Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Proofreading hopeless translations
Thread poster: xxxJon O
xxxJon O  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:26
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jan 1, 2007

I recently proofread a translation that was so bad that I regret taking the job on because it took so long to correct it. Would be interested to know how bad a translation has to be for you to refuse to proofread at the normal rate and demand more money or refuse the job outright.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 09:26
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Previewing First Jan 1, 2007

Hi Jon,
That is an invaluable experience for you. Next time, you should first preview the translation before accepting it. I always ask the potential client to send me the translation first for previewing, to examine the extent to which it can be categorised as rather good, bad, or very bad translation, prior to deciding to accept it or not, determining the possible time to proofread it, or suggesting the client to retranslate it.


[Edited at 2007-01-01 16:26]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
RHELLER
United States
Local time: 19:26
French to English
+ ...
ask to see the text before you accept Jan 1, 2007

is the only way I know of avoiding really bad situations.

Since I also do English editing, I like to have someone I can ask for clarification since I have no original text and need to be sure of exact meaning. That is a big help.

Good luck, Jon!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
To the Trash Jan 1, 2007

As Rita says, you need to see it first before giving a price. If it is fairly bad then all you can say is to throw it in the trash and start over again at your usual translation rate.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
The role of an editor or proofreader Jan 1, 2007

I've adopted a philosophy that was described in an ATA Chronicle article a year or two ago:

I explain to the client that the job of an editor or proofreader is to take a good translation – performed by a competent, qualified professional translator – and make it better.

Then I explain that for the present job, what they need is not an editor or proofreader but a translator, since fixing a bad translation takes at least as long as doing a proper one.

I end the message by enclosing my translation rates. Sometimes they go for it. If they don't, it's no problem since it's not worth my time to do those sorts of jobs.

Agreeing to fix horrible "translations" performed by people who have only a passing knowledge of the target language (or worse, gibberish generated by mediocre translation software) encourages a lack of respect for quality in translation. It also rewards clients for not hiring professionals in the first place, since the rates for editing and proofreading tend to be much lower than fees for translation.

[Edited at 2007-01-01 16:56]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 03:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
correcting bad translations Jan 1, 2007

I was recently badgered into taking on a job which involved reviewing/editing a short (2500 words) text. I made two crucial mistakes when I accepted this job: 1) agreeing to a per-word rather than hourly rate, and 2) assuming that the text had been translated by a professional translator (the one who talked me into taking the job). Turned out that it was translated by a Spanish speaker with only sketchy notions of English grammar, and it took me longer to correct the text than it would have to translate it from scratch. I pointed this out when I turned the job in and informed my translator colleague that I will no longer accept any reviewing/editing jobs for this client, period, except at my normal translation rate.

As others have told you, the only way to avoid situations like this is not to accept any jobs until you can look at the text and set a rate that will make it worth your while. I've sure learned my lesson.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:26
Portuguese to English
I'm with Cindy and Steven on this Jan 1, 2007

I may have been unlucky, but it seems to me that the majority of proofreading jobs are not "to take a good translation – performed by a competent, qualified professional translator – and make it better", to quote Steven. Rather, they are time-consuming and thankless tasks of virtually retranslating a poor text produced by a translator who is out of his/her depth.

One possible answer to this is to insist on charging a per hour rate (while being sure that your per hour rate truly reflects what you could earn translating from scratch at a per word rate). Of course, your customer has to have confidence that you are not going to 'load' the hours. At least that way you will be paid for the time you actually spend on the project. If revisers consistently did that, agencies would gradually get the message that it is better to employ a competent translator in the first place.

Alternatively, you may think that having poorly paid work when you are going through a slack period is better than cleaning the kitchen floor (a debatable point!).


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Tourists pleasuring themselves... Jan 1, 2007

lexical wrote:
Alternatively, you may think that having poorly paid work when you are going through a slack period is better than cleaning the kitchen floor (a debatable point!).


The last time I took that approach, I wound up proofing the "English" version of a tourist brochure that said something like "Visitors to the annual festival can pleasure themselves while walking up a street full of wine." After that, I pretty much swore off fixing English translations written by people with a deficient knowledge of the language.

[Edited at 2007-01-01 20:50]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
RHELLER
United States
Local time: 19:26
French to English
+ ...
sorry, I had to laugh Jan 1, 2007

sounds like a machine translation

I recently met a mother and daughter who informed me with a straight face that the 11-year-old daughter uses machine translators to do her Spanish homework!

It seems that the world has really changed.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 23:26
English to Spanish
Pervy teachers Jan 2, 2007

Steven Capsuto wrote:

The last time I took that approach, I wound up proofing the "English" version of a tourist brochure that said something like "Visitors to the annual festival can pleasure themselves while walking up a street full of wine."




I once read a translation that said "teachers must be good at getting their students aroused"...

Happy New Year!!!!

[Edited at 2007-01-02 01:10]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:26
Dutch to English
+ ...
Proofreading, Editing or Retranslation Jan 2, 2007

My approach

I have preconditions for accepting any proofreading and/or editing jobs. These are:

1. Translator must be working in his/her specialist field;

2. Translator must be a native speaker of the target language or, where the subject-matter is very specialised (i.e. in my line of work, certain legal academic texts), at near-native level.

My standing arrangement on receipt of the job (and before final acceptance):

1. I review it to determine whether the job is proofreading, editing or actually retranslation and charge a nominal fee for this review process.

2. I inform the agency what is needed and whether my proofreading rate or my editing rate will apply, backed up by a few examples. I personally do not like charging an hourly rate and my proofreading and editing rates are calculated differently to make sure I don't lose in terms of time spent on the job.

3. If retranslation is needed, I simply send the text back and refuse to do it under the guise of proofreading and/or editing.

My existing clients accept this and know that if a translation is excellent or good, I say so. Conversely if I say it needs retranslation, it's because it does. I have no need to create work as I'm fortunate enough to be constantly busy. I deal almost exclusively with legal texts and as a lawyer can also immediately identify whether I am faced with a genuine or self-professed legal translator.

If I have time in my schedule, I normally take on the retranslation at my normal translating rate, otherwise I ask them to reassign it and normally get the proofreading/editing at a later stage.

Finally, I refuse to take on any further jobs from the same "translator" again.

If more proofreaders/editors did the same, when justified, it would help weed out the (all too many) masqueraders in this business.





[Edited at 2007-01-02 07:29]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxJon O  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:26
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
it might have been a good translation, depends on what was being taught... Jan 2, 2007

Andrea Riffo wrote:

Steven Capsuto wrote:

The last time I took that approach, I wound up proofing the "English" version of a tourist brochure that said something like "Visitors to the annual festival can pleasure themselves while walking up a street full of wine."




I once read a translation that said "teachers must be good at getting their students aroused"...

Happy New Year!!!!

[Edited at 2007-01-02 01:10]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Vanessa Fuller
Finland
Local time: 04:26
English
+ ...
A recent disaster.... Jan 2, 2007

I recently had an experience that left me completely dumbfounded and utterly annoyed with the agency who contracted me to do an 'edit' of a translation.

They sent me 2 different texts, both translated into English by non-native speakers, and both with incredibly unrealistic deadlines. Because one text was more urgent than the other, I spent more time assessing the text and setting my rate and agreeing to their schedule than I normally would. Finished the first, sent it off, and then began the arduous task of 'fixing' the second. In short, it nearly killed me.

Rather being a 'simple' edit, the second text was about 80 to 90% re-translation. I made the deadline, and when I sent the text to them, stated that a) the original translation was useless; b) it took considerably more time and effort to complete; and c) consequently the original rate was unacceptable and I was increasing my rate. The work was given to me late on Thursday, and I did not start on the second piece until Saturday (b/c of the first deadline of Friday and due to other pending work).

What ensued was outrageous at best. The agency representative stated that 'it wasn't my problem that the original text was useless. Your job was to edit.' Given that she had admittedly no knowledge of English and she could not judge the quality of the translation into English or the amount of work it took to complete, she also accused me of being highly unprofessional and 'working slowly'. Many other unpleasantries were exchanged, and at the point, I decided to never work with that particular agency again.

In the end, she apologized profusely for the 'misunderstanding', and after speaking with both her client and the director of the agency, admitted that she was in the wrong. I was paid less than what I would have liked, but was also told that in the future, she would give me more time and less pressure when I was evaluating texts, and if I should receive such a translation/text for editing again, they would pay me a rate that I felt was more appropriate.

I learned a valuable lesson -- one which I knew, but under pressure from a client, did not strictly adhere to. Regardless of time constraints from clients to do the impossible, I will certainly carefully and thoroughly evaluate any document I am sent before agreeing to do it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Cecilia Di Vita  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:26
English to Italian
+ ...
my 2 cents Jan 2, 2007

I recently accepted a proofreading assignment from one of my customers who usually sends me only translation jobs. I had a quick look at the translation, which seemed quite good at the beginning, and proposed my per word rate (which was quite high, to be honest...).

However, the translation (about 7000 words) turned out to be a complete disaster. It was clearly done by a non-expert in that field (software), who did not even take a look at the reference material (some famous and widespread glossaries, at least among professional translators) and who probably didn't have a good command of the Italian language (lots of grammatical errors especially towards the end of the text).

Result = I spent like two days editing this translation. It would have taken me less to translate it from scratch. I pointed this out to the agency, and they thanked me for this.

However, as some of you already said in this thread, I won't accept proofreading assignments on a per word rate, because that's too risky. I'll definitely go for a per hour rate...

Good luck to all of you,

Cecilia


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:26
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
my 2 cts 2 Jan 3, 2007

Hi there,

it seems we all receive one of these jobs once in a while, and to be able to cope with substandard work you should make clear agreements with your clients

- ask to see the original and translation first (the agency will always claim the translation was done by a professional in the field, but sometimes even professionals can have a bad day, or a hopeless deadline)

- do not set a word rate, but agree on a hour rate, with an expected number of hours. (this gives you a variable price)

- as soon as you approach the estimated number of hours, or you notice the quality is not as good as you expected immediately contact the agency and inform them.

With these simple steps you can save yourself a lot of trouble and come to a mutual acceptable solution with the client.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


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


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

Proofreading hopeless translations

Advanced search







WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



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