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The fear of rereading a translation after you've sent it
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
May 21, 2015

After working long and hard to make a translation perfect, and sending it off to the client, I'm always frightened to read it the next day (tempting though this is) in case I find a mistake I hadn't noticed.

Do you have this fear?


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Aaron Schwarz
Japan
Local time: 16:35
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
No, I don't. May 21, 2015

After I have sent it is when I do my best editing.

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Agnes Lenkey  Identity Verified
German to Spanish
+ ...
Oh yes May 21, 2015

Oh yes, Tom, I feel exactly the same.

Pretty strange, isn't it?

But it happens to me all the time. Even after doing my best.

I feel more comfortable if I have to do a reverse translation for one of my direct clients, because than it was already revised by my proofreader and revised again by me.

But generally I experience this strange fear, too. And hate to have a look at the translation if it is not absolutely necessary for some reason. And then I think of my mother, who says that she could never be a translator, because she would never ever be sure if she made the right choice of words - there are so many ways to express yourself. And to some extent all these ways seem to be less valuable than the language that was originally used.

Saludos,

Agnes


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:35
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Not a fear, exactly... May 21, 2015

Tom in London wrote:
Do you have this fear?


No, but it can be interesting (and a learning experience) to reproofread files that you've delivered two or three years ago.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:35
Russian to English
+ ...
Exams only. May 21, 2015

I never checked to the answers after an exam, to the questions that I remembered, until I got the results.

[Edited at 2015-05-21 12:24 GMT]


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Whenever I can May 21, 2015

I always plan to read it (even ask for edited version with track changes, which I sometimes actually get) and update TM accordingly. Helas, not always possible. If a new project drops in, there is no time to go back to the previous one.

Long answer short, I always read my translations once sent, whenever I can.

I call it "continious learning process". Or should we be ashaimed today because we may become a tiny bit better tomorrow?


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jlrsnyder  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:35
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Not me May 21, 2015

After one job is done, it's on to the next. The deadlines loom. No time to ruminate on the past.

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Caroline Lakey  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:35
French to English
Yes, absolutely! May 21, 2015

I'm exactly the same as you Tom. It doesn't matter how many times I've checked a translation, or how much I've edited it, I'm always sure that if I look back I'll find some glaring error.
I don't think it's a reflection on translation ability or work quality, I see it more as a personality thing.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:35
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Multiply that... May 21, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:

Tom in London wrote:
Do you have this fear?


No, but it can be interesting (and a learning experience) to reproofread files that you've delivered two or three years ago.


About ten years ago, during a major office cleanup, I recall having found my very first professional (I got paid for them) translations, done... in 1973! I was overwhelmed to discover that the 'promising beginner' fulfilled that promise. While in all these years I had my full share of goofs, I wouldn't change anything in those early translations of mine.

Perhaps the reason is that I never took a translation job that I was not (and couldn't get timely) prepared to do, staying always on the safe side. Nevertheless it took me decades to write and publish - on my web site - a list of (five, so far) broad areas of human knowledge where I'll say 'no' before perusing the material.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:35
Hebrew to English
You can drive yourself crazy doing that May 21, 2015

If you're like me and there's always another word you can tweak or a sentence you can rejig (for the 100th time - making absolutely no discernible difference).

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Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:35
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Used to May 21, 2015

Sounds so familiar...
I used to have this fear but then I realised that we all are humans and mistakes may happen to anyone. This is why I always welcome editors' work - two pairs of eyes is always better than just one. Also, whenever sending out my work, I ask to look through it and feel free for any questions or doubts, making myself available for several hours the following day.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Not the only May 21, 2015

It's reassuring to learn that I'm not the only one who has this fear. Like jlrsnyder I'm usually too busy to go back and re-read, but sometimes I'm so pleased with a translation that I can't resist going back to savour it again, a day or two after I've delivered it. That's when I find some stupid mistake - probably a minor typo, a misplaced comma, or something. The feeling I get is described in idiomatic English as "having egg on my face" followed by a need to "eat a large slice of humble pie".

[Edited at 2015-05-21 14:50 GMT]


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:35
English to German
+ ...
To comfort you May 21, 2015

As you know there is no such thing as perfection.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
I know May 21, 2015

Gudrun Wolfrath wrote:

As you know there is no such thing as perfection.


It's one of my favourite Salvador Dalì quotes. "Do not strive for perfection. You wil never attain it".


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:35
French to English
+ ...
Inevitable May 21, 2015

Tom in London wrote:
Do you have this fear?


Definitely. And frequently when I'm referring to one previous translation as a reference for another, it occurs to me, "if only I'd thought of such-and-such an expression, that would have sounded better".

But... I think you have to tell yourself is that translations are performed under real-world conditions. Given infinite time, there is always some extra little improvement you could make...


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