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What is your experience with proofreading/feedback from agencies?
Thread poster: Leanne Leroy

Leanne Leroy  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 21:07
Member (2008)
French to English
Apr 23, 2015

Hello colleagues!

I regularly work for a handful of translation agencies and they each seem to have different standards and methods for proofreading and giving feedback. I was wondering if other members could comment on their experience with agency proofreading methods and the sorts of feedback received (positive, constructive, negative, etc.). Thank you!


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:07
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What do you mean: Apr 23, 2015

experience as proofreader or as translator?

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Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:07
Member (2002)
English to Russian
Best feedback is letting the original translator see the edited or proofed document Apr 24, 2015

One of my regular clients sends me the edited documents for final review, i.e. I can accept or reject the proposed changes. Understandably, my action depends on the quality of the proposed changes. Generally, I accept them, even preferential ones, if I see that a proposed change improves on my original translation to any extent. However, an editor may introduce typos, grammar mistakes or even mistranslations from time to time, in which case the proposed change gets the axe.

N.B. The best thing in this arrangement is that I am not required to complete an arm-long QA table with comments on each of the proposed changes

[Edited at 2015-04-24 02:46 GMT]


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Leanne Leroy  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 21:07
Member (2008)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Receiving proofreading/feedback as a translator Apr 24, 2015

Teresa Borges wrote:

experience as proofreader or as translator?


I meant, as a translator, what kind of proofreading and feedback are agencies providing for your work? I'm just trying to get an idea of what, if anything, is standard among agencies.


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Leanne Leroy  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 21:07
Member (2008)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the comment Apr 24, 2015

Vladimir Pochinov wrote:

One of my regular clients sends me the edited documents for final review, i.e. I can accept or reject the proposed changes.


Thanks for commenting on your experience, Vladimir. This is the method I prefer too.


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:07
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Usually they don't Apr 24, 2015

except when more work from the client is expected and the point is to show me the client's requirements - the client may have their own ideas what to call things (sometimes horrible, but the client is always right...).
I work for a large agency with a translation-proof1-proof2 system. The trouble is, the level of their translators is very variable, and the last person working on the translation has the final say. I once saw my work after proofreading and was horrified - the proofreader completely f***d it up. So that I don't want to know in that specific case.


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Leanne Leroy  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 21:07
Member (2008)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
The methods definitely aren't fool-proof! Apr 24, 2015

EvaVer wrote:


I work for a large agency with a translation-proof1-proof2 system. The trouble is, the level of their translators is very variable, and the last person working on the translation has the final say.


I've had this happen before too and actually got in touch with the outsourcer to tell them that the proofreader clearly did not understand the text. I try to be humble with my work and I am the first to acknowledge when there is a mistake and make changes, even preferential ones, but in that case, it was just awful!


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Jacqueline White
Austria
Local time: 21:07
Hungarian to English
+ ...
Rarely receive edited text Apr 24, 2015

I've rarely received the edited text. I think agencies avoid sending it because they suspect it will lead to disputes. It sometimes surprises me that agencies, given they often work together with the same translators, don't put more effort into the learning process.

Occasionally agencies ask the reviewer to count the number of certain types of errors in an attempt to make an objective assessment, but I think that's only feasible if there are minimal errors or for short texts, otherwise it's unrealistic to keep an accurate count of each kind of error during the reviewing process.

I think it's better for the reviewer to write a couple of lines giving their overall impression and drawing attention to any particular problems.

Giving a score is okay, but it should be at least on a scale of 1-5. One agency asks reviewers to score the translation either with an unhappy face, neutral face or smiley face, which I think is not nuanced enough.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:07
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Well Apr 24, 2015

Leanne Leroy wrote:

Teresa Borges wrote:

experience as proofreader or as translator?


I meant, as a translator, what kind of proofreading and feedback are agencies providing for your work? I'm just trying to get an idea of what, if anything, is standard among agencies.


From most of them the feedback I get is... total silence (I presume that no news, good news), with the exception of an agency that always sends me the edited documents for final review, asking if I accept or reject the proposed changes. Sometimes they even send the final product for a last review...


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:07
Member (2014)
English to German
I would appreciate this amount of feedback, but ... Apr 24, 2015

Teresa Borges wrote:

From most of them the feedback I get is... total silence (I presume that no news, good news), with the exception of an agency that always sends me the edited documents for final review, asking if I accept or reject the proposed changes. Sometimes they even send the final product for a last review...


Do they expect and do you go through the whole document each time to check and double check the changes? Wouldn't that be quite time consuming and do you charge for the time? Aren't they getting additional proofreading/quality control?

[Edited at 2015-04-24 12:24 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:07
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I have been working with this agency... Apr 24, 2015

Gabriele Demuth wrote:

Teresa Borges wrote:

From most of them the feedback I get is... total silence (I presume that no news, good news), with the exception of an agency that always sends me the edited documents for final review, asking if I accept or reject the proposed changes. Sometimes they even send the final product for a last review...


Do they expect and do you go through the whole document each time to check and double check the changes? Wouldn't that be quite time consuming and do you charge for the time? Aren't they getting additional proofreading/quality control?

[Edited at 2015-04-24 12:24 GMT]


... for some time now (since 2000) and always with the same proofreader, this means that we know each other work quite well and we trust each other. In general, there are minimal changes and checking them is not time-consuming at all, so I don't charge for the time, as the agency pays a good rate (negotiated in 2000 and re-negotiated recently). Of course, the proofreader charges for all her time. I must say that we only had a slight disagreement once...


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Maria Ortiz Takacs  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same here Apr 24, 2015

Teresa Borges wrote:

From most of them the feedback I get is... total silence (I presume that no news, good news), with the exception of an agency that always sends me the edited documents for final review, asking if I accept or reject the proposed changes. Sometimes they even send the final product for a last review...


I usually don't get any feedback either. However, I work for the linguistic department of one particular client and it's a lot of fun because there are two in-house Spanish translators and they revise my work and I get to revise theirs too. The changes they usually make are based on preferences because that's the way they say it internally, which is good because after 10 years of working with them, I know what tone to use, what terminology to avoid, etc.

As for other companies (I only work for two agencies), the few times I have received feedback, it's because the client has had the translation revised in-house and most corrections are unnecessary or plainly wrong as they were done by a person who speaks the language but is not a professional in the field.


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:07
Member (2014)
English to German
Usually hear nothing ... Apr 25, 2015

I usually hear nothing in respect to quality control.

Except from one private client with whom I work very closely, who reads and checks my work but generally tends to ask me questions as she is not a native speaker. I would however welcome a bit more quality control before things go to print?


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:07
Member (2008)
Italian to English
It almost ever happens Apr 25, 2015

It almost ever happens - perhaps because much of my work is for long-established clients who know me and who expect me to maintain a high level of quality that doesn't require much correction. I only get a very occasional minor request for clarification of some small thing. But hardly ever.

However at the moment I'm experiencing difficulties with one particular end-user - a large industrial firm whose website has been badly translated for years, who doesn't speak good English, and who is very nervous about these new translations - but without really knowing whether they're good or not.

Luckily the agency is native in English and is consistently, and very supportively, putting in a lot of extra effort and backing me up every time the end user queries something.

It's a real headache translating into English for someone who THINKS they understand English - but doesn't.

[Edited at 2015-04-25 09:08 GMT]


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:07
French to German
+ ...
I am the proofreader ;) Apr 25, 2015

Well, I work with very few agencies. In generally speaking if I do, I am the proofreader.

I occasionally translate for two though... One is absolute silent, but they come back, so I guess they were quite satisfied. The second one sends me the feedback of their end customer who is in Switzerland and a German native speaker. I work for this client via the agency since nearly one year and the feedback is always very positive: "want to continue with that translator", "great work" Once they even asked me if I actually could also do some copywriting because the customer liked my style...

As a proofreader I am not in contact with the translators and receive no feedback of them concerning the corrections I propose. I receive feedback from the agency though, especially if I detected sentences that were failing in the target text (happens sometimes), errors in grammar and orthograph. Most of the translators I proofread though are really excellent and I tell that the agency. No idea whether they actually tell the translator. I know though that some agencies refuse to pay the translator or pay him/her less then the original amount if I propose a lot of changes. In that case they send the translator my corrections, but there are no discussions between the translator and me.


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