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Proofreading a translation and replacing a term in the original with one that is incorrect!
Thread poster: liz askew
liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:39
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Mar 14, 2008

Hello,

What do you do when you know that a translation you have completed is correct in its use of a particular term (especially when you have researched the term on academic sites in the same field and checked this with other translators) and yet the corrector/proofreader has changed it so that it is incorrect??

I am baffled.

Liz Askew


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:39
French to English
Provide justification to the client Mar 14, 2008

Provide justification of your choice to the client, and don't get upset

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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:39
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Proofreading a translation and replacing a term in the original with one that is incorrect! Mar 14, 2008

Thank you for your reply, Lori.

I have done just that, even sending in the academic reference to the client!

I don't really have time for this though...

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.


Liz


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CristinaPereira  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:39
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Tell the client Mar 14, 2008

I'm assuming the client sent you back the proofread translation.

I always tell the client and have had so far two different types of responses:

1- They tell me they trust me and I can accept/reject changes;

2- They don't even mention it (I suspect it's the client's client instructions, but I'm not sure). Last time this happened, it was grammar mistakes, but the client just ignored my comments.

In the end, "the customer is king", so they can do whatever they want after I warned them, as far as I'm concerned.

Have a nice weekend,

Cristina


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:39
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Tell the client Mar 14, 2008

Sure,

I take your point.

Maybe it is just a question of "take your money and run", as really this is what rules the day, not accuracy and diligence!

I won't letter it bother me any more.

Ah, the weekend is upon us!

Great!

Bye
Liz


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
LET THEM... Mar 15, 2008

Translate the document on their own, next time, if they think they know so much....about the business...

And when they come back to you saying "Hey, this isn't right! Do it again, but right this time!! Well, then in that case you can (quite rightly say 'I knew best, but no one listened'...), not feel the slightest bit of guilt, because YOU did it the way YOU thought was appropriate, yes?

So, you still get paid for your effort, and if someone wants to "butcher" it, then it's not your issue...or what?


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:39
French to English
What she said ! Mar 15, 2008

Lori Cirefice wrote:

Provide justification of your choice to the client, and don't get upset


Although get upset if you want !

And yet, one minor proviso, if I may.
The fact you had to research it would tend to suggest it was not something you actually really knew before hand.
Although I'm sure you were utterly diligent and so on, one should always be aware that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and that it is not entirely inconceivable that the proof-reader knows more about it than you do.

It doesn't sound like it here, but I would always check a correction before going off the deep end, j-u-s-t- in case....

But otherwise, yes, I just demonstrate that there is justification for term I used. I (try to) never insist I'm right, just point out that my choice was not unreasonable, random, or just made up. Up to client to take it or leave it.


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:39
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What she said Mar 15, 2008

Charlie,

Any decent translator always researches terminology. I have never in my life as a translator done a translation yet that did not require good research in order to get the best translation....

And I only challenge a proofreader when they have definitely got it wrong!, based on scientific evidence;;) and the opinion of an expert translator who has worked in this field (who I checked with).

Liz Askew


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xxxAdrian MM.
Local time: 10:39
French to English
+ ...
Tell us what the change is Mar 15, 2008

You can tell us the term changed without compromising confidentiality and revealing the client or project. Then let us judge.

You may get egg on your face if you loudly protest your disclaimer and repudiation of the change, as some translators I know do, but the end-user ends up accepting the change as right in the trade.

By the same token, you should - if there is broad and authoritative support for your original translation - register your disagreement for the sake of a prospective prof. neg. claim.

Also, Charlie's point is a valid one. You don't need to research if you know the subject, besides which Googling etc. does NOT always provide an answer or even the right one, judged on a purely numerical-hits basis. There are many instances of cursory academic translations meant to serve as a rough-and-ready guide rather than as the last word.

[Edited at 2008-03-16 07:37]

[Edited at 2008-03-16 10:35]


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Thorson
Local time: 10:39
Danish to English
Proofread the proofreaders? Mar 16, 2008

Who has time to proofread the proofreaders?

Anyway, if there is an error, you've got a scapegoat, lol.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:39
French to English
About knowing and certainty Mar 16, 2008

liz askew wrote:
Any decent translator always researches terminology. I have never in my life as a translator done a translation yet that did not require good research in order to get the best translation....

Fair enough, we all have to look things up, of course. I must confess that I do sometimes have the good fortune to have jobs where I don't need to research anything, e.g. for my former employer, since I am already reasonably well-versed in the terminology.

I may be about to ramble into the realms of philosophy, but the point I was trying to make is that once you start to do "research", and ask other people for their opinion, you can (in my view) no longer be so sure of your ground. This is knowledge that you have only just acquired. It has yet to be tested in anger. You are, in essence, taking other people's word for it - even if those other people are the editors of Routledge or Collins or Harraps or whatever it may be.

This may be a matter of personal approach, but I personally would never say about such a term that I "know" it to be right. Especially when it is a term I have researched (rather than, say, a term I used for 5 years working in a bilingual environment).
I could only ever say that I believe it to be right on the balance of probability.

It could be, for instance, that the client uses the term in a different way to the rest of the world, or perhaps that a particular specialist industry uses the term slightly differently (e.g. arbitrage in credit insurance), or perhaps that the individual author has used a term loosely/inappropriately.... and that perhaps, just maybe, the proof reader is more aware of this than I am.

And I only challenge a proofreader when they have definitely got it wrong!, based on scientific evidence;;) and the opinion of an expert translator who has worked in this field (who I checked with).


And so I think we can now see that there are very few circumstances under which I personally would say that a proofreader is unequivocally wrong. I may believe that I am more likely to be right than the PR, but that is all.

Which is why all I ever do when challenged is state my case for using the translation I have used, and leave it to the client to make the ultimate decision.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 14:09
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
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It is one of the occupational hazard most of us face sometime or the other Mar 16, 2008

The trouble is the client (who is often a PM at a translation agency) has no clue as to what is wrong or right in your language. Arguing the case with him hardly solves the problem.

The larger agencies have fancy quality assurance systems within them, whereby they send the translation to another translator for proofing/rvieiwng. If the second translator is bad, they are faced with a dilemma, as also the first translator! Whom to believe?

Due to egoistic reasons (that has been my experience) some of the agencies believe their proof-readers/reviewers than the first translator, especially when the first translator is new for them, whereas they have been working with the proof-reader/reviewer for years, even when he is outright bad, but agencies of course have no way of knowing this!!

Arguing with the client (the PM) that you are justified in using a certain spelling or a suage and it is the proof-reader/reviewer who is wrong hardly helps, for the client is in no position to judge, he doesn't know the language.

I had a curious case in which I argued my stand. It was a large agency and they adopted a fair way to resolve the issue. They referred the translation to a third proof-reader/reviewer and wrote a nice letter to me that they are doing so because of my strong views.

Unfortunately for me, the third reviewer too turned out to be dud (am I being biased here, ) and he pronounced my translation to be bad too. Eventually the agency cancelled the job order to me and asked me to withdraw the invoice I had submitted.

I did that without any fuss for they had given me a fair chance, even though it didn't even touch the core of the real issue. I still feel that the translation I did was correct.

Language issues cannot be resolved by majority vote, and even if a hundred proof-readers/reviewers say that a wrong usage is correct, it doesn't become correct. But then how are PMs to get their work done and ensure quality in their translations?

That is where translation scholars should step in and devise fool-proof methods of quality assurance.

It is beyond either the overworked PM or the freelance translators.


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Andrea Matthews
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:39
German to English
Just stating the obvious Mar 18, 2008

Hi Liz,
in my experience as a proofreader and translator, I can see both sides of the argument. As a translator I have also come across overzealous proofreaders who try and correct errors that aren't even there (I don't know, perhaps they think they are not doing their job if they don't have anything to correct). When I am absolutely sure that I am right, I back it up with concrete evidence (in the case of grammar etc). If it is not my specialty and it is queried, then I am more inclined to let it pass because some companies actually have their own internal language, so if the client is happy to accept the correction, then fine. After all, I have done my job and I don't necessarily consider that type of a correction as a "dig" at my competence.

As a proofreader I am probably one of the more cautious ones and only try to correct actual errors or if the translator has no idea about e.g. legal translations then I polish it. I have had this queried on one job by an agency as the client wasn't happy with the style of the translation (non-legal). My reply was that it is not my job to re-translate a correct translation and a translators style is not something you can necessarily correct. In most cases however, I have had no problems.

Good luck in the future!


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:39
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Just stating the obvious Mar 18, 2008

Hello Andrea

Thank you for your comments.

Now a few days have passed I can see what you are saying. In fact, today, I received a list of reasons from the proofreader as to why she made some changes. Interestingly, there are very few actual corrections, but changes made because of her own preferences.

The actual client (an agency in Madrid) has asked for my feedback to as they are interested in "improving quality". So this is good news as I shall be able to give my side of the story.

All in all, it is a good experience as at least I am getting feedback from the proofreader too; initially I just had my amended translation returned, without the comments, hence my frustration.

Thanks for everybody's comments.

Liz Askew


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Samantha Hoaeane
Local time: 10:39
Afrikaans to English
+ ...
Proofreading Mar 19, 2008

Hi there

I work for an ad agency and sometimes our clients translate ads into English themselves, then I have to correct it as a proofreader (I'm also a translator, but don't work in that capacity at this job). Just to let you know that happens sometimes.


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