Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Proofreaders - a necessary evil?
Thread poster: Gabriella Ambs-Wettstein

Gabriella Ambs-Wettstein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:19
English to German
+ ...
Jan 27, 2006

You sure know the problem. You fully dedicated yourself to a translation. You did a lot of research work and you carefully checked your work. And then it comes back from the proofreader. You are hardly able to recognize your translation anymore. Then you find out there were no substantial errors it's mostly about style, and corrections just consist in replacing your solution by a synonym.
To my opinion proofreaders should limit themselves to specialist matters and leave people's style as it is.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:19
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
It is a lottery Jan 27, 2006

You never know what kind of proofreader you are going to get. Some slate you, some praise you, it is all down to luck. Do not worry, sometimes they are nice to you as well, it just happened to me actually, so I know it is possible.

Cheer up,
Ines


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Aliseo Japan  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 19:19
Member
Italian to Japanese
+ ...
Sometimes proofreading is necessary, but... Jan 27, 2006

Gabriella Ambs-Wettstein wrote:
And then it comes back from the proofreader.


... who often is not even native of the target language.


To my opinion proofreaders should limit themselves to specialist matters and leave people's style as it is.


I agree that for certain subject matters a second check might be desirable but, as you said, it should only deal with real errors.

I am surprised to see how many translators offer themlseves for proofreading jobs. But where's is the fun of it? I rather suspect that many just do it to get more exposure to the detriment of the translators they are required to check.

However, in my opinion the blame should go to those translation agencies that are not able, or just cannot, check the quality of the target text by themselves. In any case, if proofreading is really necessary it is natural that the job should go to experienced translators and not simply to the last arrived - often a cheaper one - in order to keep down the overall charge to the client. But this process would require lots of efforts and years of fine tuning that many agencies simply cannot afford.

Mario Cerutti
http://www.aliseo.com


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ana Cuesta  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:19
Member
English to Spanish
It's a problem of clarifying tasks and responsabilities Jan 27, 2006

In my view, there should be a clear definition of who is responsible of what, and all parts should be aware of it from the outset. Two posibilities that could work equally well depending on particular circunstamces:

1)You get someone to do a translation and then get a second person to edit it as s/he finds appropriate. The editor would be responsible for the final product delivered to the client, so s/he can make as many changes as s/he wishes -stylistic ones included- but the original translator doesn't even need to see them (to avoid possible aggravation) This could be appropriate when you have a busy expert who cannot take care of the translation but could fit the editing in, or the translation is split among various translators, etc...

2)You get someone to do a translation and then a second person to proofread it, just to make sure that there are no errors on it (the proverbial extra pair of eyes). This person can suggest minor changes too but his/her amended version should get back to the original translator, who then accepts/rejects them as s/he seems fit, so holding responsibility for the final product delivered to the client.

Of course, the editor in 1) should get a higher per word rate than the proofreader in 2)

In most cases I find 2) is more logical, cost-effective and renders a better final result. 1) could be useful in some cases. And both avoid frustration on all parts if clearly communicated/implemented. However, what often happens is that, since nothing is explicitely arranged and it is in human nature that everyone wants to leave his/her mark and do his/her best (of course in his/her own view), the translator assumes the situation is 2) while the proofreader assumes the situation is 1). We all know the result of that clash of egoes.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:19
Member (2004)
English to French
Proofreading is not easy Jan 27, 2006

Proofreading and revising, as matter of fact, have become a more important part of my job. I used to translate exclusively. Due to personnel changes, this change occurred.
What I found most difficult is deciding whetter a correction was a matter of personal taste or indeed because I was facing a mistake. At the beginning, I changed things that didn't need change, so the original translation didn't look much like it used to be, but now, I definitely respect more the individual translator's style. As for the same text, there aren't two translations that are identical, the same goes for proofreaders. The final proofread text will not bear the same corrections from one proofreader to another.
The problem I had also at the beginning was sometimes I had to correct texts from translators I liked and sometimes from translators I didn't like. This might have influenced my judgement. With experience, this doesn't happen to me anymore.

Nina


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Lindsay Sabadosa  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:19
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Maybe evil but sometimes necessary Jan 27, 2006

My two cents:
I've worked with some great proofreaders who have been fantastic and others... well, not so much, but what I really want to say is that if end clients/agencies use non-native speakers (or people who just cannot write to save their lives) then proofreaders are a 110% must and changing style is not even a question. I've proofed so many "marketing" texts where the translator didn't seem to realize that the goal was to sell something. All the idioms, puns, etc in the ST were completely taken out and nothing even remotely similar was added to the TT -it read like a middle school essay instead. Other times, (in all kinds of text) words have just been left untranslated. Spellcheck? Some "translators" haven't even heard of that! I'm not talking about regional differences in spelling - these are very blantant errors (is that little red line under the word *not* an indication that there is a problem?!?). And grammar? "It allow me travel" (totally made up example but you get the point - and that is *not* an exaggeration). So maybe proofreaders do sometimes tend to get over-zealous but maybe it just takes a while for the shock to set in that they have a well-translated text in front of their eyes. There are *a lot* of people mascerading as translators out there! (Not meaning to insult anyone here, naturally! )

But bottom line: we all need another pair of eyes to look over our work and proofreaders provide that.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:19
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Its ok if done by a specialist of the field Jan 27, 2006

Then also the translator learns something new when checking the result.
I had this experience this month: a subject rather new to me, but with reference material from the endcustomer. I had already worked halfway through the text, when the refmat arrived. I then took as much from the refmat as possible, substituting my already translated texts.
Yesterday the revised version arrived, and almost every sentence was changed. But not only my own, equally the changes were applied to places where I had used segments from the refmat.
And because the revisor had seen only my text, the revisioned version did not take into account the actual meaning of the source text. Where the source text stated: "Materials: mostly steel", now it says: "Materials: steel". Not very important, but typical.

Regards
Heinrich


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 17:19
English to Indonesian
+ ...
For Official Purposes, Jan 27, 2006

proofreading is usually inevitable. The agency needs it to assure the client that the translation is made correctly. I have had an experience of proofreading a technical document. At a glance some people might think that a proofreader is entitled to revising anything he considers necessary. However, it should be noted that after the proofreading phase there will be a discussion phase between the translator and the proofreader. Thus, the proofreader cannot do anything at will. He must be consistently objective during the proofreading phase to be able to have a favourable standpoint in facing the translator during the discussion phase. Hence, the proofreader should have convincing, scientific reasons for what he has done.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:19
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
I see editing as very important Jan 27, 2006

Gabriella Ambs-Wettstein wrote:
To my opinion proofreaders should limit themselves to specialist matters and leave people's style as it is.


Well, this is what an editor is supposed to do: Leave the translator's style as it is and only fix mistakes.

I find the editing process a very important one: you can always find something that is not supposed to be that way. TBH, I am grateful for the editing process: as a translator I always learn something better from the editor and as editor, I always learn something from the translator. However, some editors take it too far. They change words with synonyms, style for style and what is worse, (sometimes) they replace something with something that is error. If this is the case, I usually tell the company right away about what is happening. Most of the companies are very good about it, they let the translator make the final decision. Some don't do that. Well, it all goes to the quality of the translation.

Have a lovely weekend everyone,
Monika


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:19
Member (2005)
French to German
+ ...
Rather use competence in the first place Jan 27, 2006

LSabadosa wrote:
if end clients/agencies use non-native speakers (or people who just cannot write to save their lives) then proofreaders are a 110% must and changing style is not even a question.

In that case, the problem had already occurred in the translator selection, don't you think?

P.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 11:19
Swedish to English
+ ...
The reasons for changes may be valid, but not always apparent... Jan 27, 2006

I mainly translate, but I also proofread. This week I had a fairly large piece of proofreading to do, one document of 40 pages and one of 13, both of which were part of the same "project" but had been translated by different people. Having proofread the longer piece first - which was okay - I moved on to the next one to discover that this translator had used entirely different vocabulary. Both translators had chosen entirely correct, but different, translations of particular words that were of vital importance for the text as a whole.

In order to make the project consistent I had to change one translator's work throughout their document. For the translator whose work was affected this may well appear to be unnecessary, especially if they aren't aware that the document they are working on is supposed to accompany a matching document.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
RHELLER
United States
Local time: 03:19
French to English
+ ...
where is the logic? Jan 27, 2006

Using proofreaders is a good idea but using a non-native proofreader to correct a native translator is ridiculous. Moreover, highly-specialized texts require proofreaders who are specialized in the field (many agencies simply do not have these available or they do not want to pay for them).

Worse is a corrector of the proofreader who is neither a native nor a specialist - I have been subjected to that. It is humiliating.

I actually have several hi-tech specialists of my own to consult; one is bilingual with a Ph.D....we all know that agencies are not paying specialized Ph.D.s to proof translations. They could never afford that. Yet, they put my work into question. In the end, the agency is losing. They have paid for a specialized native translation and then they change it according to their less-qualified in-house staff.

Where is the logic?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:19
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
The agency's at fault here Jan 27, 2006

Clare Barnes wrote:

In order to make the project consistent I had to change one translator's work throughout their document. For the translator whose work was affected this may well appear to be unnecessary, especially if they aren't aware that the document they are working on is supposed to accompany a matching document.


And where was the PM on this so-called project? I've worked with other translators as a team on large projects: we draw up glossaries, trade TMS, decide on terminology and so on. It's essential for consistency. Despite all this, things STILL crop up. Just by way of example, I worked with a fellow translator on a large exhibition catalogue that ended up being far longer than the museum thought. Fine, my colleague contacted another translator, explained our choices in terminology, spelling, formatting, etc. When we got her document back to reread, we noticed that she'd used Berne but we had used Bern. In a job of about 65,000 words in came up TWICE - ponder the odds! - and we ended up using different spellings, both of which acceptable!

So I'm dying to know where the agency was in all this! Just farmed it all out and left it to you to make it consistent? A year from now, all that agency will remember is that ONE translator's work got rewritten, not that the person's terms were correct in the first place.
It's certainly not fair to that poor translator! If you'd opened HIS/HER file first, it would have been the other way around. Needless to say, this is not your fault or problem by any means, but the agency certainly fell down on the job.
Catherine


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 11:19
Swedish to English
+ ...
Different agencies... Jan 27, 2006

"So I'm dying to know where the agency was in all this! Just farmed it all out and left it to you to make it consistent? A year from now, all that agency will remember is that ONE translator's work got rewritten, not that the person's terms were correct in the first place."

It is an interesting point... the agency that sent me the proofreading was not the one that commissioned the translators, to the best of my knowledge. I did send a note back to the agency that I worked for saying that the actual translations were fine and explaining why the changes were made. One can only hope that the translators got the feedback.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Gabriella Ambs-Wettstein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:19
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, but... Jan 27, 2006

LSabadosa wrote:
I agree, but if proofreading just results in twisting sentences round and replacing expressions by synonyms hm...

My two cents:
I've worked with some great proofreaders who have been fantastic and others... well, not so much, but what I really want to say is that if end clients/agencies use non-native speakers (or people who just cannot write to save their lives) then proofreaders are a 110% must and changing style is not even a question. I've proofed so many "marketing" texts where the translator didn't seem to realize that the goal was to sell something. All the idioms, puns, etc in the ST were completely taken out and nothing even remotely similar was added to the TT -it read like a middle school essay instead. Other times, (in all kinds of text) words have just been left untranslated. Spellcheck? Some "translators" haven't even heard of that! I'm not talking about regional differences in spelling - these are very blantant errors (is that little red line under the word *not* an indication that there is a problem?!?). And grammar? "It allow me travel" (totally made up example but you get the point - and that is *not* an exaggeration). So maybe proofreaders do sometimes tend to get over-zealous but maybe it just takes a while for the shock to set in that they have a well-translated text in front of their eyes. There are *a lot* of people mascerading as translators out there! (Not meaning to insult anyone here, naturally! )

But bottom line: we all need another pair of eyes to look over our work and proofreaders provide that.


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


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

Moderator(s) of this forum
Lucia Leszinsky[Call to this topic]

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

Proofreaders - a necessary evil?

Advanced search






Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »



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