Liberty for translators
Thread poster: Anil Karambelkar
Anil Karambelkar  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:16
Member (2011)
English to Marathi
+ ...
Aug 8, 2013

Nowadays a new trend has been noticed, wherein client seek translation of certain document and later have it reviewed by some body else who suggests so many corrections that original source document gets lost, and still client is insistent. I wonder to what extent a translator is free to make grammatical changes in translation as against source. In my view here client is seeking a new write-up in other language but with a view to save cost have it translated and then make changes as required. I don't think it to be fair. As creating new write-up is not translator's job, but copy writer's. Copywriter may charge heavily so this new trend is developing. Is what I think. Will anybody share his experiences?

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Trinh Do  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2007)
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Review of translation Aug 8, 2013

I have been doing a review of translations for the last 3-4 years. Normally, I check for grammar, spelling errors or when the sentence structure makes the meaning very vague. Rewriting the translation is not the work of a reviewer, who is to give only an evaluation of the translation. Under no circumstances should the reviewer arbitrarily change the meaning. It is possible to do some stylistic change in some parts, but not the entire text. Creating a new write-up is the editor's or copywriter's job.

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Gopinath Jambulingam  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:16
Member (2013)
Tamil to English
+ ...
I do agree this is a unfair and unethical practice Aug 8, 2013

Hi Anil,

Being a Consultant Linguist, i too faced such situations, that would ultimately spoil the triangle relationship. i.e. Client - Consultant - Vendor.

Copywriters charge Rs.2000 to 3000 per A4 page content. Whereas, Translators are paid just one-fourth of that amount. If the client asks us to change the tone / flow of the translation and add some MASALA then we should indicate them at the first instance that it involves COPYWRITING and quote accordingly.

Regards
Gopinath Jambulingam, Chennai


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:46
English to Polish
+ ...
Oh yes Aug 8, 2013

Anil Karambelkar wrote:

Nowadays a new trend has been noticed, wherein client seek translation of certain document and later have it reviewed by some body else who suggests so many corrections that original source document gets lost, and still client is insistent. I wonder to what extent a translator is free to make grammatical changes in translation as against source. In my view here client is seeking a new write-up in other language but with a view to save cost have it translated and then make changes as required. I don't think it to be fair. As creating new write-up is not translator's job, but copy writer's. Copywriter may charge heavily so this new trend is developing. Is what I think. Will anybody share his experiences?


I don't understand clients who try to translate through their translators. If they know how exactly to translate the text, they should be the ones doing the translation – and the signing!

It feels like they're basically squeezing the ratification of their choices of the poor translator who's supposed to validate them with his credentials or something like that.

The way I see it, a client has no business requesting grammatical changes that go against the source, especially in for-information translations (e.g. incoming mail as opposed to outgoing mail).

I'm sorry if I offend anyone with the strong words that will follow, but I see the situation on par with a mild personality disorder or similar disorder that partially incapacitates a person from acting rationally. I may be exaggerating of course, but I'm not offering a diagnosis here, just describing how it feels to be on the receiving end of that kind of thing.

As for new write-ups, those should be created by marketers and other writers, perhaps using a fairly literal translation as reference material, but basically working from scratch.

But people don't actually want to admit that they want new writing. They need you to affirm and validate that it's still a translation or whatever. Screw them.

Also, a reviewer or proofreader who participates in that kind of thing where the translator's work is being graded and perhaps subjected to payment deductions, delays, complaints etc., is malpracticing and should face disciplinary proceedings in whatever association he belongs to.

I'm fairly determined to bring such proceedings against offending reviewers or, if I don't get their names, against agency owners or PMs who are members of translators' associations.

At times, I've had to warn people that their sweet little fantasy has bordered on forgery.

[Edited at 2013-08-08 16:27 GMT]


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