Translation and proofreading of the same document
Thread poster: Subhan Fakhrizada

Subhan Fakhrizada  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:24
English to Pashto (Pushto)
+ ...
Oct 3, 2007

Hi there,

Recently i was translating a large user manual for a translation agency. I had completed 8 chapters and still 2 more to left.

At that time, i was approached by another agency, requesting to proofread a manual. After negotiating the price, i agreed, and was send the first document to be proofed for error, spelling, etc.

When i read the document, i found that it was the same document i have translated. I just thought for a few minutes, and the replied to the agencies, explaining the situation and that ethically i do not see it 'fit' to proofread the same document that i have translated.

The never replied!

Did i do something wrong? What should be done in situations like this?



Elisabete Cunha  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:24
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I would have done pretty much the same :-) Oct 3, 2007

I would have done the same, because to me this doesn't make any sense. I mean, would you be willing to point out your own mistakes, if you spotted them?
Besides, if the agency who gave you the translation and the one that gave you the proofreading found out, what would they think? I wouldn't risk to be in a situation like this, it just doesn't seem honest from my point of view.


Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:24
English to German
+ ...
What else could you do? Oct 3, 2007

It is strange that they did not answer, because they at least should confirm that they agree and let you out of the contract.
Otherwise you have no way to know if they received your answer and do not expect you to do the job for them any longer.

If you informed them by email I would call them and ask if they received your reply and if it was agreed that you should not do this and ask them for a short written confirmation.

Sometimes emails get lost on the web and it would not be nice if your client did not receive your reply and is now still waiting for the proofread document.

I would really insist on receiving an answer. Maybe for now they are just concentrating their efforts on finding someone else for proofreading but they should still send you a written reply!


Taylor Kirk  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:24
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I feel the exact same way. Oct 3, 2007

I do not feel comfortable translating and proofing the same doc because one pair of eyes will process information essentially the same way.


Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:24
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Agree with the others Oct 4, 2007

One thing I'm not quite clear on: Was the document you were asked to proof your translation or someone else's translation of the manual? If it was someone else's, you might point out to Agency B that at least one other version of this manual exists that you're aware of. If it's yours, you could point out to Agency A that Agency B got a copy of your text.
But I think you handled it fine.


Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:24
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
You did the right thing Oct 4, 2007

Taylor Kirk wrote:

I do not feel comfortable translating and proofing the same doc because one pair of eyes will process information essentially the same way.

I agree with all answerers. A good client of mine recently asked me to proofread a document I had already translated. I pointed out that of course I check through my own work as carefully as time allows before sending it and that the point of proofreading is to have at least one other person check it.
What else could you have done? I also agree that you should try to make sure they received your answer. Try telephoning them if possible.
Kind regards,


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:24
English to French
+ ...
You did the right thing - the agency, on the other hand, didn't Oct 4, 2007

I think you chose the most ethical course of action possible. However, you could have chosen to pretend it was somebody else's translation and done the job. You displayed honesty - and the agency simply didn't reply. I am not sure they realize you could have done it differently, which could have affected the quality of the document. I just find it strange they didn't say anything - after all, you did take the time to quote them and reserve time in your schedule for the job, which could have led to you missing out on other contracts (I understand the size of the document would have required several days of your time).

I also agree it may be a good thing to check if they have received your communication.

I am not saying they should have praised you for it - but "Thanks for your time and interest" wouldn't have been such a big effort either...

[Edited at 2007-10-04 07:24]


Rahi Moosavi  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:24
Member (2004)
Farsi (Persian) to English
+ ...
Offer them an alternative Oct 5, 2007

I've been in that situation more than once.

I totally agree with being honest with the client and informing them that you have been the original translator. On the other hand - in order to secure the proofing job to some extent - I always offer clients that I could have the document proofed for them by an independant linguist and even produce the full contact details of that person if they want.

This strategy never failed me, clients liked my honesty and also gave me the proofing job which I outsourced to fellow linguists. After a couple of times, some of them are giving translation+3rd party proofing from the start of the job. Just make sure your fellow proofreader doesn't discriminate and treats the work fairly just like any other job coming from other clients.

[Edited at 2007-10-05 05:43]


Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:24
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Moving this thread... Oct 7, 2007

... to Proofreading forum


MariusV  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
haha :) Oct 9, 2007

I had a very similar situation already. I have one client with whom we work for many years. They wrote me an email asking to make a test translation for one of their new clients (a serious end client). They managed to convince me to do it on a friendly basis as for an old good client. I did the job, sent it to them. When doing that test, I received a couple of new emails. Just did not read them because was working hard on that test an decided to read these emails when I finish the test translation. OK, sent the test, opened the newly received emails - one more email asking to do a test translation (from another agency from the same country) - OK, opened the attached text and...Well, started wondering as why I cannot read it in MS Word and why I did not close in MS Word the source text of the previous text translation...And bingo! - I was soon to realise that I really closed the MS Word source file of the previous test translation and that the text I was then looking into was the text of the NEW test translation. OK, started laughing and went to make a cup of coffee. And bingo - a couple of new emails came soon. One was requesting a proofreading. Opened the text...Well, it appeared to be my first test translation...

To be fair - I did both test texts without even telling nothing to the 2nd client, and proofread my own translation finding just some very minor things to be "corrected". THE INTERESTING PLACE of the story - the 1st test translation passed, and the 2nd test translation DID NOT pass "the quality assurance procedures" (the texts were actually IDENTICAL)...

It once again shows how "effective" the test translations are to determine the quality of the translationicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2007-10-09 20:25]

[Edited at 2007-10-09 20:26]


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