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Sensitive matter (proofreading)
Thread poster: Milana Penavski

Milana Penavski  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:45
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jan 29, 2012

Hi all,

A recurrent client has asked me to proofread the work of a few translators. I was also asked to make a report on the detected issues one by one. Besides common mistakes, I noticed that they have used Google Translator or other automatic resources, compromising even more the quality. It can be easily proved by pasting the source into Google, the result is exactly the same, with the mistakes.
As this is a very serious accusation, I'm not sure how to approach the client about it without sounding rude towards the colleagues. Mind you that at least one of these translators is a Certified Pro member.
I'd appreciate hearing your opinion.


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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:45
French to English
+ ...
T&D Jan 29, 2012

Gosh, speaks volumes; great tact and diplomacy required then...

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:45
Hebrew to English
Blow the lid off.... Jan 29, 2012

If you are certain of your claims then there should be no question about it; be honest with your client and reflect this in the reports you are doing.

After all, that's basically what you have been hired to do. To keep schtum about it would be not doing your job (this job).

With the more serious accusations (using Google Translate/cut and paste) just use more tentative language and hedge everything you say - backed up by lots of evidence.
"In my opinion/based on....." etc etc

If you don't raise it, then these errors you have detected might come back to you, which is definitely not what you want.

I don't think sugarcoating it will benefit you, the client, or even these other translators:
You need to cover your own back/implement your own professional integrity
The client needs to be made aware of the sub-standard translation(s)
The other translators need to be made aware they are making mistakes. You learn from your mistakes and if they aren't held to account then they'll go on their merry way, cash the cheque and continue making the same mistakes (and possibly using Google Translate).

Let me reiterate - if you are certain of your claims.

Also - a sad indictment of the Certified PRO Network, but maybe they slipped through the net?

- Basically just do the job you've been asked to do (as others have said - try to ignore the identity of the other translators and be as factual as you can - but don't shy away from being honest).

[Edited at 2012-01-29 22:56 GMT]


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:45
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Ignore the identities, or turn down the job Jan 29, 2012

You were asked to proofread and evaluate translations, I assume in an impartial, factual way, and as objectively as possible. I think it was a mistake that the outsourcer let you know the identity of the translators, because that could compromise your impartiality (and it seems it has, your question is the proof).

You have too choices here (sorry if it sounds harsh):

1. Try to forget the identities and write the evaluation, keep in mind you are evaluating translations, and not translators. Do not make personal comments, stick to the facts, be professional. As to Google Translate, definitely point out the mistake and add that interestingly, Google Translate comes up with the exact same erroneous translation. The problem is not that they used Google Translate, but that the resulting translation is bad.

2. Turn down the job, explaining that you feel you cannot be impartial, as you know some of the translators.

Katalin


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:45
Italian to English
Brilliantly put Jan 29, 2012

Katalin.

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Jenae Spry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:45
French to English
Bravo Kaitlin Jan 29, 2012

I couldn't have said it better myself!

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:45
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Do it Jan 29, 2012

I agree with Ty.

Do your job, Milana. Tell your client exactly what your opinion is. Clearly your client already suspects something and just wants confirmation.

Don't do all us translators a disservice by creating the impression that we're a mafia who protect our own.

Our first loyalty is to our clients - not to other translators.

Oh- and tell the client you'll need your full rate to do a proper translation !

[Edited at 2012-01-29 23:54 GMT]


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Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:45
English to French
+ ...
Why on earth were the names given ? Jan 29, 2012

That is what I find odd to say the least.
I really do not see the point and I would have refused to
proofread in those circumstances.
On the other hand, it would have been a good idea to get in touch with the translator and get his/her opinion before reporting to the client ...or not.

Claudette


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Milana Penavski  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:45
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks... Jan 30, 2012

... for all your valuable inputs.

The client never disclosed the translator's name, I was just unlucky to stumble on one of them through questions he/she answered on Kudoz, which match this specific file. Creepy, huh?

I feel better now about what I have to do.

Thanks again!


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Angel Biojo
United States
Local time: 02:45
English to Spanish
Perfect wording Jan 30, 2012

Perfect wording Katalin.

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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Sorry but... Jan 30, 2012

Milana Penavski wrote:

Hi all,

A recurrent client has asked me to proofread the work of a few translators. I was also asked to make a report on the detected issues one by one. Besides common mistakes, I noticed that they have used Google Translator or other automatic resources, compromising even more the quality. It can be easily proved by pasting the source into Google, the result is exactly the same, with the mistakes.
As this is a very serious accusation, I'm not sure how to approach the client about it without sounding rude towards the colleagues. Mind you that at least one of these translators is a Certified Pro member.
I'd appreciate hearing your opinion.


...I refuse to call "colleague" anybody which uses Google for translations. I would have no hesitation whatsoever. These are the people that ruin our image as professionals. I would also say that these people are simply scammers, since they get paid for a job they did not do.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:45
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Mistake is mistake Jan 30, 2012

It doesn't matter what is the source of the translation, human or machine. If the translation is wrong or lacking, mark the mistake. That's what you are supposed to do. The client will send your feedback to the translator and s/he can review the corrections. If there are too many mistakes the client will probably drop the translator in question.

Using machine translation software is IMO normal practice these days. That's why translation software have MT-interfaces. But the human translator must spot the failures and correct them according to his/her best knowledge.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The plain, blunt truth! Jan 30, 2012

Milana Penavski wrote:
A recurrent client has asked me to proofread the work of a few translators. I was also asked to make a report on the detected issues one by one. Besides common mistakes, I noticed that they have used Google Translator or other automatic resources, compromising even more the quality. It can be easily proved by pasting the source into Google, the result is exactly the same, with the mistakes.
As this is a very serious accusation, I'm not sure how to approach the client about it without sounding rude towards the colleagues. Mind you that at least one of these translators is a Certified Pro member.
I'd appreciate hearing your opinion.

If you are certain about this behaviour and can prove it (as you explained), there is no other way than to report what you have seen. The customer must be aware of who did what, and that is precisely what you were hired for.

If you ask me, delivering a text that was translated with Google Translator with no subsequent editing is completely unacceptable in professional work. Even the customer's privacy could be compromised without the customer knowing. They should be able to identify and weed out the people that are not trustworthy.


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John Di Rico  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:45
Member (2006)
French to English
Professional use of machine translation Jan 30, 2012

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons) wrote:

...I refuse to call "colleague" anybody which uses Google for translations. I would have no hesitation whatsoever. These are the people that ruin our image as professionals. I would also say that these people are simply scammers, since they get paid for a job they did not do.



I disagree with you, Giuseppina. People used to say the same thing about CAT tools. In my opinion, the people not using CAT tools today are the ones that risk ruining our image as professionals. It's like an accountant who uses Excel spreadsheets instead of dedicated accounting software or a graphic designer who uses MS Publisher instead of Adobe InDesign. Of course, it would be non-professional to run something through a machine and not post-edit it, revise, proofread, etc. in the same way it would be non-professional to pass off a MS Publisher template as an original design.

If I have a file with the days of the week, months, and short segments (not sentences), Google Translate could save me a lot of time. The trick is knowing when it is helping and when it is hindering you.

When someone uses a tool that boosts their output without lowering quality, I consider that highly professional. The skeptics are generally those who haven't tried it and the first to cast stones.

As far as the original question, I agree with Heinrich and Tom, who agrees with Ty, and probably a few others!

Good luck Milana,

John


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Then forget about the names Jan 30, 2012

Milana Penavski wrote:
The client never disclosed the translator's name, I was just unlucky to stumble on one of them through questions he/she answered on Kudoz, which match this specific file. Creepy, huh?

OK! Then you should simply report whatever issues you have seen in the translations, and forget about the fact that you know the names of the translators. Of course, do not refer in your report to the names or any other details about the translators you may have stumbled upon in your research.

In your report, try to avoid personal comments like "this translator is crap", "I'd never hire this person", "this is incredible", etc. etc. Just report the issues in a clear, independent, neutral manner, as Katalin suggested.


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