Define and Explain the Difference between Translation, Editing, Proofreading
Thread poster: DeniseC

DeniseC
Local time: 10:00
English to Spanish
May 25, 2012

I have a job that I turned in and now they say it is the worst translation ever! I am shocked and now I will meet with them tomorrow and they are going to sit down and tell me how bad it is. BUT I was looking over it and it isn't badly translated, it is translated but it was written badly originally and I translated it. I am beside myself and don't know what to say to make them understand that I did my part of the deal.

I told them I would translate it, and then get paid, and if there are any simple errors I'll fix it. But now they don't want to pay me and they don't like what I wrote. So I feel like I'm "Up a creek without a paddle"

PLEASE HELP ME!!


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malika2012  Identity Verified
Poland
Arabic to French
+ ...
proof-reading May 25, 2012

did they make a proof-reading to your work? If not ask them to be objective and give examples of the mistakes done. So that ,you will have an idea about what was wrong,then you can make the decision of what to do! Hope this can help.

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 22:00
Chinese to English
1) I did the work. You pay me. May 25, 2012

That's the basic point to hammer home here. It's helpful and interesting to get a client's feedback on a piece of work, and you should be grateful for it. But you did the work, and they will pay you. If they don't pay you, it's court time. No ifs, no buts. If they want to not pay you, they have to prove (to a court) that you didn't do the work adequately.

However...
2) Sometimes when a translator thinks a text is badly written, it's because they didn't understand the text. Do your homework, be sure. If you got something wrong, apologise and change it. But they still have to pay you.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:00
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Take it as a lesson learned May 25, 2012

You should make it a practice to review any text to be translated before accepting a project. This will allow you to detect the kind of red flag you describe here (i.e., a poorly written source text that will require a fair amount of messaging to produce a presentable translation). At that point, you can decide to: 1.) Refuse the job because it is too messy and complicated, or 2.) inform the client that the document is grossly defective, and that you will need to (essentially) edit it as part of the translation process in order to produce a readable target text.

This is all for the future. What you can do now (if you still have time) is produce a section of literally translated section(s) of the document in question and place it (them) side by side with your own cleaned-up version(s). Take this to the meeting and do your best to make the case that, had you closely followed the original text, you would have produced an incomprehensible translation.

Te deseo mucha suerte!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:00
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same topic May 25, 2012

I think you already asked for advice in this topic:
http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/225599-feels_like_im_trying_to_get_shafted_for_a_translation_job_what_should_i_do-page2.html

Please moderators, since it is about the same issue, would it be possible to close this topic and continue the conversation in the previous one? Thanks a lot!

[Edited at 2012-05-25 17:39 GMT]


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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 16:00
English to German
+ ...
An old problem. I have had this several times (poor source text). May 26, 2012

I always ask them to state a few errors they think of, and write them that "it is bad" is not acceptable without explanation.
In the last case I got no answer, however the payment.
In previeous cases, I got the examples and could proof them that their version does not correspond to the source text.


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DeniseC
Local time: 10:00
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Not quite the same question May 27, 2012

As the subject matter I asked if someone could define and explain the difference between Translation, Editing and Proofreading. I did not, however, state it in the main body of the question. But I still would like to know for future reference (I did write my response to the meeting in the other question I made). I would like to know the definition of Translation, Editing and Proofreading since I usually see the difference between Editing and Proofreading, but not what the difference is between those and translating. I ask because in the future I want my client clear as to what they are asking of me, because when these people asked me to do a Translation, they also want it
edited and they want me to change the style of the text.

Thank you everyone!!


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 22:00
Chinese to English
You can't change the style for anyone but long-term clients May 27, 2012

Your client here was being completely unreasonable. The only situation in which we as translators can be expected to rewrite/edit a document is when you have a long working relationship with a company, and you have got a feel for how their documents work. With a one-off client, how could you possibly know what they want? Do they have a house style? have you been given a copy? Have you been told who the document is for? We never get this information.
I've just been working on a project in which McKinsey were paid an awful lot of money for rewriting a company's HR policies. It's definitely above our pay grade!


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xxxchristela
TEP May 27, 2012

DeniseC wrote:

As the subject matter I asked if someone could define and explain the difference between Translation, Editing and Proofreading. I did not, however, state it in the main body of the question. But I still would like to know for future reference (I did write my response to the meeting in the other question I made). I would like to know the definition of Translation, Editing and Proofreading since I usually see the difference between Editing and Proofreading, but not what the difference is between those and translating. I ask because in the future I want my client clear as to what they are asking of me, because when these people asked me to do a Translation, they also want it
edited and they want me to change the style of the text.

Thank you everyone!!


If they ask you TEP (Translation, Editing, Proofreading), this is to be sure that you edit and proofread your own text and that you do not deliver your first draw (LOTS of people do!!!, I even saw translations with 'holes', question marks and choices, so that the client had to fill in the gaps and choose between several solutions!!!). In short, you deliver a finished text . It does not mean that you will be rewriting and interpreting a bad text, nor that you have to make litterature if it wasn't. And if a client comes back within a reasonable time (for me, 1 month) and has remarks, then you answer the remarks, this has nothing to do with editing or proofreading.
In other cases, they can ask you to edit or proofread another person's translation. People sometimes say that there is a difference, for me it is a whole, you read the translation and correct what is wrong, this goes from punctuation to false friends and mistranslations, without rewriting the text.


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