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Freelancers - do you use a proofreader?
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:28
Member
Italian to English
Dec 12, 2014

I have been curious lately as to how many freelance translators systematically use the services of a proofreader before sending the text to the client.

To my mind, this is a required step, but obviously one that involves added costs for the client.

Interested to hear your thoughts.


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Depends Dec 12, 2014

If the text is for the end client, it is absolutely necessary to have the text proofread and edited by a professional who is not "you".

If the text is for an agency (now referred to as LSPs), I would advise to produce the translation and proofread + edit it yourself next day (provided the deadline allows this luxury). The text will be edited anyway by a professional hired by the agency.

Hiring a proofreader / editor for a work subject to NDA could be tricky too. I am not sure I can share sensitive documents with a proofreader / editor who is not bound by NDA rules with respect to the agency who comissioned the worked to me. Therefore, I do not do it.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:28
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Theory and practice Dec 12, 2014

Thanks for your reply Merab.

However, my question is not whether translators SHOULD use a proofreader in the case of a direct client, as much as whether they DO.

Although I appreciate it may be a delicate question.


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:28
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
I don't Dec 12, 2014

Fiona Peterson wrote:

Thanks for your reply Merab.

However, my question is not whether translators SHOULD use a proofreader in the case of a direct client, as much as whether they DO.

Although I appreciate it may be a delicate question.


I don't, neither for agencies nor for the few direct clients I have - but I always make absolutely sure that they know this, and I strongly advise them to do so. Sometimes I offer to organise proofreading as an additional service, but up to now, no client has made use of that.

No complaints so far.


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xxxnrichy
France
Local time: 18:28
French to Dutch
+ ...
I don't either Dec 12, 2014

And I state in my quotes what is included: translation and thorough verifications, and what is not included: services of a third party proofreader and DTP.

I did it in the past sometimes when the client asked for it, but it was VERY expensive (for me) and time-consuming.

But maybe some translators should always have their texts proofread while others don't need to.


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Chiara Cherubini  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2010)
German to Italian
+ ...
Depends on the agreement with the client Dec 12, 2014

For me there can be different scenarios.

I never use a proofreader if the client is an agency, because I think it is their responsibility to organise the proofreading. There is one agency, though, that always asks me to organise the proofreading by another translator (and pays me accordingly).

For direct clients I always offer this additional service explaining that it means a higher price for them. Some of them - those who are really interested in high quality texts - accept the price which includes the proofreading. Otherwise, I "only" translate and proofread without a second opinion, but they are aware of it.

An exception are texts which I consider particularly challenging and I want to be proofread before sending them to the customer (that was the case especially at the beginning of my career for very technical stuff). In this case I propose a higher price to the customer (in this price I include the cost for the proofreading). If they agree, then I will have the text proofread but I will still get the rate I aimed at.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 00:28
Chinese to English
Depends on the client? Dec 12, 2014

I don't use a proofreader for most jobs, but one direct client does ask me to. Perhaps it makes a difference who one's clients are? I do most of my work for agencies - i.e. not clients who expect to be able to use my texts directly. Just today I finished a translation and sent it off to the agency looking a little rough with its Trados formatting. They had a great editor go over it, and someone did some quick DTP work, and it came back for my review looking much better. That's my dream collaboration - I do my bit, and someone else does the stuff I'm not good at.

But when you're dealing with direct clients, what they want (often) is a document that's ready to go, ready to put online, post to customers, print flyers... So it's a different process. I like working with agencies because I don't want to coordinate people and do DTP, so the solitary "translation only" service is what I generally offer.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends on client/job Dec 12, 2014

When I think it's necessary, I ask a colleague or friend to check my finished drafts. I've done so with 2 translations on education this week. My "proofer" friend changed one full stop in the first text and hasn't returned the other yet, but I don't expect any significant changes or comments on that one either.

I had a horrible series of very badly written texts to revise about henhouse ventilation recently and resorted to 2 different colleagues to do the initial revisions. I check their changes then turned out the final draft myself, but this was an exceptional case.

Otherwise, I usually just put on my proofer's hat and do it myself.


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:28
French to German
+ ...
Depends on the job and the client Dec 12, 2014

I nearly only work with direct clients and propose different services on my homepage. One of them is to have the document proofread by a second translator against an extra fee. I only had the demand once though - by a translator who also runs a hotel...

I do sometimes decide to take a proofreader on for parts of jobs which not really are my cup of coffee. I am specialized in marketing, so I have a lot of homepages to do and there is also all the legal stuff to translate, the sales conditions. If I have quite a lot to do I ask another freelancer to translate them, if I have not I translate them myself and have them proofread to be sure that the German style is ok. In this case I more or less offer the proofreading.

I think in some fields having a proofreader is very important (e. g. if you work in the nuclear). I work a lot in journalism where there often just is no time for a proofreader because I get the articles just before they are printed. I also think that asking direct clients if they want to have another proofreader can make them unsure about the quality of the translator's work. Some may think "She must be a bad translator if she needs another person to do her proofreading."

What are your experiences about that? Do you propose a proofreader to your clients? How do they react? Or you just pay one and don't say?


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Esther Dodo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:28
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
I alway offer this additional service (proofreading) Dec 13, 2014

Chiara Cherubini wrote:

For me there can be different scenarios.

I never use a proofreader if the client is an agency, because I think it is their responsibility to organise the proofreading. There is one agency, though, that always asks me to organise the proofreading by another translator (and pays me accordingly).

For direct clients I always offer this additional service explaining that it means a higher price for them. Some of them - those who are really interested in high quality texts - accept the price which includes the proofreading. Otherwise, I "only" translate and proofread without a second opinion, but they are aware of it.

An exception are texts which I consider particularly challenging and I want to be proofread before sending them to the customer (that was the case especially at the beginning of my career for very technical stuff). In this case I propose a higher price to the customer (in this price I include the cost for the proofreading). If they agree, then I will have the text proofread but I will still get the rate I aimed at.


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Little Woods  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Member
English to Vietnamese
I provide it and notify my client that I wil use a proofreader unless they can arrange one themself Dec 14, 2014

That is how I used to do for a direct client and would do so in the future. As for companies, sometimes I use a proofreader if I am not sure I could produce the best possible quality and need some advice. Then I can consider using their suggestions or not.

[Edited at 2014-12-14 04:49 GMT]


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:28
French to German
+ ...
Proofreader provided by the customer Dec 14, 2014

Some of my customers - especially in industry - also provide their proofreaders themselves.

They have German natives who are working for them and who are not available to translate a big project but who actually do the proofreading.


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Andrea P.
Philippines
Local time: 00:28
Tagalog to Cebuano (Bisayan)
Going extra mile (like proofreading) is customer service Dec 14, 2014

I actually proofread my own work before submitting it to my client. This is to be able correct my mistakes thus providing quality work (result).

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IanDhu  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:28
Member (2005)
French to English
Proofreading and reviewing one's own translation are essential Mar 9

In the light of my experience, a second look by the translator's own self is essential. to watch for mistranslations, mistypes and other blemishes.

The properly language-transfer aspect I was trained to call revision. Assuring quality of the target text in its own right, to my mind, is proofreading.

A case requiring particular attention in this regard is when using speech processing systems: the software's "ear" for distinguishing neighbouring sounds can be disastrously, and even obdurately, inaccurate at times. An example I had to weed from a client's work was "exhibition" instead of the required "expedition".

There are target-language-only proofreading modules such as PerfectIt (Intelligent Editing) which I have found useful for ensuring consistency in punctuation and capitalisation, eliminating double spacing, and the like.

I exhort all my colleagues to go the extra half-mile and review their work before handing it on. It will save heartaches and embarrassment.

I hope this helps.

With kind regards,

Adam Warren (IanDhu - Translator 41189)


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:28
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Never Mar 9

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:
I have been curious lately as to how many freelance translators systematically use the services of a proofreader before sending the text to the client.

My clients (agencies) perform proofreading themselves and send me questions if they have any. Obviously I check my own work but it's not the same as having a third party check it.

Dan


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