Using translations in a TM provided by a client?
Thread poster: Mark Sanderson

Mark Sanderson  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 15:02
Chinese to English
Sep 8, 2015

Hello,

I recently worked on a case where the PM provided a TM and told me to follow it. There were a few items in this TM that were a little bit strange, however as I had been told to follow it I duly did as I was told.

This morning I received my translation back, and the reviewer had changed the slightly-strange segments that were in the original TM, therefore making me look like a bit of an idiot with red tracked changes all over my translation.

The question is: should I have changed these segments myself and created a comment in the segment? I knew they were strange, but I just left them.

I haven't taken this any further with the PM as she has accepted the reviewer's changes and moved on. However, I do feel like this sort of case has the potential to occur again, so I want to be prepared for the next time.

Your thoughts and advice on this matter would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Mark


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:02
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
This happens very often to me Sep 8, 2015

and this is why I hate using somebody else's TMs. I always correct bad translations despite such instructions and indicate that I did and that the TM was nonsense.

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Joseph Tein  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:02
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Discuss it with the PM Sep 8, 2015

Next time this happens (you get an assignment and are told to use the client's TM) ask the PM how she/he wants you to handle the translation when you disagree with the TM. I've done it both ways: changed the TM when it's obvious to me that it's wrong, and left a comment, or wrote the PM a note saying "I don't agree with this, it should be ... " and leave the translation as-is. I think the best approach is to communicate with your PM.

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ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:02
Member
German to English
+ ...
Point it out Sep 8, 2015

Hi Mark

I would say something to the PM now about the translation that you did and point out that you were asked to use the segments in the TM even though you believed that they were wrong, otherwise they may doubt your professionalism.

Next time, send the PM some examples of bad translation segments in the TM as you are actually doing the translation, highlighting the errors and explaining why they are wrong. Ask if you should correct them or not. The onus is then on the PM.

I have had trouble with external TMs - I have corrected them and the client doesn't like it. I haven't corrected them and the client doesn't like it either. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. That's why I find it best to point things out as you are doing the actual translation to be safe.

Ian


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:02
English to Dutch
+ ...
A very, very common issue Sep 8, 2015

This happens *all the time*.
When you come across doubtful translations in a TM, report it immediately to your PM and ask for instructions. Then do as you're told, so you're in the clear.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:02
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nope Sep 8, 2015

I prefer not to use anyone's TMs but my own and although the occasion has never arisen, I doubt if I'd accept the work under those conditions... unless I was desperate for the work, which, thankfully, I'm usually not these days.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:02
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Communications Sep 8, 2015

I have received some excellent TMs and been really grateful for the help from clients I know and trust.

But like you, I have also seen segments that were wrong, at least in my new context, or perhaps outdated. Legislation changes, new governments re-name all the ministries, every subject area has new developments, and if all else fails, errors get into TMs.

I simply do not accept TMs from clients I don't know well - I prefer my own. When I do use clients' TMs, I add penalties in the setup, to give priority to the specialist TM or downgrade the one I trust least. (Which may be my own if I know a trusted client has an updated TM.)
I don't update my own TM automatically, but sometimes do so after delivering.

If I am going to put my name to a translation, I deliver it as I think it should be, but flag any departures from the TM.

Otherwise the errors are perpetuated, but if you flag them, the client can correct them in their master-copy of the TM.
That doesn't mean they will, but it shows you know what you are doing, and importantly, you are asserting yourself as an intelligent partner, not just a junior 'employee'.

These are the little ways we can demand respect for our profession, and justify charging a professional fee...


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 14:02
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Non-professional TM Sep 8, 2015

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

This happens *all the time*.
When you come across doubtful translations in a TM, report it immediately to your PM and ask for instructions. Then do as you're told, so you're in the clear.


Yes.
In my recent medical translation review job, a physician gave non-professional comments and the TM was badly revised. I finally show the medical translation quality management standard to the client to complete the job: Review and TM should be from competent professionals only.

Soonthon L.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:02
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Simply point it out Sep 8, 2015

Mark Sanderson wrote:
This morning I received my translation back, and the reviewer had changed the slightly-strange segments that were in the original TM, therefore making me look like a bit of an idiot with red tracked changes all over my translation.


The reviewer often does not consult the TM while reviewing your translation, so they take your translation at face value. It's nobody's fault, but if you're concerned that the client might think you're not a good translator, then I'd say: point out to the client that "most" of the reviewer's changes related to the style of the original TM, which you were told to follow.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 15:02
Chinese to English
Don't submit something you're not happy with Sep 9, 2015

I have a rule which I stick to 99% of the time: I don't give anything to the client unless I'm happy with it. This is why I don't do proofreading, incidentally. Even if the client gives me a TM, I will only follow it when it's right.

Of course, my rule can cause friction with clients sometimes, so it's not a cure all. You might find that another approach works better for you, but in our pair, I find this to be the best general rule to use. There is just too much bad material out there. It's not like European languages, where there's a body of high quality reference translations to use. We're building it up from nothing!


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