Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Don't eat - food is not perfect yet, needs stylistic improvements
Thread poster: Eleftherios Kritikakis

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:35
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Aug 20, 2008

I have heard, a few times, the expression "the editor says that the text could be stylistically improved".
(we' re not talking about errors here... we' re talking about perfecting a text, over and over).

No kidding!

Is anyone of you aware of any "perfect" text in this world, that could not be improved?

Most of my clients (mature project managers with excellent common sense), are well aware that if they send a text to 10 people, they will get 10 different versions. If they send the same text to the same person 10 times, they will get a text that will be - likely - improved every time they send it... There's not perfect text in this world. There's nothing perfect in this world. Everything is a work in progress.

However, we also have the 19 year olds who run some agencies (fortunately very few) and who have actually developed (they are unique on the planet for this) a new philosophy: an acceptable translation is the one that can not be improved, not even by God (or a group of skilled writers).
Then you have the inferiority complex of the translators who actually accept such notions! They don't even jump to say "but the source text is not perfect either!".

Similarly, there should be no planes in the skies, because they need improvements and they are not perfect yet.

We should not use anything, because nothing is perfect. We should not eat (no food is perfect yet... translators and editors say that food needs stylistic improvements, and until they are finished editing, we should stay hungry).

We should not pay for the food we buy from super markets, because we got editors who say it could be stylistically improved.
(I forgot to mention that all editors/reviewrs in this industry are Nobel Price winners in literature and translation editing, and they are free from errors, like the Pope).

A few years ago, this industry was like any other industry, common sense prevailed. During the last 5 years, I hear a new stupid thing every day.



[Edited at 2008-08-20 02:32]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:35
English to Dutch
+ ...
Refuse Aug 20, 2008

I simply refuse to discuss style. It is impossible to set scientific criteria for style - therefore, discussions about style cannot be argumented. "I like it. Well, I don't. Yeah, but I do. But I don't."

Grammar and spelling - by my guest. These can be argumented using dictionaries and compendia.

If someone doesn't like your style, you can tell them sorry things didn't work out. But attacking someones style, no matter how bad it is, can never be a valid reason for not paying an invoice.

[Edited at 2008-08-20 10:33]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

megane_wang  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
Try to get a definition Aug 20, 2008

Well...

Sometimes customers are simply not able to explain what they are looking for (even if they got an exotic Nobel in translation somewhere ... ).

If they are able to verbalize the problem, ok: maybe you will find out that this "horrid style" of yours just includes something they thought it was going to be different.

Otherwise there's nothing to do... but, of course, if they cannot explain their thoughts, politely ask them to return their Nobel back where it came from!



Ruth @ MW

[Edited at 2008-08-20 09:09]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:35
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Reminds me of a quote Aug 20, 2008

"I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again."
Oscar Wilde
Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
AWESOME Aug 20, 2008

N.M. Eklund wrote:

"I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again."
Oscar Wilde
Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900)


Oh I LOOOOOVE that. I think that's my new motto


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Nadejda Vega Cespedes  Identity Verified

Local time: 03:35
Spanish to Russian
+ ...
Indeed Aug 20, 2008

This is so true, clients are simply clueless sometimes. As long as you provide a grammatically correct translation, why would anybody care about style? Some of them even think we should use style guides, and the most hopeless morons suggest reading elegantly written books once in a while. Ridiculous but true. You hit the nail on the head with that food analogy, of course. If you run an eatery, your clients have the right to demand that your food be edible, but it would be silly to also request that each dish be served separately and in plates rather than in the form of a three-in-one mix (hors d'oeuvre + main course + dessert) in a plastic bag. No scientific criteria, no universally recognized authority, and who are the clients anyway, food styling Nobel Prize winners? Can they explain exactly why they want their ice-cream separate from their soup? Oh, they find the mix disgusting? Well, you don't, case closed.

Gosh, do I miss Jackie Bowman on these fora...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
elegance Aug 20, 2008

I read elegantly written books all the time. In fact I avoid inelegant writing.

In my translations I strive to understand the stylistic intentions and general tone of the source text, which I then emulate in the English-language version. Even in technical documents, there's always a style even though it may be used unconsciously by whoever wrote the source text.

You can't get away from style.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:35
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Same here Tom Aug 20, 2008

Same here Tom. I'm an experienced writer. However, what do you do when the "changes-happy" amateur editors step in and declare (without any explanation) that "the text could be improved"?

In such general statements, I usually reply "everything can be improved. What's your point?"

I'm saying that because some agencies use that as a tool to increase demands on the basis that "Bob says that the text could be improved" (even if Bob's suggestions do not improve it).

Generally speaking, that's probably the only industry in the world where things like that escape our attention (and common sense).

"Dear writer. I read your book and it's ok, but since my cousin says that it could be improved, please send me back 20% of the purchase price and then send me an updated version of your book according to my cousin's suggestions".


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Extreme politeness Aug 20, 2008

Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:


Same here Tom. I'm an experienced writer. However, what do you do when the "changes-happy" amateur editors step in and declare (without any explanation) that "the text could be improved"?

In such general statements, I usually reply "everything can be improved. What's your point?"

I'm saying that because some agencies use that as a tool to increase demands on the basis that "Bob says that the text could be improved" (even if Bob's suggestions do not improve it).

Generally speaking, that's probably the only industry in the world where things like that escape our attention (and common sense).

"Dear writer. I read your book and it's ok, but since my cousin says that it could be improved, please send me back 20% of the purchase price and then send me an updated version of your book according to my cousin's suggestions".



Yes, there are a lot of illiterate or semi-illiterate people out there, and we have to deal with them carefully because they don't know they're illiterate.

When they think they can "improve" a carefully-wrought translation, i just let them get on with it but I I don't give them a discount. I tell them politely that of course, the final proofreading is always up to them and that whilst I believe my translation is a good one, I will accept any changes they may choose to make, on their own responsibility and without affecting my fee.

Extreme, exaggerated politeness is always better than wrangling with people.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
@ Tom in London Aug 21, 2008

Tom in London wrote:

Even in technical documents, there's always a style even though it may be used unconsciously by whoever wrote the source text.

You can't get away from style.


When they think they can "improve" a carefully-wrought translation, i just let them get on with it but I don't give them a discount. I tell them politely that of course, the final proofreading is always up to them and that whilst I believe my translation is a good one, I will accept any changes they may choose to make, on their own responsibility and without affecting my fee.

Extreme, exaggerated politeness is always better than wrangling with people. [/quote]

I like your "style", Tom in London, which sounds like (and sorry for using a cliché) the typical "English gentleman". There is a saying in Spanish that more or less summarizes your last comment above:
"lo cortés no quita lo valiente"
(more or less in English something like
"Keep a civil[ized] tongue in your head"),
though obviously hard to achieve sometimes...

Saludos,

Ivette


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
not English Aug 21, 2008

more of an Irish gentleman.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ooops! Aug 21, 2008

ICL wrote:
I like your "style", Tom in London, which sounds like (and sorry for using a cliché) the typical "English gentleman".


Tom in London wrote:

more of an Irish gentleman.


I warned you I was using a cliché, so my apologies....

I do hope you at least accept the "gentleman" part of the compliment.

Saludos,

Ivette


Direct link Reply with quote
 

RNAtranslator  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
I is not possible a good translation written in a bad style Aug 21, 2008

I do agree with Eleftherios, but I can't agree with this:
Nadejda Vega Cespedes wrote:

As long as you provide a grammatically correct translation, why would anybody care about style?


Unless you want to run the equivalent of a fast-food service, you need good style in your translations. A translation written with an awful style is an awful translation.

For example, you want to translate this to Spanish: "My car was fixed yesterday"; you could translate "Mi coche fue areglado ayer". This is grammatically correct; even more, it might be stylistically correct, but if the Spanish translation is full of such literally translated passive voice sentences, the style is wrong and the translation is not a high quality one. In Spanish we use passive voice and possessive articles much less frequently than in English. This type of sentences should be usually translated using active voice and without the possessive: "Me arreglaron el coche ayer".

A text full of stylistic mistakes does not deserve to be paid as a high quality one. Of course, if the client paid 0.03 per word for it, he can not complain.

I believe that Eleftherios post was about things like "client" vs "customer" or "arreglar" vs "reparar".


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I agree Aug 22, 2008

RNA: my sentiments exactly. I know there are people out there, offering their services as translators, who even in their own mother tongue are not particularly literate or skilled. I assume they are the ones who work for very low rates, as you say.



[Edited at 2008-08-22 13:18]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:35
English to German
+ ...
Some proofreaders use this line as a marketing tool on purpose Aug 22, 2008

Especially when they know that the project manager doesn't doesn't speak their language.

Translation: "You should have picked me as a translator in the first place! Maybe next time, pretty please?"

No matter if the translation is brilliant or mediocre.

What PM wouldn't become insecure?

This is a technique practiced chiefly by
- newbies
- unethical fellows
- idiots, who don't have the slightest idea how to do professional editing


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


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


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

Don't eat - food is not perfect yet, needs stylistic improvements

Advanced search







Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »
WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »



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