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Can a client order a "Revision job" on a file clearly translated via Google Translate?
Thread poster: guilhermesilva
Jul 1, 2016

I'm really not sure at what point a service is considered a revision rather than an editing job or even a full translation job. Usually revision jobs cost much less than a translation or an editing job, which is why some clients will try to basically cheat by thinking that a google-translated file can pass as an usable initial translation. In my field and my language pair, it won't. Pretty much every sentence will have to be rewritten. I honestly would rather just use my own translation software from scratch, it would be much faster than opening two documents on word and changing almost every word.

In other words, should I try to address this to my client, and if so, how to do it in a polite manner? Would you ask your client to stop pre-translating it, or would you try to settle for an editing job rate?


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:25
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
They can try what they like Jul 2, 2016

guilhermesilva wrote:
I'm really not sure at what point a service is considered a revision rather than an editing job or even a full translation job. Usually revision jobs cost much less than a translation or an editing job, which is why some clients will try to basically cheat by thinking that a google-translated file can pass as an usable initial translation.

Revisions cost what they cost - normally less but it could be as much or even more. Any translator or reviser who accepts a job for revision without looking at the file, presumably quoting on a per-word basis, has got to be mad. Okay, an inexperienced professional will probably be caught out once (I got caught out, once) but not twice. I'm not sure that "cheating" is really something that's applicable to the business world. Some businesses are highly ethical and transparent in their dealings, others will always try to muddy the waters and prey on the better nature of an independent professional. If we let them, then we're to blame as much as them.
In my field and my language pair, it won't. Pretty much every sentence will have to be rewritten. I honestly would rather just use my own translation software from scratch, it would be much faster than opening two documents on word and changing almost every word.

I think that's probably true of almost all language pairs. There are some tailored, expensive MT products out there that may be half-good, but the free ones like GT put out the most awful rubbish, with the occasional almost-perfect sentence.

[/uote]In other words, should I try to address this to my client, and if so, how to do it in a polite manner? Would you ask your client to stop pre-translating it, or would you try to settle for an editing job rate? [/quote]
I can't imagine that you can fail to address it. How is up to you and up to them, IMHO. AFAIC, if they're misguided - I try to educate; if they're trying it on to see what happens - they get a refusal with a short explanation; if everything about them stinks - it's a curt "get lost" or no reply.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Yes, they can. Jul 2, 2016

A client can order any type of service. Should you be willing to post-edit a machine translated file, then you should charge your hourly rate. In case the client doesn't like this idea (usually they don't), then charge per word...your translation rate because you are likely to end up re-translating most of the text - if not all of it - from scratch.

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:25
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Just a reminder... Jul 2, 2016

Clients do not order, they request. Keep in mind that you are the one providing the service, you set the price, and you decide whether or not to accept the job.

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Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:25
Serbian to English
+ ...
of course they can Jul 2, 2016

try whatever they want

It's up to you to try to explain to them that what they need is a translation from scratch - they may genuinely believe that MT is a usable starting point - it may be the case that they are damn good in their own business but have no clue about the language business. I did have few clients open to listening to reason who did accept a "change of plan" when it was needed.

If they are only after penny-pinching, and insist that "only few changes are needed" just ignore them or tell them to get lost.


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Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:25
German to English
How are you charging? Jul 2, 2016

Are you charging an hourly or word/line rate? If you're charging an hourly rate then there's not much you need to do other than alert the client that you will need longer than expected because you have a lot to edit. If you're charging a word/line rate, then I would suggest going back to them and saying that the amount of editing you are doing is much more than you anticipated and you will need to adjust your rates to 0.XX / word if they would like you to proceed.

I'd avoid saying outright that the quality is poor - you never know if it wasn't actually GT but one of their employees who thought they spoke the language well enough to be able to translate. You don't want to end up insulting your client accidentally...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
First assume the client is acting honourably Jul 2, 2016

guilhermesilva wrote:
In other words, should I try to address this to my client, and if so, how to do it in a polite manner?


If you receive a Google translated text as a revisions job, then there is a good chance that your client is unaware that it is a Google translation. First assume that your client is unaware of that. So, simply tell you client "Sorry, but this is a Google translated text. I only do editing on texts that were translated by human professional translators."


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guilhermesilva
Brazil
TOPIC STARTER
on insulting the client Jul 2, 2016

Kelly Neudorfer wrote:
I'd avoid saying outright that the quality is poor - you never know if it wasn't actually GT but one of their employees who thought they spoke the language well enough to be able to translate. You don't want to end up insulting your client accidentally...


So I ended up keeping it real with him as politely as I could. At first I was afraid of insulting his original work as you mentioned. Then I tried pasting the original on GT and the result was a 100% equal to the initial translation he provided me, so that made me feel more confident he won't be offended. I just told him next time he could just send me only the original in case he's using automatic translation because then I can load the file on my translation software and it will make it much faster. Hopefully he understands next time I'll readjust the rate. Thanks for the input, you guys have been providing great points

EDIT: to those saying they might be unaware it's google-translated, I also provided him a separate file marking all changes I've made so he can see I've changed pretty much the entire thing, hopefully that makes it obvious that his initial translation was terrible

[Edited at 2016-07-02 22:52 GMT]


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:25
English to Japanese
+ ...
With all due respect Jul 3, 2016

Tina Vonhof wrote:

Clients do not order, they request. Keep in mind that you are the one providing the service, you set the price, and you decide whether or not to accept the job.


I think the topic starter is aware that he does not get ordered (i.e. commanded) to do this and that. He probably used the term order in the sense of "ordering a food at a restaurant" and not as a command. Of course, your suggestion of the word 'request' is more pleasant to use and suitable in this context.


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guilhermesilva
Brazil
TOPIC STARTER
Yes Jul 3, 2016

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:
I think the topic starter is aware that he does not get ordered (i.e. commanded) to do this and that. He probably used the term order in the sense of "ordering a food at a restaurant" and not as a command. Of course, your suggestion of the word 'request' is more pleasant to use and suitable in this context.


You are correct. I do realize they can order whatever they want and I can accept whatever I want. What I meant was "is it an okay thing to do as far as ethics go"

[Edited at 2016-07-03 06:09 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:25
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Caught one red-handed Jul 3, 2016

A good client of mine, a translation agency in the USA, once sent me a reviewing job, purportedly from a potential new client who was "unhappy with the services of their present LSP".

I perused the translation and told her it was MT. Of course, she asked me, "How can you be so sure?"

The explanation was easy. The source text said "TWETNY (sic! - my emphasis here) thousand dollars", and the translation into PT-BR was "TWETNY (ditto) mil dólares". Any dim-witted wannabe translator would have noticed the typo, and translated it into "VINTE" (20 in PT). Only machine translation would take it for a proper noun.

That prospect was trying to pull the wool over that PM's eyes, in an attempt to lure her into handling a translation job as a reviewing job, after it had been processed by free machine translation.


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 02:25
German to English
+ ...
It solves itself if you quote a per hour fee Jul 3, 2016

The first step is to make an estimate of how long it will take and therefore cost at your usual hourly rate, versus how much it would cost to translate it from scratch at your per word rate (probably a fraction of the hourly cost). Present these options to the end client. The usual thinking is that editing / revision etc. is a per word thing - say .03 / word versus .10 or more for translation, and therefore "cheaper".

I get similar when a bilingual client "pre-translates" a text for me in the hope of getting a substantial discount, when in fact these translations tend to be full of errors and poor syntax in most cases.


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guilhermesilva
Brazil
TOPIC STARTER
Sorry to read that Jul 3, 2016

yeah, looks like this is particularly more common in Brazil

[Edited at 2016-07-03 20:21 GMT]


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lundeghe
Cameroon
Local time: 08:25
French to English
Charge the normal price per word Jul 3, 2016

The same happened to me in 2011 when I was making my first move into the translation field.
A friend google-translated the abstract of his Master of Science thesis and brought it for me to edit.
In all honesty, he told me he had done so to reduce my work. However, it took me close to five hours to proofread the 250 word abstract. I suggest it is better to charge the client the normal fee for translation and if they insist, you just let them go.


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guilhermesilva
Brazil
TOPIC STARTER
Solved? Jul 5, 2016

So after kindly asking him to just send me the original, he just sent me his second job just as I asked. I took the opportunity to increase the value per word a bit and he didn't complain so far. I still think I'm not charging enough but then again, he could give up on me and keep pulling the old revision trick with a different translator every time (there's always gonna be some office out there that will fall for it)

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