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Should I tell the client about bad translator he used?
Thread poster: suongmai

suongmai  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 19:33
Member (2013)
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Apr 5, 2013

Hey there,

I accepted a very small job last night which costs only my minimum charge from a new client who is an agency. IT was only 4 sentences to translate and my client sent along with a translated document as reference for me to work.
And i realized that whoever translated the reference document was really bad. If I'm a teacher in translation which i was, I would mark this document only 5 on scale of 10.

Now i wonder if i should tell the client about that. I do not want them to think that i judge their translator to have jobs for me (which i do not have any intention to AT ALL), or consider me as someone bad mouth about my colleagues.
But if I do not tell them about that, i feel so uncomfortable... Thinking of me as a client who doesn't understand the language and got this quality of work, I think i would go mad.

Should I tell the client or just let it go?


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Apr 5, 2013

Forget it, don't get involved. I'm sure this happens all the time.

 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:33
English to Czech
+ ...
Use tracked changes Apr 5, 2013

Track the changes and let the client decide himself. If the proofed version is all red, that should give the client some picture.

 

suongmai  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 19:33
Member (2013)
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I know it happened all the time Apr 5, 2013

But this time is really terrible.

I do not know if i should do the track change on the a document i will not get paid for. It's like doing editing for free...


 

Radian Yazynin  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:33
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Yes Apr 5, 2013

Anyway this is your task to use the reference material and since it it bad you should warn your client to avoid problems (to be on the safe side), but the way Stanislav suggested.

 

JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 14:33
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Tell them, but don't expect any response Apr 5, 2013

I come across this quite often, and always used to tell the client - but I don't think I've ever had a client respond to such a comment. However, if this is a new client it would be worth trying it just in case a) it's some kind of test and b) they are the exception to the rule who really does want to know!

 

Radian Yazynin  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:33
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Discuss it with your client Apr 5, 2013

suongmai wrote:

I do not know if i should do the track change on the a document i will not get paid for. It's like doing editing for free...



It is sufficient (if they ask you for) to give a couple of samples from that doc.


 

KateKaminski
Local time: 13:33
German to English
You don't know where the translation came from Apr 5, 2013

You are concerned because you think someone is posing as a professional translator but does not have the required skills, and that the client may be fooled into using their services again.

Perhaps this is the case, but it could be that the client tried to translate it themselves and then decided to get a professional to check it over for them.

As suggested, I would use tracked changes ... maybe make some specific constructive comments in the file and leave it at that. I am sure the client will see that there were problems with the translation.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 20:33
Chinese to English
Tell the agency Apr 5, 2013

Say to them, sorry, but this text is not ready for editing.

Editing rates ONLY apply to texts which have been translated by decent professionals. This text was not.

In that situation, because the text is small, I would do the agency a favour. I would retranslate the text, and tell them, this is a favour. Next time I will ask full translation fees for this work.

That way you don't waste too much time, you make a friend at the agency, and you start to educate the agency as well.


 

felicij  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
German to Slovenian
+ ...
Happened Apr 5, 2013

to me that a client, after I pointed out some errors in the ref. docs, insisted on using the bad reference documents.
I always do a free proofreading with track changes (at least a reasonable part of the document) to inform the client and I must admit, in 80% of the cases the clients were really grateful.


 

suongmai  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 19:33
Member (2013)
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
They do not ask me to edit the reference document Apr 5, 2013

But they have 4 more sentences to translate, and that is my job, to translate that 4 sentences to add in the translated document...

I need to translate 4 sentences with the "terminology" from the reference bad document, i do not want to do that.

And so i think i will translate the document as they want, because it is urgent work, they need it. And maybe i will spend some time to track change edit the reference document, for favor for them as Phil said. I feel bad thinking about the final real client will use this kind document to work...


[Edited at 2013-04-05 08:55 GMT]


 

ThompsonText  Identity Verified

Local time: 13:33
French to English
+ ...
Tell them gently if you're sure Apr 5, 2013

I had to do some typesetting (InDesign) using a translation in a language which I can read, but I don't know well enough to translate to/from. Even at that level, I could see many mis-spellings, misinterpretations and omissions.
So I told the client, who was grateful for the pointer. The original translator then sent corrections and even made errors in those corrections.
So long as you are confident that the "other" translation has problems, I'd at least make them aware that you don't think it is very good quality.
Good luck,
Chris.


 

nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:33
English to French
+ ...
Translate your document in 2 versions Apr 5, 2013

Since it is urgent, and a small job, you could :
translate following their recommendation, using the bad reference
and
translate the way you would do it (without using the bad reference).

And you make a short comment to point out the differences in these 4 sentences.

You could also add that you had a look at their reference material and you think that some terminoloy choices are "questionable", maybe give an example or two, and that you will be happy to provide a more detailed comment if they like.


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
That's quite a different situation Apr 5, 2013

It means that the bad translation will precede yours in the same document, if I understand correctly. Personally, I would use the dodgy terms in my part of the translation, as instructed, and in my email, I would suggest using the better terms and offer to incorporate them into the first part of the document too.

This wouldn't be a problem with such a common language as English, but with yours it is just your word against the other translators. I wouldn't kick up too much of a fuss if noone can be an objective judge in the situation. My attitude would be to try and smooth things over.

In situations like this, your qualifications come into their own. If the other translator is a qualified IT expert, then the client is more likely to believe that person than you.


 

Giovanna Alessandra Meloni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:33
Member (2012)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
I would follow Tatty's suggestion Apr 5, 2013

Tatty wrote:

It means that the bad translation will precede yours in the same document, if I understand correctly. Personally, I would use the dodgy terms in my part of the translation, as instructed, and in my email, I would suggest using the better terms and offer to incorporate them into the first part of the document too.


 
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