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What does "revision" entail?
Thread poster: walkabout

walkabout  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 21, 2015

I've been in this business for a few years now, but today, and new agency has thrown me into doubt about what "revision" actually is.

Is "revision" comparing the source text with the target text and making sure the previously done translation is correct? OR, is "revision" reading over the target text only (without the source text) and making sure all is grammatically correct, proper sounding, the "T"s are crossed and the "I"s are dotted?


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
The latter Oct 21, 2015

walkabout wrote:

I've been in this business for a few years now, but today, and new agency has thrown me into doubt about what "revision" actually is.

Is "revision" comparing the source text with the target text and making sure the previously done translation is correct? OR, is "revision" reading over the target text only (without the source text) and making sure all is grammatically correct, proper sounding, the "T"s are crossed and the "I"s are dotted?


As low as I'm concerned, revision corresponds to the latter definition. I do a lot of it, mainly academic scientific articles for publication written in English by non-native authors. In fact, in these cases there is often no L1 version available, as the authors have produced the material themselves directly (nowadays often with glaringly obvious use of MT such as Google translate, which can given rise to some amusing results). Some people call it post-editing and although proofreading sounds good, apparently there is more to it than just revising or improving the text, so I avoid using that to describe what I do.


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 04:43
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
The former Oct 21, 2015

When you proofread, you ensure the text (which is not necessarily a translation) is free of spelling, grammar, punctuation or stylistic errors.

When you revise, you compare the target text with the source text and ensure the translation is accurate and appropriate. Usually you proofread it as well.


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:43
Member
Italian to English
Ask the agency Oct 21, 2015

I was recently offered a revision job, and presumed it was what neilmac refers to. But when I asked for clarification, they actually intended the former, "comparing the source text with the target text and making sure the previously done translation is correct".

So my advice would be to ask the agency; I suspect it varies depending on who you talk to!


 

Georgia Morgan  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:43
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
Making sure it's correct Oct 21, 2015

I find they normally mean the latter. Making sure the translation is correct involves looking to see that they have translated the original correctly, and agencies nearly always send me the original in Portuguese so I can do this. Who else is going to do this, if not the proofreader/revisor?

 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:43
English to German
+ ...
Be careful Oct 21, 2015

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

I was recently offered a revision job, and presumed it was what neilmac refers to. But when I asked for clarification, they actually intended the former, "comparing the source text with the target text and making sure the previously done translation is correct".

So my advice would be to ask the agency; I suspect it varies depending on who you talk to!


Although I think that revision of a translation (not a monolingual text) surely can't be done without looking at the original text, I also suggest one should ask the agency about what they want or tell them what needs to be done. Having said that, I always ask for the original text when it comes to proofreading, reviewing, editing or revision because you can't be sure what is required to "correct/improve" the translation without it. Only after you see the OT and the TT can you really assess that. So even if the agency thinks/says that the translation just needs a small revision, it should be you who decides what is needed and then react accordingly (accept or reject the project and, if you accept, calculate an adequate fee).

[Edited at 2015-10-21 14:36 GMT]


 

walkabout  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Revising, revising, hmmm Oct 21, 2015

To start with, I think "revising" is absolute rubbish, a lack of respect to a professional - NO doctor revises another doctor's advice or prescriptions, NO architect revises another architect's plans, NO plumbers revise the work of others, etc... Absolute nonsense! But.... I need the cash, so let's continue with B.S.

Mikhail, if what you say is the case, then if the translation is badly done, my "revision" could turn out to be almost as time consuming as a straight-out translation, sometimes even more given the extreme low quality of some. Strangely, revisions are paid at about half the value of translations.

In the "revision" that you mention, would I actually make the corrections (that is, practically re-translate and re-cast the sentence), or simply indicate that "this is erroneous"?


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 04:43
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Don't shoot the messenger Oct 21, 2015

walkabout wrote:

To start with, I think "revising" is absolute rubbish, a lack of respect to a professional - NO doctor revises another doctor's advice or prescriptions, NO architect revises another architect's plans, NO plumbers revise the work of others, etc... Absolute nonsense! But.... I need the cash, so let's continue with B.S.

Mikhail, if what you say is the case, then if the translation is badly done, my "revision" could turn out to be almost as time consuming as a straight-out translation, sometimes even more given the extreme low quality of some. Strangely, revisions are paid at about half the value of translations.

In the "revision" that you mention, would I actually make the corrections (that is, practically re-translate and re-cast the sentence), or simply indicate that "this is erroneous"?


You asked a straight question and it seems like you got straight answers from several pros. Sure, they contradict each other, but each one is unambiguous on its own. Use them for what they're worth.

When I quote on projects, I define each type of service I offer so my customer knows what's what and can choose accordingly.

How you negotiate with your customers, including definitions, rates, deadlines and other terms of cooperation, is entirely up to you. I would not presume to advise you on any part of it.


 

walkabout  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not shooting the messenger ;-) Oct 21, 2015

Sorry, I didn't mean it to come over like an insult. Far from shooting the messengers, I did get excellent answers and there might possibly be more to come, after which I will thank all involved. The enormous insult, as I see it, is toward our profession.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Pobody's nerfect Oct 21, 2015

walkabout wrote:

To start with, I think "revising" is absolute rubbish, a lack of respect to a professional - NO doctor revises another doctor's advice or prescriptions, NO architect revises another architect's plans, NO plumbers revise the work of others, etc... Absolute nonsense! But.... I need the cash, so let's continue with B.S.


I beg to differ. My Brit builder mates are forever righting the wrongs and disasters perpetrated by Spanish plumbers and the like, for whom cutting corners and using shoddy materials seem to be a way of life. I'd also venture that there are many inept people working as "translators" out there, producing rubbish texts which subsequently need a good going over by a competent professional. So let's all climb down off our high horses and admit to being only human and therefore fallible.

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/proof-reading.html

The above link defines "proofreading" as "Careful reading (and rereading) of a (yet to be finally-printed) document, to detect any errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar. " This is basically what I do with texts by foreign authors, but we call it "revision".

If the texts happen to be translated and the original L1 version is available, then I might check the translated text against it, but not always. It depends on the subject area and my knowledge of it. Occasionally, when revising monolingual articles by non-native authors, I might have to query the content or some odd term used with the editorial team and/or the authors, but not very often.

For example, just the other day I had to ask about the use of "lasted" here:

"PCR program included three steps: initial denaturation at 95°C for 3 minutes; denaturation at 95°C for 30 seconds, followed by annealing at 45°C for 30 seconds and lasted by extension at 72°C for 1 minute (35 cycles);"

I passed the query on to the editorial team and if they can't decide what it's supposed to mean, they will then contact the author and ask him directly.



[Edited at 2015-10-21 15:24 GMT]


 

walkabout  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What comes cheap ends up expensive... Oct 21, 2015

I think the problem is with the people who hire shoddy, cheapo translators. This only serves to give everyone in the profession a bad reputation. That's why no agency or client trusts us further than they can throw us. It's now assumed normal that ALL translations need a revision (I'm not talking about proofreading - this is a necessary step).

If I had the choice (economically I don't), I would refuse any revisions that clients want me to do with the rubbish translation they paid for and let them embarrass themselves publishing it. In this way, hopefully, little by little, we can regain the prestige our profession deserves, and which it once had hundreds and thousands of years back.


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:43
Member
Italian to English
A TRANSLATOR IS NOT A PLUMBER Oct 21, 2015

walkabout wrote:

To start with, I think "revising" is absolute rubbish, a lack of respect to a professional - NO doctor revises another doctor's advice or prescriptions, NO architect revises another architect's plans, NO plumbers revise the work of others, etc... Absolute nonsense!


*deep breath* A TRANSLATOR IS NOT A PLUMBER! CAN WE PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE STOP COMPARING THE TWO? And before you say "Caps lock... you're shouting!" well, yes, yes I am. Plumbers are not translators. Translators are not plumbers. There are so many differences between the two, I'm not sure where to begin.

So let's talk about European quality standard EN-15038:2006, shall we?? Yes!

"Broadly speaking, the standard's most outstanding features are firstly, that it defines the translation process where quality is guaranteed not by the translation which is just one phase in the process, but by the fact of the translation being reviewed by a person other than the translator and secondly, it specifies the professional competences of each of the participants in the translation process, mainly translators, reviewers, revisers and proofreaders.

Any translation service under EN-15038 must include as a minimum, translation and review."

Still think revision is "nonsense"?

http://qualitystandard.bs.en-15038.com/



[Edited at 2015-10-21 16:58 GMT]


 

walkabout  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Standards Oct 21, 2015

The Euro Standards Boys can slap together whatever they like for their rules and regulations, while they're at it they should also write up some plumbing standards!icon_biggrin.gif

To me nothing beats a well done translation followed by an independent proofread (without the ST).


 

walkabout  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... and thanks for all the input, I have som good answers. Oct 21, 2015

.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
...and favour Oct 21, 2015

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:


So let's talk about European quality standard EN-15038:2006, shall we?? Yes!

"Broadly speaking, the standard's most outstanding features are firstly, that it defines the translation process where quality is guaranteed not by the translation which is just one phase in the process, but by the fact of the translation being reviewed by a person other than the translator and secondly, it specifies the professional competences of each of the participants in the translation process, mainly translators, reviewers, revisers and proofreaders.

Any translation service under EN-15038 must include as a minimum, translation and review."

Still think revision is "nonsense"?

http://qualitystandard.bs.en-15038.com/



[Edited at 2015-10-21 16:58 GMT]


Thanks for summing that up so nicely.
Food for thought… as it happens, not all of my translations comply with EN-15038:2006... Perhaps I should start charging extra for the ones that do?icon_smile.gif


 
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