How many ST errors are within reason?
Thread poster: Allison Wright

Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:12
German to English
+ ...
Mar 21, 2011

Context: Translating a non-fiction title (De-En), with an extremely tight deadline. The ST is supposed to be the "final" copy.

In the last 1,700 words, I have picked up the following errors in the source text:
10 typrographical errors (3 of which are place names);
3 factual errors
3 citations, incorrectly formatted.

The previous 15,000 words or so also have numerous typographical errors, which I have marked in the ST document.

I know what I have to do. I have verified one of the factual errors so far with the author (I was right). So, 1 down, 2 to go.

The typographical errors are obvious, but I have the ST document on "track changes" now, and will need to send to the author, since both the German and English versions are being published at the same time.

Regarding the quoted references, I shall need the author's confirmation.

My point is that all this is slowing me down (and strictly speaking, does not constitute "translation")! I am also beginning to worry that I might not notice all errors.

Is this normal in the world of publishing? I would be grateful for any advice, or sharing of experiences.
Thank you!


David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
Common Mar 22, 2011

I see this a lot, and I think it is the result of tight deadlines and short production schedules coupled with electronic work environment.

The fact that we no longer seem to read on paper leads to sloppiness and a greater number of smallish errors, such as typos and the like), that are much more easily spotted on printed copy. Couple that with a production schedule that requires technical writers to draft their manuals while the product is still not finished, or with not enough time to complete proper research, and you have great potential for errors of all sorts, including factual.

In addition, often texts that are in draft form are sent to translation prematurely, in a misguided attempt to cut production time that way, not realizing that often this will lead to errors.

If you feel that this is adding enough of a burden that you can quantify to your work, I would encourage you to say so as early as possible and negotiate an hourly compensation for it. If the errors are sufficient in number and magnitude, the client may reconsider and decide to have a review of the source before proceeding with the translation.

Good luck!


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:12
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes... Mar 22, 2011

Unfortunately what you are describing comes with the territory... I have to report ST issues almost every day... and never charge for the extra work.


Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:12
German to English
+ ...
Thank you Tomás and David Mar 22, 2011

Your two responses alone will help me in my approach and timing when dealing with these issues so that the ultimate objective - a good translation which meets the deadline - is achieved. I am nearing the end of the first part of the book; this is a good interval at which to send all ST typing errors to author, I think. The factual errors I shall raise before I can say I have completed the translation of the first part.


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How many ST errors are within reason?

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