How to deal with questions during a translation project

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:50
French to English
No qualms about it Aug 31, 2016

If I believe that I have really exploited all potential sources which I might reasonably be expected to use, then if it is necessary, then I will not have any qualms about asking a question. However, I rarely, if ever, work with agencies. When I ask a question, it is therefore generally by mail and/or with questions in the "comment" bubble in the margin. Sometimes the client will call, preferring to discuss the problem.

If the client cannot deal with the matter, I will simply do he best I can and explain doubts in a covering mail when I send the work through.


Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 15:50
German to English
+ ...
the intro, and the process Aug 31, 2016

The intro starts this way:
It is never easy to ask questions. As professionals, we might fear that people reading our questions think we should have known, or found, the answer ourselves.

I cannot imagine a professional "fearing" what the writer says, unless perhaps she is talking about novices in the field. Asking questions is the professional thing to do, and that's pretty standard. Maybe it's just me, but I find this kind of introduction quite off-putting.
Many of us have also experienced translation project managers (TPMs) or clients ignoring the questions we asked, or at least not paying attention to all of them.

Atm I can't remember this happening, and it sounds both unprofessional and inefficient. If this happens, then the company should have a hard look at their practices, workload etc. and this goes outside the issue of asking questions.
Much of the rest of the article talks about a formatting of questions within some kind of form which must be what that particular company uses in-house. I'm glad never to have encountered such a form, and I would not impose such a thing on my customers. It seems to make a simple thing needlessly complicated. When you have a question, you formulate it in such a way as to make sense to the person being asked, at a level that person will understand, and containing whatever is necessary and pertinent.
One thing the article does not go into is timing and process. Questions should be asked above all before beginning a project, and even before deciding to take on a project. A few questions might arise during the process, but most of them would have been gotten out of the way before even starting. And both parties definitely have to make time for them (still thinking about these unresponsive overworked PMs in the article).


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How to deal with questions during a translation project

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