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Proofreaders - sometimes they scare me
Thread poster: biankonera

biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 01:57
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
Dec 21, 2007

I sometimes get a feeling that proofreaders do nothing else but make up non existent errors in your translation just to create an impression that you have no clue what you're doing? Or perhaps they simply try to justify the money they are paid for this so called "job"?

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Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 17:57
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
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Everyone is a potential proofreader Dec 21, 2007

I would expect that any translator be asked to proofread, and almost certainly do it at some point. Anyhow, one important fact about proofreadres is that X number of them would make X number of changes to the same finished text. Also, proofreaders tend to make more changes to shorter texts. They may spend an hour proofreading a 10-word sentence and recast it completely, but may leave almost untouched a 20,000-word text. I have experienced it.

Regards,

Elías


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 19:57
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
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Moving this thread... Dec 21, 2007

... to the Proofreading forum

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Cristina Popescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:57
English to Romanian
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Proofreaders Dec 21, 2007

Bramasole, it's a bit offensive to call it a "so-called job". It's a job, all right. It's just that some people can do it well and some can't.
Apart from translation, I also have regular work as a proofreader and believe me, sometimes it's not an easy job. There's the problem of subjectivity and different personal styles that is sometimes hard to overcome.
As for Elias's observation, there's a theory that states that you tend to correct more mistakes in the first part of a text because the style seems foreign and unnatural. As you read through, you get familiar with the translator's style and you don't need to correct as much. Maybe that would be an explanation.


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biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 01:57
Italian to Latvian
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TOPIC STARTER
no offense intended Dec 21, 2007

Cristina Popa wrote:

Bramasole, it's a bit offensive to call it a "so-called job". It's a job, all right. It's just that some people can do it well and some can't.


I understand your point of view as a professional proofreader, but just as you said - some cant do it well (which is the case Im reffering to). I want to make it perfectly clear that I called it a "so called job" exactly due to the quality of a particular job and did NOT refer to proofreading in general, Cristina (I have nothing against proofreading and/or proofreaders). When a person makes up non existing errors - like deleting something in the original and then inserting the same thing again and announcing it as error - just to show in track-changes how bad the original translation supposedly is I see no way how I could possibly call it a proper, normal proofreading. I have no problems seeing when a proofreading has been done in a good, top quality way and I perfectly understand that a proofreader needs to adjust to translator's style and I have no problem with that. All I have problems with is when artificial errors are made up which gives me an impression that a person has only tried to create an illusion of work to justify the money earned.

Im sorry about this tirade but I just sort of feel a bit irritated about this one case and needed to let it out.


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Igor Indruch  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:57
English to Czech
I admire proofreaders Dec 21, 2007

I used to work with them a lot when translating books. In almost all cases it was good cooperation and proofreaders suggested some good ideas how to improve my translations.

On the other hand, I do accept proofreading jobs only very unwillingly. The reason is that there are just too many poor translators around. No proofreading job I did was "profitable". I spent so much time correcting mistakes and actually retranslating whole sections, that the final financial result was actually "bellow zero".


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Sara Mullin  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:57
Member (2007)
English to French
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Sometimes it's difficult to overcome stylistic differences Dec 21, 2007

Hi Bramasole,
I agree with the theory mentioned by Cristina, and I also think that some proofreaders stick with what they know. Maybe they aren't trying to make up errors to feel as though they've earned their money, perhaps they are just really used to their own style and it's not easy for them to accept someone else's. Which then begs the question of why they are proofreading, but that's another topic...

For example, I just had a translation reviewed by someone who made a lot of unnecessary changes (of course, in my opinion, and then the client agreed with me after I defended my choices), usually by choosing a synonym of the word that I had chosen, when either word was perfectly acceptible in the context of the text. And actually, his corrections were completely wrong in a few instances. At the end of the day, I was left with the feeling he made corrections based on how he/she would have written it him/herself.


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Capesha  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:57
Member (2006)
English to German
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we are a team and no competitors Dec 21, 2007

I also translate and do proof-reading.

Prepsently I have a project where 2 translators are working on the same project and I do the proof-reading.
It is a sensible subject, as there are two different styles and we have to decide for the same expressions.

For me, the job of the proof-reader is to help the translator, to find mistakes before the customer will find them.
I try to even improve the translation and not to destroy it.

I know, that there are some enthusiastic people in this job, who try to convert your whole job. You will find those people in every field of business....


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:57
Dutch to English
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So-called Dec 21, 2007

bramasole wrote:

I sometimes get a feeling that proofreaders do nothing else but make up non existent errors in your translation just to create an impression that you have no clue what you're doing? Or perhaps they simply try to justify the money they are paid for this so called "job"?


Then it would be better to refer to so-called proofreaders, rather than the so-called job, right?

Professional proofreaders, editors, reviewers, etc are worth their weight in gold.

But yes, there are those out there who haven't got a clue what they are doing, such as the so-called editor/proofreader/whatever who changed "pledgee" to "secured creditor" (as just one blatantly wrong example) throughout one of my legal texts last week.

Luckily the client, knowing I am a lawyer, smelled a rat and asked me to review the changes (for a fee of course). I must however say thank you for the one instance of "who" that was changed to "whom". That was indeed correct.

At the end of the day, even that small change improved the document.

[Edited at 2007-12-21 11:45]


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biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 01:57
Italian to Latvian
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TOPIC STARTER
true Dec 21, 2007

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

Professional proofreaders, editors, reviewers, etc are worth their weight in gold.



Absolutely! Professional proofreaders and editors can add necessary finishing touches to make the document be as a flawless diamond. But as I said before this was the case of creating non existing errors. And yes, I suppose you are right - I should have said "so called proofreader" instead of "so called proofreading" but that was how I felt at that moment in time. I refered to the particular job done by someone who has no clue what they were doing.


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 19:57
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
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So-called Dec 21, 2007

bramasole wrote:
Professional proofreaders and editors can add necessary finishing touches to make the document be as a flawless diamond. But as I said before this was the case of creating non existing errors. And yes, I suppose you are right - I should have said "so called proofreader" instead of "so called proofreading" but that was how I felt at that moment in time. I refered to the particular job done by someone who has no clue what they were doing.

Hi Bramasole
Thanks for bringing forward this issue.

Proofreading is an essential activity in our work. I always insist: "four eyes see more than just two". And four (or six, or eight...) professional eyes are much better - and efficient - than the best pair of professional eyes working all alone.

Pity that not everybody appreciates the labor of the proofreader.

That is part of our mission here: let's make proofreading be duly appreciated.


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Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:57
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
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The technique of proofreading Dec 21, 2007

A good proofreader should master the technique of proofreading or revising. While good translators do not necessarily make good revisers, good revisers should be excellent and experienced translators. Some say revising can reveal the true measure of competence of a translator.

I always approach revising (I do not normally just proofread) as team work and I have several rules: I do not make preferential changes unless specifically requested (i.e. some things can be expressed in more than one way and still be correct), I do not try to impose my own style on someone else's hard work, I try to communicate with the translator when possible, I always start my feedback by highlighting positive aspects. In many cases, I was very satisfied with the rapid improvement in translation quality as a result of such team work (and not just in other translators, I also think my own translation technique improved). In my experience, end clients appreciate the effort and the commitment to quality assurance.

Season's Greetings from Cluj-Napoca to everyone


[Editat la 2007-12-22 13:07]


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Claudio LR
Local time: 00:57
Member (2007)
English to Italian
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Sometimes proofreaders don't proofread themselves enough... Dec 21, 2007

I believe proofreading is an essential part of the translation process and that translation agencies which want to provide quality translations should always have translations proofread.
Having said this, it is true that some people consider that anything which they would have written themselves should be changed. According to my experience this is more the case of proofreaders who communicate the time they have spent on the job after it is done and that are paid accordingly.
Apart from this category of people, it is true that proofreaders tend to do at least one correction, even in short texts, not only to justify money earned but also because otherwise they have the feeling that the client could think their job was not accurate enough. It is a feeling I have felt myself and with time I have learned that texts can be returned to the client without corrections even if it is not exactly what we would have written. It is also a form of respect towards the translator, when the translation is of good quality.
The case of people creating mistakes while proofreading is not unusual according to my experience and it would be very important that proofreaders proofread their corrections (!) and do not change what they are not certain of. Just a few minutes ago an internal translator proofread a 800 word translation of mine and he/she only made 2 corrections , both creating mistakes, one of syntax with the rest of the sentence and one of meaning. Should the client complain about the general quality (they rarely go into details then they complain) of the text, be sure that I will have to bear a part of the fault...
A specific case is that of specialized texts. In this case the proofreader should be at least as specialized as the translator, which is not always the case. Often specialized agencies have freelancers who are (much) more specialized than their internal translators (it is more difficult to find a specialists working in-house, often depending on the location of the agency and because these translators know they can earn much more then their in-house colleagues... But, as is often the case, internal proofread freelancers, which sometimes leads to worsening the quality of the translation...


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Elisabete Cunha  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:57
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It's not easy to be a proofreader Dec 21, 2007

I've been assigned many proofreading jobs, sometimes including evaluation reports and from my point of view, a good proofreader does not necessarily "make up non existent mistakes" like someone here referred, in order to justify the money he/she is paid.

What I always try to do is to improve the text (if possible), by correcting possible grammar and syntax mistakes, but always keeping the style of the translator. A good proofreader is not necessarily someone who wants to criticize a colleague's work and make it seem that he/she is a bad translator. Not at all.

And this becomes even harder when you discover that you will have to proofread the work of someone who is a close friend of yours, for instance...tough job, believe me.


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