Mistakes in source documents
Thread poster: Elizabeth Kelly
Elizabeth Kelly
Ireland
Local time: 06:52
English to German
+ ...
May 28, 2012

This is something that has been annoying me for a long time. I would appreciate all your feedback on this. I was asked to provide a certified translation of some certificates (there are 5 in total). In 2 of them, the person's name is misspelled. So, my question is: should I use the correct spelling in the translation or copy the wrong spelling from the source? This happens on a regular basis and I still haven't found a solution that I would be completely happy with. Any suggestions? TIA

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:52
Member (2008)
Italian to English
All the time May 28, 2012

This happens to me frequently.

If you are sure you know what the correct spelling is the target language, then of course you must use the correct spelling - particularly on a certificate, because that name will probably go into a database somewhere and if it isn't spelt correctly it will never come up in searches.

As for the source language with the incorrect spelling: I always leave it as I found it.

One recent example: The famous artist Joseph Beyus (ugh!)

[Edited at 2012-05-28 16:28 GMT]


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Elizabeth Kelly
Ireland
Local time: 06:52
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Tom May 28, 2012

Yes, some of them really are horrendous!

In this particular case, I decided to add a Translator's Note (Anm.d.Übers.:Fehler im Original, richtige Schreibweise:...), as there were more mistakes, such as "Oklahoma City, CA" and I am pretty sure that Oklahoma City is not in California So my solution here was translating the mistake as found in the original (given that it is a certified translation) and then advising the reader that the text includes an error. Would you just translate it as "Oklahoma City, Oklahoma" anyway without poiting out the deviation from the source document?


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Keep the wrong spelling... May 28, 2012

...and add a translator's note to state the correct name, or simply place a [sic] after the wrong name (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic).

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:52
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Oklohama May 28, 2012

Elizabeth Kelly wrote:

Yes, some of them really are horrendous!

In this particular case, I decided to add a Translator's Note (Anm.d.Übers.:Fehler im Original, richtige Schreibweise:...), as there were more mistakes, such as "Oklahoma City, CA" and I am pretty sure that Oklahoma City is not in California So my solution here was translating the mistake as found in the original (given that it is a certified translation) and then advising the reader that the text includes an error. Would you just translate it as "Oklahoma City, Oklahoma" anyway without poiting out the deviation from the source document?


You could be creative yourself and call it Oklahama


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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:52
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Agree May 28, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

...and add a translator's note to state the correct name, or simply place a [sic] after the wrong name (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic).


Don't change anything off your own bat, if necessary run it past the client. However, for a certified translation you should leave the errors as they are and annotate them.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
Also agree May 28, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

...and add a translator's note to state the correct name, or simply place a [sic] after the wrong name (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic).


ESPECIALLY in a sworn translation. You can prepare a "fe de errata" to deliver along with the translated draft.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
If certificate, retain misspelling May 28, 2012

Elizabeth Kelly wrote:
I was asked to provide a certified translation of some certificates (there are 5 in total). In 2 of them, the person's name is misspelled. So, my question is: should I use the correct spelling in the translation or copy the wrong spelling from the source?


If this is a legal translation for official purposes, then retain the misspelling.

If they misspelt a translatable term and there is no confusion, don't misspell the translated word but misspelt names should be copied into your translation as-is.


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Steve Booth  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:52
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
+ ...
it would depend May 28, 2012

for me on what the error was, if it was a factual error ie it said Oklahoma City CA then I would leave the error as is

If it was a simple error that was a spelling mistake then I may correct it and put a comment that it was misspelled on the original

if it was significant change then I would refuse.

an agency once sent a certificate to me saying the correct spelling of the client's name is Peter Michaels (not the real name just an example) and could i ensure i spelled it this way on the translation. In my language pair the name had been transliterated into Arabic so wasn't represented in Latin characters. However even given the variants that crop up when writing a name in a different script even I couldn't stretch to turning Joanne Smith into Peter Michaels

i often suspect the agency actually changed the translation to reflect the clients wishes as they actually got back to em after me telling them what had happened to ask that i resubmit the translation with the correct name as the client wasn't happy


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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 07:52
English to German
+ ...
Misspellings May 28, 2012

Correct the misspeling and make a remark.

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:52
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Correct it May 28, 2012

I would always correct a mistake in a person's name for the same reason Tom brings up:

"...because that name will probably go into a database somewhere and if it isn't spelt correctly it will never come up in searches."

And I would like to add: it could cause problems in the future when the client uses the different spelling. Add a translator's note to point out that the spelling in the source document is wrong.

Recently I received a document with the client's place of birth spelled wrong. When she mentioned this to me, we decided to delay the translation until she received a corrected version from the source. Unfortunately that isn't always possible but you could always check that with the client.


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Misspellings May 31, 2012

I agree with the majority, the best way is to leave it as it was in the source language and make a translator's note. And your conscience won't worry you

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Elizabeth Kelly
Ireland
Local time: 06:52
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks all! May 31, 2012

It seems that most of you deal with the issue the same way as I do. It is good to get some feedback sometimes. Thanks guys!

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Linh Hoang  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 13:52
Member (2011)
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Totally agree Jun 1, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

...and add a translator's note to state the correct name, or simply place a [sic] after the wrong name (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic).



In such cases, I do the same, just keep the mistake as it is and put my correction in the []. If necessary, you may note [........ - translator].

For documents in word, excel..., I highlight the mistakes, typos... and note the clients.


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Signe Golly  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:52
Danish to English
+ ...
OCR'ed documents Jun 1, 2012

Make sure the source that you're working from wasn't in fact OCR'ed from a pdf or similar uneditable source. Depending on the language pair, this can cause some small misspellings (such as CO -> CA), especially if the quality of the original source isn't that great.
Just this week, I did a translation working in a ttx document from a pdf file, which was made available to me for reference as well. There were two such instances where individual letters in a name and an abbreviation were switched (from an 'ø' to and 'o' and a '1' to an 'I', respectively). I corrected them to accurately reflect the actual source but the proofreader apparently didn't have the original pdf or didn't bother to check it because he/she questioned the "correction" and even changed the person's name so it was misspelled with an 'o' twice in the target.


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