Duties of proofreader concerning original language text
Thread poster: Lozz
Lozz
Poland
Jul 16, 2016

Hello,

I have a question about the duties of a proofreader concerning the original untranslated text. But first a little background.

I am a freelance proofreader of English (native speaker). Although classed as a proofreader my work often extends to copy editing and editing - well as far as I can judge given the fluidity of the job descriptions.

I am fairly often given a copy of the untranslated original text along with the translated text for proofreading. Although I only know a little of the original language it is helpful in sorting out difficult sections. But I don't always need to use it.

In a recent text, I was informed by an agency that I work with that I had not corrected the title of a book - the translator had translated the title into English, whereas it should have been left in the original language (according to the agencies rules). This is something I had not come across before.

So my question is:
Is it normally within the duties of a proofreader to check names and titles against the original language text, given that a) I don't always receive a copy of the original, and b) I don't know the original language that well?

Observations and advice are greatly appreciated.


Regards
L


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You do need to be clearer Jul 16, 2016

I do pretty much the same job as you. But I always make it perfectly clear that the source is only to help me if there's ambiguity and that I won't even look at it if the English text makes sense. Hence it would not be my responsibility to check a grammatically correct title. Your job is very different from the one performed by a reviewer of the translation process. Are they expecting you to trap omissions too? That would be ridiculous!

Actually, when I took on a book translated from German I gave two prices - with and without the German text (a language I have studied). The author preferred to pay less so I just highlighted text that was unclear (for whatever reason) and she got those bits reviewed elsewhere. It was vastly cheaper for her than the fully bilingual review she had planned for (I saw some quotes and they were double mine, not surprisingly). Of course, she understands that there may be errors and omissions in the translation, but that's not my fault.

If an agency has a certain style, they need to tell you! Leaving a title untranslated is a decision taken at an earlier stage of the process, anyway.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:47
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
A proofreader's real duties Jul 16, 2016

Lozz wrote:

In a recent text, I was informed by an agency that I work with that I had not corrected the title of a book - the translator had translated the title into English, whereas it should have been left in the original language (according to the agencies rules). This is something I had not come across before.

So my question is:
Is it normally within the duties of a proofreader to check names and titles against the original language text, given that a) I don't always receive a copy of the original, and b) I don't know the original language that well?

Observations and advice are greatly appreciated.

Regards L


As a proofreader you don't work with the source text at all, although it is, of course, good to have it for the reasons already mentioned. So the answer to question a & b is no, especially when you don't know the source text language. (Seriously, what good would that do, if you had the source text?)

At the time you received the job, did the agency inform or remind you that titles were not to be changed but left in the original language? If not, well, then the fault lies with the agency. If yes, then you've overlooked it, and in this case the number 1 rule applies: proofreading does not include the source text.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:47
Member (2008)
French to English
Proofreading is normally monolingual Jul 16, 2016

You make it clear you are not a translator, so how can you be responsible for the translation?

In my understanding, a proofreader is responsible to find grammar/spelling errors, linguistic inconsistencies, etc., within the target text (monolingual), and is not responsible for the correctness of the translation.

A discussion on the differences was held at http://www.proz.com/forum/proofreading_editing_reviewing/247942-review_vs_proofreading_vs_editing.html

[Edited at 2016-07-16 12:49 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Lozz
Poland
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you. Jul 17, 2016

Thank you all for your clear and prompt replies.

You do need to be clearer

Thank you Sheila, something more to add to experience. I had never been asked to refer to the original text in this way so it had not occurred to me to bring it up with the agency (or any other clients). Now it is something I will be clarifying.

As a proofreader you don't work with the source text at all

Thayenga, thank you. Yes, this was also my general understanding – but what are seen as the duties of proofreaders these days is so broad that I just wanted to check on the general consensus.
At the time you received the job, did the agency inform or remind you that titles were not to be changed but left in the original language?

No they didn't. It was probably a case of misunderstanding, they thought I was aware of this, but I wasn't. I get on well with this agency and like working with them so I will talk with them an clarify expectations.

Proofreading is normally monolingual

Thanks John. This was also my general understanding, especially as I don't command enough of the language to be useful.

Thanks again for all our replies.
L


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 05:47
English to Croatian
+ ...
Reviewer vs. proofreader Jul 17, 2016

Agencies normally request bilingual review, while when it comes to proofreading, you are supposed check the monolingual copy only.

For obvious reasons, bilingual review is more expensive than proofreading. It seems to me your agency wants to receive bilingual review at the cost of proofreading? Or perhaps I misunderstood it.

As for the correctness, it is possible to check it by proofing the monolingual copy only, if you know what you are doing. When something is not correct, it will not make sense as you read it, ie. if there is anything mistranslated, it will reflect in the sense and flow of the target text.





[Edited at 2016-07-17 11:19 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:47
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
They were right if they told you Jul 17, 2016

If the client sent you the same rules as sent to the translator, then they were right that you should have seen in their rules that the title was to be left unchanged.

If the client did NOT send you the rules, then you are not responsible for the issue, as you did your duty of ensuring that the final text was all in good English (proofreading rarely includes checking the source language).


Direct link Reply with quote
 


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


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

Duties of proofreader concerning original language text

Advanced search







PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
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 »



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