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Client 'edited' my translation, then published it
Thread poster: Roni_S
Roni_S  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 17:06
Slovak to English
Aug 27, 2015

Okay, this is mainly just to vent because my name does not appear in the published version, but I just don't understand WHY a client would use a non-native proofreader (any language) who proceeds to incorporate ERRORS into the finished product. In this particular case the errors are in punctuation and syntax, and their (ab)use of the semicolon has made the text confusing, to say the least. I will not be bringing this to the attention of the client since it is already out there, but I just wonder at their thought process: hey, here's a document translated by a competent, experienced, target-native translator so let's get our source-native receptionist to edit it. Good business sense, I guess.

Vent over, thanks for listening (reading).

Cheers

Roni


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 23:06
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Standardized translation processes Aug 27, 2015

englishpartner wrote:

I will not be bringing this to the attention of the client since it is already out there, but I just wonder at their thought process: hey, here's a document translated by a competent, experienced, target-native translator so let's get our source-native receptionist to edit it. Good business sense, I guess.

Roni


This manner violates copyright of translation as well as translation quality control processes. If dishonest manner of client is ignored, we as translators should not tolerate such action since it badly destroy translation industries.
[Pirate publications through translation are quite tremendous in this cyber age.]

Soonthon L.


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Errors during review Aug 27, 2015

It is not uncommon for me to see target-native reviewers inserting errors in my translations, so the problem is not related to the reviewer being native or not native but to translators being asked to review without having reviewing skills, and without outsourcers giving them briefs outlining what exactly they expect. There are natives who are unable to string together one correct sentence in their own language, and because too many outsourcers in this business consider that being target native is the Holy Grail, they fail to check reviewers' or translators' skills properly.

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Roni_S  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 17:06
Slovak to English
TOPIC STARTER
Agreed Aug 27, 2015

I was not trying to imply that natives of the target language are infallible because they most certainly are not, but I think it's far more likely that a non-native will not understand the nuances of the language and thus will tend to introduce more errors.

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 00:06
Chinese to English
Fight it as best you can Aug 27, 2015

I think it's worth letting the client know - try to write the email when you're calm, though. No point in harming the business relationship over it, but if you can do the client education, then do.

I once had to ask to have my name taken off a published translation because the editor kept messing with it. In the end they backed down on most things, but the title is still atrocious - I wince every time I see it on my CV, and I'm going to take it off just as soon as I get a few more credited translations to take its place.

You can't really blame the client: getting a proofreader in is good practice. Maybe they got a subject specialist - that would be a decent reason for using a source-native proofreader. And they probably don't realise what's happened.


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Yes, but Aug 27, 2015

Yes, it is statistically much more likely, but as translators are individuals with a vast variety of experiences and backgrounds, one cannot conclude that a statistically correct rule applies to all individuals. It is exactly this obsession with 'native' that lulls some outsourcers to sleep because they use 'native' as a comfort blanket instead of checking the individual's skills objectively.

But both low prices and the 'native' question have been discussed ad nauseam, and let's not start all over again here.

Many outsourcers' first priority is to find someone cheap, and they often get exactly what they pay for.

[Edited at 2015-08-27 15:24 GMT]


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Roni_S  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 17:06
Slovak to English
TOPIC STARTER
@Phil Aug 27, 2015

Thanks, maybe I will consider letting the client know. I mean, I do actually appreciate proofreaders, they do catch errors that you can miss when you proofread your own work and sometimes they even rephrase things to a better overall effect. I suppose what I wouldn't want to happen is for this client (direct client) to think that I have provided a substandard translation based on the proofreading errors introduced by their in-house non-native person (who is not a proofreader at all, but rather an administrative employee of that particular company). Ah well, such is the life of a freelance translator

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Roni_S  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 17:06
Slovak to English
TOPIC STARTER
@Thomas Aug 27, 2015

Yes, you are right and I certainly don't mean to put all non-native proofreaders into one basket but my experience, in my language pair, has been that people way over-estimate their skills. Some of the things I've been asked to proofread by this particular company have been so incredibly *Engrish* that I've actually sent emails and called friends just to laugh over them, and without the source text it would have been impossible to correct the translation.

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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:06
Member (2014)
English to German
Yes, I would mention it Aug 27, 2015

If, at a later point, someone else mentions it, e.g. one of their clients, they might blame you for the mistakes and/or harming their business.

I would just point it out politely, e.g. as you did before, mentioning that you approve of proofreaders ...


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 17:06
German to Swedish
+ ...
A case of this Aug 27, 2015

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments

http://gagne.homedns.org/~tgagne/contrib/unskilled.html


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It is annoying Aug 27, 2015

And when you specialise in website texts it has to be said that you become wary of "owning" any text you've translated. Sooner or later, they're going to want to update it, and although they were prepared to spend good money on the original translation and proofreading, they almost always want to do the updates more cheaply. Of course, they normally do the English version changes themselves, or get some employee who studied English for a couple of years at school to do them. The result is that a website you were once proud of becomes one you would never admit to having had a hand in.

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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:06
French to German
+ ...
Inform the customer Aug 27, 2015

I would inform the customer.

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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:06
Member (2008)
French to English
Bring it to their attention. Aug 27, 2015

I would definitely advise the client, for your own protection. I have had situations where an end client has got negative feedback about what they posted online, which they then blamed me for as the translator. Comparing what I had submitted with what was online I discovered major errors had been introduced by a subsequent proofreader, but they seemed to have forgotten about that workflow.

So it would certainly be advisable to have on the record that you pointed it out to them.

In another case the client was genuinely thankful that I had pointed out the errors. In that case he viewed it as a customer service for which he was grateful.

[Edited at 2015-08-27 18:39 GMT]


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The Misha
Local time: 11:06
Russian to English
+ ...
What exactly are you so upset about? Aug 28, 2015

Assuming they accepted your work and paid you for it, it's theirs, and they can do whatever the heck they want with it. They can eat it for breakfast if they so wish. If they mess it up through their own stupidity, incompetence, whatever, it's their problem. It has nothing to do with you any longer. If they ever come back to you claiming it's all your fault, you can always show them your original delivery.

Naturally, all of this applies only when your name DOES NOT appear on the translation, because then of course your reputation would be at stake. But if that is not the case, you should really take it easy. Personally, I lose all interest in most projects I do once I get paid. So should you. Life is too short to fret about idiots that don't know how to run their business properly. Unfortunately, the world is swarming with those, just as it always has.

[Edited at 2015-08-28 03:29 GMT]


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:06
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Your name does not appear? Aug 28, 2015

I would have thought you would be glad that such a shoddy piece of work is not "credited" to you.

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