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unjustifiable criticism of translations done by other translators
Thread poster: Ata Arif

Ata Arif  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:00
Member (2009)
Kurdish to English
+ ...
Sep 28, 2016

Dear Colleagues
This is the third or fourth time I get very negative and unjustifiable criticism when my work is sent to one specific translator for proofreading. when I get a new client and they want to test my translation I get very unjustifiable track changing from that translator and as the client has no way to understand the language they become upset in the first place. So far I won my fight every time when my work is sent to a third party for moderation but it is very annoying and time consuming.
he simply goes on every single word and make changes e.g.(as if it was English):
Two= twice- two times
Once= one time
Great= countless= uncountable= enormous etc.

I am a very busy translator and usually run from work not running after work but my big concern is my reputation as a professional translator for nearly three decades.
my question is that what is the best way to make him stop this behaviour while I exactly know who he is.


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xxxIlan Rubin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 23:00
Russian to English
Easy... Sep 28, 2016

Ata Arif wrote:
my question is that what is the best way to make him stop this behaviour while I exactly know who he is.


Go round to his house, beat him with a baseball bat and tell him next time you'll burn his house down if he doesn't stop


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Ata Arif  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:00
Member (2009)
Kurdish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
not in Russian Federation Sep 28, 2016

the issue is that he is not in the Russian Federation!

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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:00
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Well... Sep 28, 2016

If you know who they are, and since you say that their reviews have been overturned each single time by a second reviewer, you might as well contact them directly and try to reason with them... no?

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:00
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Client's problem Sep 29, 2016

From your examples, it seems as if the proofreader is editing instead of proofreading. If the client is aware of the problem, could you not ask him not to send your work to that particular proofreader anymore?

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Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 23:00
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Depending on the situation... Sep 29, 2016

Ata Arif wrote:

Dear Colleagues
This is the third or fourth time I get very negative and unjustifiable criticism when my work is sent to one specific translator for proofreading. when I get a new client and they want to test my translation I get very unjustifiable track changing from that translator and as the client has no way to understand the language they become upset in the first place. So far I won my fight every time when my work is sent to a third party for moderation but it is very annoying and time consuming.
he simply goes on every single word and make changes e.g.(as if it was English):
Two= twice- two times
Once= one time
Great= countless= uncountable= enormous etc.

I am a very busy translator and usually run from work not running after work but my big concern is my reputation as a professional translator for nearly three decades.
my question is that what is the best way to make him stop this behaviour while I exactly know who he is.


Reviewing or proofreading is a difficult skill to master and entails some specific techniques that are different from translating. Not all translators make good proofreaders.
How to deal with this situation depends on the workflow used (if the proofreader has to motivate the changes or not, if the proofreading comes back to you for validation or not, if you can only arbitrate and there is an extra step to revert the changes).

First of all, I would not take this personally or as criticism. In some cases, the proofreader is simply selected based on rate.

Tina's suggestion is valid as well.
I would suggest to stick to facts and avoid infinite discussions on nuances that your PMs might not understand or care about. Facts would be: glossaries, TMs, style guides, instructions, specialized terminology, dictionaries, grammar that you can link to. Keep your comments short, factual and objective, provide 1-2 links to references to prove your point, don't get personal.

In some cases, it might be possible to provide feedback on the work of the proofreader, I usually include a short comment stating that the proofreader provided useful suggestions to improve the text. If the proofreader's work was not that good, I provide short feedback, 2-3 factual sentences: does not follow glossary, does not follow instructions, does not follow style guides, made inconsistent changes, introduced spelling/grammar errors etc. You can also include a couple of examples, but don't go overboard.

Another course of action would be to contact the proofreader and appeal to his sense of solidarity. This may not work, but you can phrase your message in a neutral way. I have used this strategy sometimes with good results. Just simply write a very short message asking him/her if it would be possible to reach common ground and stop wasting both your time. I am usually pretty straightforward and write that I have a huge amount of work and cannot afford to waste time on unnecessary unpaid work and would rather focus on paid work.

Good luck to you.


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Amarda
Albania
Local time: 22:00
Albanian to English
+ ...
It's true that most proofreaders tend to find minor useless suggestions to improve the translated te Sep 29, 2016

Cristiana Coblis wrote:

Ata Arif wrote:

Dear Colleagues
This is the third or fourth time I get very negative and unjustifiable criticism when my work is sent to one specific translator for proofreading. when I get a new client and they want to test my translation I get very unjustifiable track changing from that translator and as the client has no way to understand the language they become upset in the first place. So far I won my fight every time when my work is sent to a third party for moderation but it is very annoying and time consuming.
he simply goes on every single word and make changes e.g.(as if it was English):
Two= twice- two times
Once= one time
Great= countless= uncountable= enormous etc.

I am a very busy translator and usually run from work not running after work but my big concern is my reputation as a professional translator for nearly three decades.
my question is that what is the best way to make him stop this behaviour while I exactly know who he is.


Reviewing or proofreading is a difficult skill to master and entails some specific techniques that are different from translating. Not all translators make good proofreaders.
How to deal with this situation depends on the workflow used (if the proofreader has to motivate the changes or not, if the proofreading comes back to you for validation or not, if you can only arbitrate and there is an extra step to revert the changes).

First of all, I would not take this personally or as criticism. In some cases, the proofreader is simply selected based on rate.

Tina's suggestion is valid as well.
I would suggest to stick to facts and avoid infinite discussions on nuances that your PMs might not understand or care about. Facts would be: glossaries, TMs, style guides, instructions, specialized terminology, dictionaries, grammar that you can link to. Keep your comments short, factual and objective, provide 1-2 links to references to prove your point, don't get personal.

In some cases, it might be possible to provide feedback on the work of the proofreader, I usually include a short comment stating that the proofreader provided useful suggestions to improve the text. If the proofreader's work was not that good, I provide short feedback, 2-3 factual sentences: does not follow glossary, does not follow instructions, does not follow style guides, made inconsistent changes, introduced spelling/grammar errors etc. You can also include a couple of examples, but don't go overboard.

Another course of action would be to contact the proofreader and appeal to his sense of solidarity. This may not work, but you can phrase your message in a neutral way. I have used this strategy sometimes with good results. Just simply write a very short message asking him/her if it would be possible to reach common ground and stop wasting both your time. I am usually pretty straightforward and write that I have a huge amount of work and cannot afford to waste time on unnecessary unpaid work and would rather focus on paid work.

Good luck to you.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:00
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Same agency but different end clients, I presume? Sep 29, 2016

Ata Arif wrote:
This is the third or fourth time I get very negative and unjustifiable criticism when my work is sent to one specific translator for proofreading. when I get a new client and they want to test my translation I get very unjustifiable track changing from that translator and as the client has no way to understand the language they become upset in the first place. So far I won my fight every time when my work is sent to a third party for moderation but it is very annoying and time consuming.

I'm a little confused about how this can happen, but I suppose it can if the same agency is your contact each time. But in that case, what is the agency doing, sticking with a proofreader who's been proved several times to be doing a poor job? That's a matter I'd be taking up with the agency.

There are several "depends" of course, some of which have been mentioned. I would add that if you're translating out of your native language and the proofreader is a native speaker of the target language, then those changes may be justifiable. It's a job I do all the time and I know that very often changes have to be made at the synonym level due to the register or a collocation, or simply because it "sounds more natural" that way. The last one is a difficult call as I can't justify it, but they aren't really preferential changes.


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Ata Arif  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:00
Member (2009)
Kurdish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I translate into my native lnaguage Sep 29, 2016

dear All
Thank you for your valuable advice and comments
I translate into my native language
the English words are just an example of things everyone can do with a right click! and show up as track changed corrections to someone who cannot read that text.

It is not the same agency, but it looks like they search for a proofreader and he comes as the first choice for some reason.

I have been in this profession for long enough to distinguish and non professional approach from a professional one.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:00
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Things are so different in other pairs Sep 29, 2016

Ata Arif wrote:
It is not the same agency, but it looks like they search for a proofreader and he comes as the first choice for some reason.

Oh, weird! That would "never" happen in French to English (although it probably has on rare occasions).

Maybe you need to specify when you do the test that you don't want it proofread by Xyz as you've had issues in the past? Not sure whether it would be a good idea though.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 22:00
English to Croatian
+ ...
Over-reviewing. Sep 29, 2016

Knowing how to review is not only knowing what and how to change, but also when and whether to change at all. In other words, a reviewer needs to have a good ability to estimate when something needs to be changed and when not, need to know how to follow the unique translator's writing and language style, while focusing on semantic errors first and foremost.

If that's the client's preferred proofreader (for whatever reason), I doubt you can do anything about it. You may only drop the client, if that's bothering you a lot and/or taking up too much of your time and energy.

@Sheila, I don't think it's out of the OP's native language, as he stated in his examples "e.g.(as if it was English)", which means his examples are just parallels in English for us to understand the editing style.





[Edited at 2016-09-29 10:29 GMT]


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Ata Arif  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:00
Member (2009)
Kurdish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I agree with you Sep 29, 2016

I know because there are not so many translators in my pair as French!
I thought about it but the agency sent me 6000+ words and did not mention test or anything.
I did interpreting for them but it was first translation job with them.
it looks like they just wanted to double check but it went wrong way.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 22:00
English to Croatian
+ ...
Preferential changes. Sep 29, 2016

In my experience as a second proofreader, I noticed a trend among editors who do a huge number of preferential changes. Well guess what, they tend to skip or overlook obvious and serious semantic errors, maybe because they are so immersed in trying to change every correct word into its synonym.

Example: I had a task to perform a second/control proofreading of a text. The first reviewer changed almost the whole text, eg. comma missing, synonym here, synonym there. 30 pages where almost every line was crossed out with minor or preferential changes. Interestingly enough, they failed to spot a critical semantic error that could have caused a serious trouble and loss for the client. How could this happen and why? I know the answer.

Aside from that, everyone who knows even the basics of how content works will know that it is virtually impossible for a text to be that bad that every other word needs a change (that's not possible at all), in case of human translation by a native speaker. There is a dynamic and anticipated error frequency that is realistically possible.

[Edited at 2016-09-29 10:43 GMT]


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Stepan Konev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 23:00
English to Russian
How do different clients manage to select same proofreader? Sep 29, 2016

First, I supposed the same as Sheila did (agency as a point of contact), but you say it is not your case.
It sounds like he/she is a public prosecutor but not a proofreader (unique in your community) And how do you know that your clients always contact the same proofreader? Do they give you his/her direct phone number or email?
If yes, why not try to talk to him/her?


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:00
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Identifying the proofreader Sep 29, 2016

On rare occasions, I have been able to identify a proofreader from the small yellow proofreader's notes "sticker" which appears in the proofread text and, when clicked on, gives the proofreader's initials after that person's comment. This particular translator/proofreader has unusual initials, contributes to Proz forums quite often and has been assigned to proofread my translations (rather annoyingly) more than once.
Usually, of course, one has no idea who is proofreading one's work, what that person's qualifications are or how he/she is selected.


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