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Non-native proofreader
Thread poster: Madeleine Chevassus

Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:55
Member (2010)
English to French
Apr 20, 2014

Hello; I translate from English to French_FR.

1) It happened once that I had a bad proofreading result from a US agency. I asked for the detailed report (ttx).
At least half of the remarks were wrong or had a poor style.

I thought that the proofreader was not French native (may be Canadian, often US people don't make a difference between FR_FR and FR_CA), or a French proofreader living in the US for more than 20 years.

I was upset and I didn't argue on the subject with the agency and I was paid only 50% vs contractual price.

Did someone had a similar experience? and what did you do?



2) Another interesting experience with another US agency (translation into FR)

- translate it into French!

- I translate into FR_FR, it is not correct for most Canadian customers

- never mind, go ahead

-I gave them the details about a French Canadian colleague, but it seems that they didn't use her address........;;

!!

Thank you

Madeleine

[Edited at 2014-04-20 09:22 GMT]


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:55
Russian to English
+ ...
Well, you cannot ask a person too many "native--non-native" questions Apr 20, 2014

in the US, perhaps this is why. In the US, thy would mostly need Canadian French, Haitian French or African French, although there may be some exceptions. Native from the Bronx or Native from the Hamptons may not sound native to most Texans--just as an exampl, so the term is mainly useless. There are only good editors and bad editors.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 22:55
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Non-native proofreader Apr 20, 2014

1) A few years back one of my long-standing customers (a Japanese company) picked a Spanish proofreader for the texts I translate (I translate exclusively into European Portuguese) and it took some time and a LOT of emails back and forth for him to understand that Spanish and Portuguese, though related, are quite different…

2) “Never mind, go ahead” is an answer I get quite often when I say that I do not translate into Brazilian Portuguese…


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Lorraine Dubuc  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:55
Member (2013)
French to English
+ ...
Native non native Apr 20, 2014

Hello,

I do not know where this paradigm comes from that Canadian French is non native. However, it is. Canadian French has lesser English words assimilated in its daily vocabulary compared to French from France, (which is normal because we strive to keep our language alive in this North American English ocean) but a French Canadian certainly can proofread both European French and Canadian French . The only difference between a language that is spoken at a location or another, lies on local idiomatic expressions. Otherwise, one either knows a language or not. The French grammar and dictionnaries are the same for everybody. Maybe you just had a poor proofreader.


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Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:55
Member (2010)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
thanks for your remarks, Apr 20, 2014

first I make the distinction between "French native" which means born in France (in the context of Proz jobs) and "native" or Bronx native!

I saw a soul group of young girls called "Natives", this name had no linguistic meaning.

When an ad is targeted to French Canadian, I just ignore it.

There are a lot of differences between FR_FR and FR_CA (refer to Antidote).

I never thought that FR_CA proofreaders were bad proofreaders, they are just different and not appropriate to proofread FR_FR, unless they studied FR_FR, of course.

However I must conclude as Lilian that there are only good editors and bad editors.

I agree with you, Teresa!

Have a good day!

Madeleine


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The challenge of convincing people about variants Apr 20, 2014

Teresa Borges wrote:

Never mind, go ahead” is an answer I get quite often when I say that I do not translate into Brazilian Portuguese…


My statement is literally that "I can only provide service into the Brazilian variant". This usually does the trick. It leads them to go to the trouble of clicking on the link I provide and reading it.

When there is a list of target languages, I tell them that for professional translation, PT-PT and PT-BR should be treated as separate target languages. There is no "neutral", and if they need both, TWO separate translations are the solution.

While both variants are legally one and the same language, I don't accept tight deadlines on translations FROM PT-PT, explaining that they might require more extensive terminology search from me.


Several years ago, when both I and the also -BR proofreader were relatively "new" to a translation agency in Massachusetts, together we honed a translation to perfection. An American PT-PT interpreter (who apparently had never had any contact with PT-BR) was at their office for another reason, so they took the chance to let him take a look.

The guy was furious. He said it must have been shot through Google translate, and it was all wrong. The PM got cold feet, and challenged us. We stuck by our guns. He only felt relieved after delivery, when the end-client reassured him that the translation was excellent.


Few clients had the rare opportunity of learning from such an incident, so most think that separating language variants in translation is merely nitpicking.

One of the reasons I don't translate French (my L5) ever is that for me the language spoken in Paris, Montreal, Brussels, Geneva, and Cayenne is about the same, though the pronunciation varies, as expected.

Once I had an IT manual translated into ES for Mexico. Since it was done by a bilingual psychologist, not exactly a professional translator, I had my doubts, and it really looked weird under my lame Spanish learned from practice with too many conference participants from everywhere. So I showed it to an Argentinean colleague, who said it was all wrong. Then I showed it to a Mexican colleague, who said it was so good that whoever did it should drop their endeavors and go on working as a translator.

It's amazing that supposedly professionals in the translation outsourcing business can often get so careless about language variants.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:55
English to German
+ ...
Some thoughts Apr 20, 2014

Hello Madeleine,

I am sorry that you had such a bad experience!

Here are some thoughts, though:

Madeleine Chevassus wrote:
often US people don't make a difference between FR_FR and FR_CA)


What makes you think of that? American agencies are well aware of the difference. If you are certain that the corrections were wrong, it should be easy for you to prove it in cold print. They also may be highly interested in assessing the quality of their (new?) proofreader.

I was upset and I didn't argue on the subject with the agency and I was paid only 50% vs contractual price.


You don't have to "argue". Simply state that the quality of the edits is unacceptable and that the edits added errors to your work. Tell them that they may lose their client if they forward this "corrected" text and that the abundance of the proofreader's stylistic preferences practically will leave them with a new version that basically has not been proofread yet. Agencies don't appreciate those petty little translator/proofreader cat fights that may cost them clients. If the proofreader's translation skills were superior, he/she would have been assigned to do the translation in the first place.

To develop some backbone and diplomacy, however, is part of any freelancer's job. The outsourcer is your business partner, not your employer, and I don't understand why you accepted a discount of 50 percent if you are convinced that the edits were unjustified.


Another interesting experience with another US agency (translation into FR)

- translate it into French!

- I translate into FR_FR, it is not correct for most Canadian customers

- never mind, go ahead

-I gave them the details about a French Canadian colleague, but it seems that they didn't use her address........;;

!!



If you don't translate into Canadian French and if you think that you are not the best address for this job, then you have to turn down the job, it is as simple as that. Otherwise the outsourcer will assume that you can do both (there are many translators who can translate into both, US English as well as British English, or Germany German as well as Swiss German, etc.).

There are too many assumptions going on by both parties. A mistake on your part would be to automatically assume that American agencies in particular are ignorant in regard to language variants or to automatically assume that the proofreader is not a native speaker.

Best regards and happy Easter,

Nicole Schnell


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:55
Russian to English
+ ...
Well, we don't really us the word "native" here Apr 20, 2014

Madeleine Chevassus wrote:

first I make the distinction between "French native" which means born in France (in the context of Proz jobs) and "native" or Bronx native!

I saw a soul group of young girls called "Natives", this name had no linguistic meaning.

When an ad is targeted to French Canadian, I just ignore it.

There are a lot of differences between FR_FR and FR_CA (refer to Antidote).

I never thought that FR_CA proofreaders were bad proofreaders, they are just different and not appropriate to proofread FR_FR, unless they studied FR_FR, of course.

However I must conclude as Lilian that there are only good editors and bad editors.

I agree with you, Teresa!

Have a good day!

Madeleine

as much--it is mostly a derogatory word related to some supremacist groups or otherwise, it is a remainder of the colonial time (meaning a savage)--very un-PC in the US. We use dominant language, main language, or first language. You cannot ask a child in school what his or her native language is. Wow. Many children born here speak some other language than English for the first few years. You could ask them sometimes which languages they speak at home, but not what your nativ language is, if there is such a thing in many cases, other than in monolingual homes.



[Edited at 2014-04-20 12:39 GMT]


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imatahan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, troubles are common Apr 20, 2014

I've had tests and translations refused because they've submitted them to Portuguese reviewers/editors.

And the 3 or 4 agencies that did it, didn't consider my explanations about the great differences in constructing phrases, some differences in suffixes and even in the use of denominations.

I became very upset about that. Right after, ProZ started to specify the language variants, what helped us translators a lot.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:55
English to German
+ ...
I had this experience once Apr 20, 2014

One single time, when my translated text was returned replete with edits, which is extremely unusual. The edits contained not only typos but were in part downright bizarre. Interestingly enough, the editor had a Spanish first name and last name. I notified the agency and I was told to simply ignore the edits and to use only what I deem appropriate.

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Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:55
Member (2010)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
@LilianB Apr 20, 2014

Lilian,

I understand very well what you mean, thank you.

Personnally I am in a multicultural family.

France was / is a colonialist country and the people from colonized countries were called "indigènes" ("= savages") and they had almost no right (except to work)

However in Proz international Job posting context it is very common to see (if the job is EN>FR): French native required = born in France. This is why I used the expression.

Madeleine


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:55
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
This statement is contrary to the common practice, esp among Asian agencies Apr 20, 2014

Nicole Schnell wrote:

If the proofreader's translation skills were superior, he/she would have been assigned to do the translation in the first place.


Nicole Schnell


They tend to use cheap translators to make the first draft, and those with superior translation skills to "adapt" the copy by paying the later a little fee.

[Edited at 2014-04-20 17:22 GMT]


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Frankie JB
France
English to French
+ ...
Rogue agencies have deep bags of tricks to avoid paying Apr 20, 2014

jyuan_us wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:

If the proofreader's translation skills were superior, he/she would have been assigned to do the translation in the first place.



(This statement is contrary to the common practice, esp among Asian agencies)
They tend to use cheap translators to make the first draft, and those with superior translation skills to "adapt" the copy by paying the later a little fee.



Not only among Asian agencies, but among all substandard (or dishonest) agencies across the world - often actually those are the same agencies that don't discriminate between language variants, by the way...

I don't know exactly what happened in your case Marie, all I can say is:

1) As it was said before, it's not "US people" who don't make a distinction between variants but substandard agencies all over the planet;
2) I doubt very much it's a matter of proofreader speaking FR-CA instead of FR-FR as the difference between FR-FR and FR-CA is very modest in writing - often barely perceptible beyond sporadic lexical differences;
3) If indeed you maintain changes made lean more towards subjective preferences than clear upgrades in quality, don't let yourself get pushed around! If that happened to me I would be angry - I mean, "very angry", considering that even subjective changes that destroy my brainchildren with no PO cut drive me mad - and I would tell them firmly but politely that I don't accept the discount and, if need be, explain why in detail... Rogue agencies are smarter than you think, you shouldn't throw in the towel like that...!


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:55
English to German
+ ...
Not among my clientele Apr 21, 2014

jyuan_us wrote:
They tend to use cheap translators to make the first draft, and those with superior translation skills to "adapt" the copy by paying the later a little fee.


Because any attempt to hire me as a "cleaning woman" for substandard work so far has turned out to be futile. Some have tried but they had to try their luck elsewhere. Why would anyone accept an outsourcer with such business practices as a client and why would anyone charge a small fee for such a task anyway?


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 16:55
German to English
+ ...
One thing nobody has mentioned Apr 21, 2014

I was upset and I didn't argue on the subject with the agency and I was paid only 50% vs contractual price.

Unless you offered to lower your price, which judging by what you wrote you would have no reason to do, the initially agreed upon fee is the amount you should have been paid. Imho, they still owe you the other 50%.


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