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The end of quality?
Thread poster: Robert Rietvelt

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:38
Member (2005)
English to Latvian
+ ...
an example of a common translation mistake in Latvian Dec 4

Mistranslations are often justified as merely unpolished and any objections are simply discounted a matter of style and subjective preference.

It is hard to offer examples that are not language specific, but I think I have a good one.

The sentence Important information to the parents, guardians and carers of children using the system is tricky because Latvian has no word for “of”. The genitive case is used instead therefore the word children should come before parents.

Consequently many lazy translations will sound like this:
Svarīga informācija bērnu, kas lieto sistēmu, vecākiem, aizbildņiem vai aprūpētājiem.
Which approximately corresponds to (1) Important information to children's, who use the system, parents, guardians or carers.

It is quite hard to pinpoint which rule exactly is broken but it is painful to read this. It is worse than typos or wrong grammar. It is not so much that the meaning is lost than obscured. I would say that the main issue here is that the translation disregards the reader.

In Latvian there is no easy way to fix sentences like this. One needs to think deeply about the meaning and express it completely differently.

If a translator had written something like (2) If you are a parent, guardian or carer of a child and the child is using the system, then we have important information for you, some could argue that it is in the wrong style, it is too verbose and the tone is not right. Maybe, but otherwise it is fluent, clear and precise in meaning.

Unfortunately, when trying to lower quality, more often you will get (1) instead of (2). But getting (2) is already most of the effort.


Vesa Korhonen
 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:38
Member (2004)
English to Italian
What we are talking about here... Dec 4

internal information: you do a quick and unpolished job, but still correct... it's up to us, as professional, to make sure the translation is error-free despite its rough form. This is what I mean. I don't see any ethical problems here.

[Edited at 2018-12-04 16:25 GMT]


IrinaN
Sheila Wilson
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:38
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I don't think this observation is supported by the information the OP has provided Dec 4

B D Finch wrote:

Of course, what the client wants isn't really poor quality or "basic level" translation. What they really want is CHEAP translation.


It may well be the case that the end client had a lower budget, and the agency didn't want its translators to earn less per hour while still wanting to have the end client's needs met. Both of them were exploring a possibility that seems exceptional to most of us.


[Edited at 2018-12-04 21:37 GMT]


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 00:38
Chinese to English
All very interesting Dec 5

I definitely fall into the group who just can't do a "half-price" translation. There are some document types where I think I used to be able to - back when I interpreted as well as translated, I could go into a quick gisting mode and gallop through the paragraphs when necessary. I don't seem to be able to do that as well as I used to.

I think everyone agrees that getting the meaning right is the key bit, and for me, that always takes 90% of my translation time. So there usually just isn't any fat to cut away, in terms of "polish". Plus the kind of texts I deal with tend to be legal, with lots of heavy references, and big chunks that aren't actually written in Chinese but translationese because they mirror some American legal concept...

I think in the situations that Chris and Irina describe, there is scope for doing a lot of "quick and dirty" translation; in other situations there isn't. Looking at the OP's situation... the text was "instructions". That suggests some kind of manual or process document. I don't think there's any way to gist those, so I suspect that job should just be avoided.


 

Colleen Roach, Ph.D.
United States
Local time: 08:38
French to English
+ ...
For those saying they will not do proofreading.... Dec 11

I've seen a fair number of PROZ translators state that they simply will not do "proofreading" as usually it amounts to revising horrible machine translations of a text, is poorly paid, and often takes more time than just a "straight" translation. Well ,here's the answer of one agency, very clearly stated. This was in a recent job offer here on PROZ: "Linguists must be willing to both translate and proofread/revise/edit others’ work. We will not accept linguists on a translation-only basis." I suspect that this is fairly common.

 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:38
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Depends what they want proofread Dec 11

Colleen Roach, Ph.D. wrote:

I've seen a fair number of PROZ translators state that they simply will not do "proofreading" as usually it amounts to revising horrible machine translations of a text, is poorly paid, and often takes more time than just a "straight" translation. Well ,here's the answer of one agency, very clearly stated. This was in a recent job offer here on PROZ: "Linguists must be willing to both translate and proofread/revise/edit others’ work. We will not accept linguists on a translation-only basis." I suspect that this is fairly common.


I am happy to proofread the work of a human translator, but not prepared to post-edit MT.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Great news! Dec 11

Colleen Roach, Ph.D. wrote:
"Linguists must be willing to both translate and proofread/revise/edit others’ work. We will not accept linguists on a translation-only basis." I suspect that this is fairly common.

Clearly they're struggling to find enough translators willing to do the dirty work, which suggests that the modern production-line approach where one person cuts the cookies and the next puts them into boxes is breaking down. Good.

Vive la résistance!


Sheila Wilson
Henriette Saffron
Colleen Roach, Ph.D.
Michele Fauble
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:38
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Laying down the law isn't very helpful Dec 11

Colleen Roach, Ph.D. wrote:
This was in a recent job offer here on PROZ: "Linguists must be willing to both translate and proofread/revise/edit others’ work. We will not accept linguists on a translation-only basis."

They won't attract the most experienced translators with the best reputations by laying down the law in that way. They're probably a bottom-feeding agency or at least one that's not easy to work with. But some translators are not currently in a position of being able to pick and choose their jobs. It might be an okay place for beginners to get some all-important early experience. Are beginners the best people to check the work of others? Of course not! But as we know, there are a lot of agencies who don't care about quality. They rely on first-time clients and first-time suppliers. Spread your net widely enough and you can haul in a new lot of unsuspecting newbies tomorrow.

Fortunately, there are still clients out there who prefer long-term collaboration and good quality.


Robert Rietvelt
Michele Fauble
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:38
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good for them ..... Dec 11

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Colleen Roach, Ph.D. wrote:
1) This was in a recent job offer here on PROZ: "Linguists must be willing to both translate and proofread/revise/edit others’ work. We will not accept linguists on a translation-only basis."


2) But as we know, there are a lot of agencies who don't care about quality.

3) Fortunately, there are still clients out there who prefer long-term collaboration and good quality.


1) .... but at the end it is me, and only me who decides to take on a job or not. Furthermore, you can always say you are not available.

2) This worries me the most in our business. Unfortunately it is a two way street. It is a match between translators who don't know their own language (the garbage I have to proof!!!! Kids on grammar school are producing better (grammatical) results) and agencies that are only in it for the money and don't give a .... for quality. It is sad.

I pointed this quality issue out once to an agency, and the answer I got was that as long as the client was not aware of it, there was no problem. Who is going to tell him? This made me feel sick. I urgently had to look for a bucket. (forgive me my French).icon_smile.gif

3) Yes there are. Thank god!

[Edited at 2018-12-11 20:43 GMT]

[Edited at 2018-12-11 20:43 GMT]


Colleen Roach, Ph.D.
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:38
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The end of quality? (update) 09:59

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

I received this message from an agency:


"Hello Robert Rietvelt (ESPANED.COM)

One of our clients wants very basic translations into Dutch for internal use and is asking about some hybrid solution that would be better than simple machine translation. Since we currently do not offer such a service, we were wondering if you could give us your rates and share your experience with such services by answering the questions below:

1) Rate for Post-editing of a machine translation
2) Rate for Lower-quality “basic” unpolished translation for internal use only (not using machine translation)
3) Which tools do you find best for machine translation? What is your experience with post-editing or such lower-quality “basic” translations?
Thank you and best regards,"


Do I read this correctly (number 2), are they really asking me to make a bad translation on purpose? What are basic/unpolished translations anyhow? I wouldn't even know how to make a bad quality translation, at least not on purpose.

What is going on in our translators world?

[Edited at 2018-11-29 16:53 GMT]


Today I received this message from an agency:


"Machine Translation has become the norm in the industry ........
We believe that rolling out MT on the right content, where it will help professional translators to deliver high quality work quicker, is the way to go. ........
You will need the “Translation with MT” skill and a corresponding generic “Translation with MT” rate (75% of your standard translation rate) listed on your profile ........"


I answered them as followed:


"Dear ....

Thank you for your message, quite a story, 75% of my normal rate. Makes me wondering. Does the time I have to spend on an assignment also decrease with 25%? I don't think so. 1 hour still is 60 minutes, not 45. Hence I have an hourly rate for these kind of jobs. After all: Time is money!"


Lets see what is happening.


[Edited at 2018-12-12 10:13 GMT]


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:38
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Use of Trados now generally expected by agencies ?? 12:45

This week I got an offer via my Proz profile from a French agency hitherto unknown to me. Their Blue Board record was small but reasonable.
Having accepted their offer and agreed terms in an exchange of emails, I did the translation and sent it off with my invoice.
I was amazed to receive a brusque email from the PM berating me for not using Trados. She admitted that Trados had never been mentioned in our exchange of emails but told me "Gardez votre traduction. Je vais confier la commande à un de vos collègues". She then proceeded to berate me for not telling her beforehand that I didn't use Trados and said "all professional translators use Trados as a matter of course".
I was furious, of course, but decided to keep my temper and do nothing for the time being.
An hour later, the PM emailed me again saying that exceptionally on this occasion she had obtained permission from her superiors to accept my work and my invoice. I don't yet know, of course, whether my invoice will be paid because it's not strictly due for payment until 31st January 2019. We'll see.
Is it indeed standard practice to assume that translators will use Trados, whether specifically requested or not? I don't think so and I certainly hope not!


 

Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 17:38
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
... 12:53

Jennifer Forbes wrote:
Is it indeed standard practice to assume that translators will use Trados, whether specifically requested or not?


Absolutely not. Sounds like a bad PM.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:38
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Trying to make you pay for her mistakes? 14:06

Jennifer Forbes wrote:
An hour later, the PM emailed me again saying that exceptionally on this occasion she had obtained permission from her superiors to accept my work and my invoice.

It sounds to me as though she really messed things up and then tried to get you to be the scapegoat. I imagine she then realised she wasn't going to get away with it and performed some damage limitation. It is of course quite absurd that you should be required to use a particular piece of software during the translation process, unless you've specifically agreed to use it.


 
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