

Very recently, an editing job turned out to be a time consuming nightmare, the spelling and grammatical mistakes were the easy part although the translator obviously didn't give his speedy work a second look but making the Arabic translation readable was another story. I completed the task, sent the good agency a somewhat detailed report, and asked them to kindly not send me any editing jobs from that particular translator. I think they got the idea!


Hi Noura, Thanks for replying. Sounds like you handled it just right, and if you don't mind my final report might borrow a bit from yours. Best wishes,


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:08
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The blunt "proofreading rate" Apr 17, 2014

Terence Noonan wrote:

Ideally you should be turning down jobs like this, or charging massively for them in order to discourage bad behavior.


Some outsourcers candidly ask about both my translation and proofreading rates. Well, I know my translation rates, however proofreading will depend on the translation I get.

So I state my translation rates and add something to the tune of:
My proofreading rate is one-third of my translation rate, for competent human translation. By "competent", I mean about as good as mine. I often team up with some other translators, and we consider each other as having equivalent translation skills, in spite of our different backgrounds. None of us would mind swapping roles. If the translation is worse than that, my proofreading rate may rise, up to the full translation rate, if redoing the job completely is justified.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jonathan Norris  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Re: setting rates Apr 17, 2014

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Terence Noonan wrote:

Ideally you should be turning down jobs like this, or charging massively for them in order to discourage bad behavior.


Some outsourcers candidly ask about both my translation and proofreading rates. Well, I know my translation rates, however proofreading will depend on the translation I get.

So I state my translation rates and add something to the tune of:
My proofreading rate is one-third of my translation rate, for competent human translation. By "competent", I mean about as good as mine. I often team up with some other translators, and we consider each other as having equivalent translation skills, in spite of our different backgrounds. None of us would mind swapping roles. If the translation is worse than that, my proofreading rate may rise, up to the full translation rate, if redoing the job completely is justified.


Hi José, thank you for replying, I enjoyed reading you. That's a good system you have, and one thing I'm learning is to be up-front and clear about this. Given the wild variation of quality, a graduated scale like you suggested is clearly a great solution.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


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


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

Agencies pay for this?

Advanced search







SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »



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