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Do you work with a proofreader?
Thread poster: Gregory Lassale

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:01
Member (2019)
English to French
Nov 21, 2018

How many of you regularly (or occasionally) have your translations proofread by another linguist?

I've been asked if I do by several agency during the online application process.

If you do have someone proofread your translations, how does compensation work? Surely you can't pay them the same proofreading rate amount you would charge a client yourself, else that would slash your translation income quite significantly. Or is it more of a moneyless buddy system where you
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How many of you regularly (or occasionally) have your translations proofread by another linguist?

I've been asked if I do by several agency during the online application process.

If you do have someone proofread your translations, how does compensation work? Surely you can't pay them the same proofreading rate amount you would charge a client yourself, else that would slash your translation income quite significantly. Or is it more of a moneyless buddy system where you proof someone's work and they proof yours, kind of thing? But that would seem weird as it requires time and can be lopsided if one of the linguists gets more work than the other...

Looking for input there. Thanks in advance for the help!

GL
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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 18:01
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
NO Nov 21, 2018

I review / proofread my own translation thourougly before delivering. I might miss something though, a comma, a space, who knows?
Many clients have the translation proofread by an independent translator or send me other translators' work for proofreading. Of course that is extra charge.


Philippe Etienne
Vera Schoen
 

Paula Graf  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:01
Member (2018)
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Always Nov 21, 2018

I have native friends in every language I work with, and they make for me the proofreading. Even in the languages in which I am bilingual (4 eyes see more than 2). For me it is very important to deliver translations without errors. I pay them 15 to 30% of the amount I get, depending if they will have more work, normally in the languages I'm not native. The payments are made when it reaches at least 50 euros. I hope I could help you! I wish you a lot of well payed work!... See more
I have native friends in every language I work with, and they make for me the proofreading. Even in the languages in which I am bilingual (4 eyes see more than 2). For me it is very important to deliver translations without errors. I pay them 15 to 30% of the amount I get, depending if they will have more work, normally in the languages I'm not native. The payments are made when it reaches at least 50 euros. I hope I could help you! I wish you a lot of well payed work!Collapse


 

Heike Holthaus  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:01
Member (2012)
German to English
+ ...
Yes, but billing for it Nov 21, 2018

Most of my agency clients engage their own proofreaders. If I am asked to provide that service, I charge the agency, what the proofreader charges me.

Melanie Meyer
Walter Landesman
Robert Rietvelt
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:01
Member (2008)
Italian to English
No... Nov 21, 2018

Q. Do you work with a proofreader?
A. No; having spent many stressful years coordinating my work with others and working in big teams, I now have the pleasure of working alone without needing to coordinate with anyone (except, of course, my clients). I wouldn't have it any other way. Peace and quiet, no hassle, no time-wasting. Anyway my clients always check everything (of course) but there are almost never any queries.

If I were to proofread for someone else I would probably
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Q. Do you work with a proofreader?
A. No; having spent many stressful years coordinating my work with others and working in big teams, I now have the pleasure of working alone without needing to coordinate with anyone (except, of course, my clients). I wouldn't have it any other way. Peace and quiet, no hassle, no time-wasting. Anyway my clients always check everything (of course) but there are almost never any queries.

If I were to proofread for someone else I would probably make their life hell



[Edited at 2018-11-21 17:15 GMT]
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Walter Landesman
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:01
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Not for agency clients, no Nov 21, 2018

Gregory Lassale wrote:
I've been asked if I do by several agency during the online application process.

It's an agency's job to arrange the final proofreading and therefore take a share of the responsibility. Why do their job for them? At the very least I'd want to make some money to compensate for the trouble - and risk - of paying to get it proofread, which would make my rate unattractive. OTOH, I do ask my direct clients if they would like to arrange for proofreading, making it clear that I believe it's necessary to have a second person read the target text - just in case. They normally reply that they'd like to be invoiced for just the translation. In that case, they understand that they bear responsibility for any little typos I might have overlooked. Of course, I'd always assume at least partial responsibility for any really dire mistake, whoever the client was.


Philippe Etienne
Walter Landesman
Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Ester Vidal
Otha Nash
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
NO: there're no limits to perfection Nov 21, 2018

Working in a team we used to cross-check and proofread each other, yet agencies and big clients preferred to save some costs for this rather thankless job and had their own proofreader, rewording, restyling, and making minor changes and preferences.

However, some last six years I often got jobs to translate/proofread "as is"--without political correctness or diplomacy, close to the original.


 

Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 22:01
English to Italian
+ ...
Yes, quarterly Nov 21, 2018

I do it as a quality control procedure.

Every three months I have one of my jobs, which are always accurately proofread, checked by a colleague at their usual rate. It takes about 1-2% of my budget.

The feedback I get is often useful and has helped me provide a higher-quality product.


 

Colleen Roach, PhD  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:01
Member (2019)
French to English
+ ...
Working with a proofreader Nov 21, 2018

Gregory: I basically agree with those who do their own proofreading. There are a number of reasons for this, the first one being that if you bring someone else on board, it can complicate the final delivery of the product. What if someone does your proofreading but you look at some parts of a document and don't agree with what he or she has corrected? This can definitely happen, whether it's the placement of a comma, a colon, need for a new sentence, etc. Then you've just introduced a new compl... See more
Gregory: I basically agree with those who do their own proofreading. There are a number of reasons for this, the first one being that if you bring someone else on board, it can complicate the final delivery of the product. What if someone does your proofreading but you look at some parts of a document and don't agree with what he or she has corrected? This can definitely happen, whether it's the placement of a comma, a colon, need for a new sentence, etc. Then you've just introduced a new complication that can delay final delivery of the document.

Having said this, I once worked in a college that put out a LOT of printed materials (a magazine, press releases, ad copy, brochures, etc.) As we had a large staff, whenever it was possible the writers and editors in the department did give their work to someone else to take a "final look." This was definitely beneficial for the final "product."

There are all sorts of tips that people have given for proofreading your own work you can find online. Here are the tips that have worked the best for me. First, walk away from your work for as long as possible before final delivery. If you can put aside a document you have just translated and proofread, walk away from it for a day if you can. You'd be amazed at the mistakes you might find after time away from the text. If you don't have a day to "walk away," then walk away for an hour or two. But definitely build that "walk away" time into your work process. This is something else I've learned over the years, the first time being when I worked as a proofreader for a while with a printing company that produced financial documents for Wall St. firms. The chief proofreader always reminded us to ONLY make changes when really necessary, the reason being that when you make a change, you increase substantially the chances of introducing a new error that is much worse than what you were supposedly "correcting." This is because many people, in making a "correction," forget to change the original sentence (or phrase) to match the new correction. When you read an article online or in print where there is a GLARING grammatical error, this is often because what I just described has happened: a proofreader (or copy editor) decided to make a correction in a text but forgot to go back and change the original sentence (or phrase) to "match" the new correction.

[Edited at 2018-11-21 22:50 GMT]
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Walter Landesman
Josephine Cassar
Agneta Pallinder
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:01
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Nov 21, 2018

I have an arrangement with two trusted colleagues (I worked in-house for 20 years with one of them) where we proofread each other's work (mostly work done for direct clients). So far, it has worked quite well as a moneyless system but we keep track of the number of hours spent…

P.S. Quality-wise, it's the BEST decision I've ever made...


Viviane Marx
 

Daniela Rueda  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:01
English to Spanish
Almost always Nov 22, 2018

I always try to do the best translation possible, however is always posible that you overlook a comma or a misspel word.
When working with clients I do it as a quality procedure and also ask translator friends to review my work, however for agencies, they hire their own proof readers and distribute the work as they see accordingly.
Best of luck


 

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:01
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Exactly Nov 22, 2018

Colleen Roach, Ph.D. wrote:

There are all sorts of tips that people have given for proofreading your own work you can find online. Here are the tips that have worked the best for me. First, walk away from your work for as long as possible before final delivery. If you can put aside a document you have just translated and proofread, walk away from it for a day if you can. You'd be amazed at the mistakes you might find after time away from the text. If you don't have a day to "walk away," then walk away for an hour or two. But definitely build that "walk away" time into your work process.

Yes, exactly, in fact the translation training centre I did my translation training with (Suzanne James' Translator Training) recommends you get used to doing this. There are other things you can do too-read backwards, read target text on its own without reference to source text, then with reference to source text, read to check for grammar mistakes,for typos, etc.
This is something else I've learned over the years, the first time being when I worked as a proofreader for a while with a printing company that produced financial documents for Wall St. firms. The chief proofreader always reminded us to ONLY make changes when really necessary, the reason being that when you make a change, you increase substantially the chances of introducing a new error that is much worse than what you were supposedly "correcting." This is because many people, in making a "correction," forget to change the original sentence (or phrase) to match the new correction. When you read an article online or in print where there is a GLARING grammatical error, this is often because what I just described has happened: a proofreader (or copy editor) decided to make a correction in a text but forgot to go back and change the original sentence (or phrase) to "match" the new correction.

[Edited at 2018-11-21 22:50 GMT]

In fact, an online course with ITI recommended exactly this. You find it strange at first but it makes perfect sense. I think you can learn a lot from a proofreader-and I would certainly like to try out what Daniel Frisano said but I would have to find a good proofreader and not just one that makes changes-sometimes, preferential ones-and who provides reasons for them too.


Colleen Roach, PhD
 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 07:01
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
For directs clients only Nov 22, 2018

If an agency asks for TEP services, I always reply that my rate is X for translation + Y for proofreading or Z for editing completed by an independent professional reviewer.

 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 00:01
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
I proofread my own work Nov 22, 2018

I am a good enough translator in my areas of specialization and I invest a good deal of time and effort into researching before starting on a translation.
In my experience, proofreaders do little more than altering (or rather undermining) one's style by changing the sentences with their preferred wording and terminology which have no bearing whatsoever on the subject matter and context while making little to no changes to punctuation and grammar.
To answer your question with a ques
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I am a good enough translator in my areas of specialization and I invest a good deal of time and effort into researching before starting on a translation.
In my experience, proofreaders do little more than altering (or rather undermining) one's style by changing the sentences with their preferred wording and terminology which have no bearing whatsoever on the subject matter and context while making little to no changes to punctuation and grammar.
To answer your question with a question of my own, why should I pay someone that will undermine my style by imposing their own style?
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Axel Dittmer
Tom in London
Arkadiusz Jasiński
 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:01
English to Latvian
+ ...
not when working for agencies Nov 22, 2018

Discussing yours translations with an editor/proofreader is the best thing with regards to quality and professional development. That was the standard way how translations were done at in-house. It is well known that we become blind to our own mistakes and fresh look is certainly recommended. But a proofreader can also introduce more mistakes and discussion is the best way how to deal with this. Often it can reveal issues that no one had noticed before.

The lack of any serious discu
... See more
Discussing yours translations with an editor/proofreader is the best thing with regards to quality and professional development. That was the standard way how translations were done at in-house. It is well known that we become blind to our own mistakes and fresh look is certainly recommended. But a proofreader can also introduce more mistakes and discussion is the best way how to deal with this. Often it can reveal issues that no one had noticed before.

The lack of any serious discussion between translator and editor/proofreader in agency model is very unfortunate. I miss that most from my in-house days. Understandably, it is mostly due to difficulty with coordination. Another reason is that we all have our egos and are sensitive to criticism and agencies don't want to be involved in all this human drama. The downside is that it has an impact on translator professional reputation. No wonder that there is such a pressure on translation rates.

I think that those who work with proofreaders privately are very lucky indeed. It may be hard to justify from a business point of view if you work with an agency because the agency is not likely to pay you more. ISO 17100 actually requires an agency to use a second reviewer, and it may also be assumed that a translator is not allowed to sub-contract and that may include your own proofreader. It may sound strange but it makes sense because the agency has no information about the qualifications of the unmentioned proofreader and that is a problem in quality assurance.
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