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Reviewing the work of someone you know
Thread poster: Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 20:39
Member (2012)
English to Indonesian
Jun 21, 2014

Dear colleagues,

In the case of a review when the names of the reviewer and translator can be seen by everyone, and it turns out that the translator is someone you know (a friend or an acquaintance), what's your approach? Particularly when there are quite a few errors and it can make the translator look bad in the eyes of the client. Or imagine if you have to "fail" the translator. You have to be professional yet you don't want any hard feelings or even damage your relationship with your colleague. Opinions will be appreciated.

[Edited at 2014-06-21 07:59 GMT]


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:39
Italian to English
Do... Jun 21, 2014

... what you would want your colleague to do if the positions were reversed.

 

Nehad Hussein  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:39
English to Arabic
I know how you feel Jun 21, 2014

But as a reviewer you are the last line of defense to protect your client interest. You have integrity to keep as well. So do not let emotional doubts affect your judgement.
Best of Luck.


 

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 20:39
Member (2012)
English to Indonesian
TOPIC STARTER
Integrity Jun 21, 2014

Giles Watson wrote:

... what you would want your colleague to do if the positions were reversed.


what would you do?icon_smile.gif

Nehad Hussein wrote:

But as a reviewer you are the last line of defense to protect your client interest. You have integrity to keep as well. So do not let emotional doubts affect your judgement.
Best of Luck.


Actually I could just polish the review report so it looks good. But of course honesty and integrity are some things to consider here.


 

Laura Pascual  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Translating and reviewing go together Jun 21, 2014

What I mean is: reviewing is necessary. It's not a way to make the translator look bad, it's a way of improving the translation so the client gets the better text possible. The translator should know that, the reviewer should know that (sometimes I've had to deal with reviewers who thought their job was to prove what a bad translator I am) and the client should know that. And, unless there are some major mistakes in the translation, you can always say something like "It is a good translation, but it can be improved with some minor changes".

 

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 20:39
Member (2012)
English to Indonesian
TOPIC STARTER
Review report Jun 21, 2014

Laura Pascual wrote:

What I mean is: reviewing is necessary. It's not a way to make the translator look bad, it's a way of improving the translation so the client gets the better text possible. The translator should know that, the reviewer should know that (sometimes I've had to deal with reviewers who thought their job was to prove what a bad translator I am) and the client should know that. And, unless there are some major mistakes in the translation, you can always say something like "It is a good translation, but it can be improved with some minor changes".


That's a good point, but I should mention that this particular client requires me to fill a review report where I list the changes with categories of error. So I cannot say something like that without omitting some errors to avoid contradiction.

[Edited at 2014-06-21 09:52 GMT]


 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:39
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Just be professional Jun 21, 2014

Having taken this job on, you have no option but to be honest. The translator also needs to know if their translation was substandard, and will benefit in the long run from honest and constructive feedback. If you feel uncomfortable with doing this then you could refuse such jobs in the future.

 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 15:39
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Avoid Jun 21, 2014

Rachel Waddington wrote:

If you feel uncomfortable with doing this then you could refuse such jobs in the future.


Yes, I would just reject jobs that involve reviewing the work of a friend.
If it is too late to contact your client and back out of it, you should do an honest job: correct all significant errors and fill in the table as required. You can be a little charitable in the scoring/evaluation; it is all a little subjective anyway, so it gives you some wiggle room. It could get really awkward with the translator/friend, but there's no way to avoid that risk if you can't turn down the job. You'd be doing your client a disservice if you left major errors uncorrected because of personal/social considerations.
I was in a somewhat similar situation once. I was a little charitable with the colleague in question, emphasizing the positive a little more than the negative without being untruthful... in that case, I wasn't the only one evaluating this colleague's work so that situation wasn't as potentially explosive as yours.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 21:39
Chinese to English
I hate review reports Jun 21, 2014

It's a complete mix up of what should be two separate roles. As Laura said, reviewing is necessary. It's not a comment on the translator's competence, it's just a fact of life. And when a reviewer works with a translator on a particular document, the two of them should be partners, aiming for a good result together. The relationship isn't one of teacher and student, or applicant and assessor. It's partners.

Having said that, sometimes we do end up filling out these reports. I don't think there's anything you can do but be honest. Though one option in this case is: say to the agency, I know this translator, therefore I'm not in a position to fill out the form objectively. See if they'll let you off that way.


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:39
Japanese to English
+ ...
What Phil said Jun 21, 2014

If I was an agency, and a reviewer came to me and told me they had a conflict of interest like this, I wouldn't want them to review that particular translation. There would be no way to really trust the objectivity of the review.

So I think if you told them they would understand. There was no way that you could have known who the translator was before they sent you the job, right?

As long as a lot of time hasn't already passed since they first sent you the job...


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:39
Italian to English
Here's what I do Jun 21, 2014

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha wrote:

Giles Watson wrote:

... what you would want your colleague to do if the positions were reversed.


what would you do?icon_smile.gif



In general, I accept review jobs only if I've seen the translation and source text, am working in a peer group, or already know the translator in question.

In your case, I don't think it's wise to ignore actual errors. Someone else is bound to spot them if you do icon_wink.gif. But as others have said, you accepted the job so you really have to do it unless the agency will let you step down.


 

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 20:39
Member (2012)
English to Indonesian
TOPIC STARTER
Just cheat the report Jun 21, 2014

Giles Watson wrote:

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha wrote:

Giles Watson wrote:

... what you would want your colleague to do if the positions were reversed.


what would you do?icon_smile.gif



In general, I accept review jobs only if I've seen the translation and source text, am working in a peer group, or already know the translator in question.

In your case, I don't think it's wise to ignore actual errors. Someone else is bound to spot them if you do icon_wink.gif. But as others have said, you accepted the job so you really have to do it unless the agency will let you step down.


Actually no, I wouldn't ignore anything in the translated text. I could just omit the errors in the review report, I could even give a perfect grade in the report when in reality the translation is full of errors and the agency wouldn't know a thing about it.

[Edited at 2014-06-21 13:57 GMT]


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:39
Italian to English
You could do that, but... Jun 21, 2014

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha wrote:

I could just omit the errors in the review report, I could even give a perfect grade in the report when in reality the translation is full of errors and the agency wouldn't know a thing about it



... you wouldn't, would you?


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:39
English to Polish
+ ...
If you can't back out, use sparing language Jun 21, 2014

If it's too late to back out, you can be super professional and frame your criticism in a very objective, respectful tone, making it as brief as possible. Gotta fill the table the way it is as well.

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:39
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Does your friend deserve a great learning experience? Jun 21, 2014

Actually I was in a similar situation just recently, with just one difference: I only found out who did the translation after I had written my report.

It turned out to be a French translator I am vaguely acquainted with, who I have had a good laugh with on several occasions, and here she was, translating into English. I had put in my report that there were quite a few weird passages where either the translator didn't understand the source or they didn't have a good enough grasp of the target language to frame their sentences properly, and far more mistakes with prepositions than a native speaker would ever make, with a target text that was way too close to the source, no effort made to find the most appropriate term when there was a target term similar to the source term. In short, I slagged the translation, and given that it was a brochure to be printed up and handed to prospective customers, this was entirely justified.

So I felt bad that I had slagged this translator off. I don't know whether she found out that I was the one who wrote the damning report, but I have heard that she now only translates into French. And I know from a colleague who has proofread her translations into French that she does that very well, and the client for whom I reviewed her translation into English is working with her in that direction. So all in all it probably was the best possible thing for her to find out that her work is simply not up to scratch when translating into English.

Does your friend not deserve to learn from their mistakes? I freely admit that had I known who had translated the text I was reviewing, I would have softened my report a little, and perhaps tried to shift a little of the blame onto the PM who gave a FR-EN job to a native French speaker, perhaps there is room for to do someting similar in your review?


 
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