Mistakes found in your translation - how do you feel? a sort of a quiz for professional translators
Thread poster: Myron Netchypor

Myron Netchypor  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 15:35
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Feb 7, 2003

A sort of a quiz

Or how do you feel after receiving from client\'s proofreader a list of your mistakes:

1. pangs of conscience

2. you say it\'s normal (i.e. nobody is perfect on the face of earth )

3. in course of 5 minutes you speak of proofreader using strongly vulgar word combinations, and then write to client that you \"hold in high respect the point of view of his proofreader, but...\"

4. something else to your choice



Ps: answers like:

Mistakes, What\'s this?

I have never made a mistake in my life!

Proofreader is always right!

are not accepted





[ This Message was edited byn2003-02-07 10:14]

[ This Message was edited by:on2003-02-07 10:19]


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:35
Dutch to English
+ ...
Mistakes Feb 7, 2003

It depends on the mistakes.



If they are typos, I hold my head in shame and look for a stone to creep under.



But they could also be preferences. For example, I hate the word client so I only use it when talking about solicitors. Everywhere else I use customer. If my customer tells me the proofreader prefers client, I just say OK, and use client from then on.



If the deadline was tight then a certain degree of mistakes (say, 5%) is allowed and you should just apologize and implement the corrections (if that is what they require). I always include a disclaimer to this effect when the deadline was not really humanly possible. I do not offer a discount unless it really is bad.



We all have our blind spots and you should try to make a list of these and check your document afterwards or, even better, have someone else check it who knows what your blind spots are.


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Arthur Borges
China
Local time: 20:35
English
+ ...
Well Myron, Feb 7, 2003

Doubts keep coming back to me for weeks over some clumsy term I patched together out of last-minute desperaton, but in the end it sharpens the mind because I don\'t really rest till the right term clicks into place.



I guilt most over typos: there\'s no excuse for \'em.



My worst mistakes are mostly over terms I am \"dead sure\" about. For years, for example, I had somehow gotten the idea that \"à l\'instar de X\" meant \"behind X\'s back\". Then I went back through all my neurons wondering how many clients I\'d inflicted that upon.



Then there was a day in the interpreting booth when, after arriving without a scrap of documentation, one of the speakers threw \"ticket modérateur\" at me. Well, pressed for time, I just blurped out \"moderating ticket\" to everyone\'s quiet mystification -- except the speaker\'s. Twenty minutes after it was all over, the term \"co-payment\" quietly stepped out of some dark recess with a clever little smile on its face. I had known it, it should\'ve popped it, I could blame the speaker -- oh well, who\'s at bat next?

Then there are authors who get uneasy when you use terms they\'ve never seen or won\'t believe that \"actuellement\" does NOT become \"actually\" but \"currently\". I try to plead for \"presently\" but sometimes, heck, you have to weigh in the fact that the client needs a document that boosts, and does not undermine, her/his self-confidence.

I suppose it\'s like bloopers in other facets of daily living: the important thing is to learn and move on to the next mistake ASAP instead of repeating the same one: I\'m not on earth to cash in on my right to the \'pursuit of happiness\', only just to walk out a little smarter than when I, uh, plopped in.


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 14:35
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
4 A translator delivers and gets paid for his/her best - period! Feb 7, 2003

nothing more and nothing less.



I.e.:

The role of the translator to apply all his knowledge, experience and tools to the translation.

Of course it includes perfection to the extent he is capable of (no typos, correct native grammar and - hopefully the knowledge of the subject at hand)



But that it is it!



1. S/he cannot and should not proofread.

2. S/he cannot produce the language of an

inhouse translator, i.e. style changes is

up to the customer (agency or client)

3. S/he should not pay for so-called editing.



No customer should expect perfection from a translator. Perfection can only be achieved in a collaboration between translator, proofreader, DTP staff and the the client.



If the agency or client thinks the quality is not acceptable: Draw conclusions.

1. \"Should we use this guy next time\"?

2. Should we hire a proofreader for this subject?

3. Should we prepare the job differently?

4. Should we procure better reference material?

5. Should we give the tranlator more time for this type of text?

etc.



And the translator should know that these deliberations might be taken into consideration.



Mats J C Wiman

Übersetzer/Translator/Traducteur/Traductor > swe

http://www.MatsWiman.com

http://www.Deutsch-Schwedisch.com

http://www.proz.com/translator/1749 Deu>swe Proz.com moderator

eMail: MatsWiman@swipnet.se

Träsk 201

SE-872 97 Skog

Tel : +46-612-54112

Fax : +46-612-54181

Mobile: +46-70-5769797





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Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 18:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
You said it Feb 7, 2003

Thank you so much for the excellent response.



You virtually snathed the words from my mouth.



I always feel that a translation should be checked by another colleague before submitting.



Regards,

Telef

English- Spanish - French- Portuguese Translator


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Massimo Lencioni  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:35
English to Italian
+ ...
perfect translations? Feb 7, 2003

As a translator I do aim for perfect translations, and I would never tell a client or agency that they should expect any less from me. Whenever they spot errors in work I have delivered, I look into it and either try to convince them why it should not be considered as an error (maybe the glossary they provided contained some erroneous term that I therefore had to force myself to use, or maybe I think I can convince them that my interpretation is better than theirs...) OR simply fess up to my mistakes and will try to learn from them for future jobs. But I won\'t say: oh well, you can hardly expect perfection from me...



What if you take on a job from a direct client? Some company that doesn\'t have a clue about your target language, but simply needs a letter translated into one of their customers\' native language, or they want to offer their website in multiple languages, even though their company has nothing to do with the field of language and translation, and therefore has no way to judge the quality of the translation? What they do is search for someone who calls him/herself a professional translator, and assume that this means that the work this person will produce will be fit for publication or distribution. How should they \'know\' that all they will receive is some \'concept translation\' that will need additional work? And if they somehow find out that the translated text contains errors or causes them problems, don\'t they have the right to complain about this to the translator? Why would our profession be different from e.g. that of a medical doctor in this respect? Doctors are only humans as well, and therefore not error free. But if they cut of your left leg instead of your right leg, you won\'t accept it if they say: oh well, mistakes are all in the game... They take responsability, or at least they are expected to. So I believe the same goes for us.



Katja


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Sarah Ferrara  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:35
Italian to English
Direct clients Feb 8, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-02-07 16:18, L&DV wrote:

What if you take on a job from a direct client? Some company that doesn\'t have a clue about your target language, but simply needs a letter translated into one of their customers\' native language, or they want to offer their website in multiple languages, even though their company has nothing to do with the field of language and translation, and therefore has no way to judge the quality of the translation? What they do is search for someone who calls him/herself a professional translator, and assume that this means that the work this person will produce will be fit for publication or distribution. How should they \'know\' that all they will receive is some \'concept translation\' that will need additional work? And if they somehow find out that the translated text contains errors or causes them problems, don\'t they have the right to complain about this to the translator? Why would our profession be different from e.g. that of a medical doctor in this respect? Doctors are only humans as well, and therefore not error free. But if they cut of your left leg instead of your right leg, you won\'t accept it if they say: oh well, mistakes are all in the game... They take responsability, or at least they are expected to. So I believe the same goes for us.

Katja





Mats\' comments are valid in the context of working for an agency. I think the rules change when you start working for direct clients. Obviously you will charge the direct client more than you would an agency: this is to cover costs of proofreading, checking and editing, which the translator will arrange and pay for instead of the agency. The only way to achieve a truly excellent result is for several people to work together on the same document: translator, proofreader and/or editor. No translation should be delivered without being proofread or edited by a second professional: who actually organises this work is irrelevant.

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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:35
English to French
Perfect? What's that? Feb 8, 2003

Who said \"perfect\"? Hum. Is anything perfect in this world? Does it mean it couldn\'t be any better? Ridiculous. It could always be better.



What I feel concerned with, when translating, is to provide my client with a translation that can be used for the intended purpose. Obviously, typos, poor style, ... are bad things that should be avoided, but they are not decisive items.



To me, translation quality is not \"how many spelling mistakes? How many this or that?...\". The real test for a translation is whether or not the translation can be used for its intended purpose.



Does it communicate what the author meant? Can people of the target language use it (and react to it) just as if they had been able to read the original?



Of course, too many typos would defeat the purpose of the translation by distracting the reader and spoiling the client\'s image. But frankly, typos or not is not what quality is about.



I believe that a translator translate. He does not pass an exam. He just translate, that is, communicate what the author said, as he said it. The proofreader is not an examiner responsible to pass or flunk a translator. He is a guy working along with the translator to create a good translation.



It\'s basic, and yet so often violated, that some start believing the proofreader\'s purpose is to report on how good or how bad you are.



So, Yes, I curse hell when someone shows me I have done some typos - bless me, no one ever complained I misinterpreted a document - Boy, do I hate that! But as long as my job can be used \"as is\" for the intended purpose, I will be able to look in the mirror and smile.



Sylvain Galibert





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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:35
German to English
+ ...
Good comments, Sylvain Feb 8, 2003

Speaking for myself, with one or two valued exceptions, I don\'t get ENOUGH feedback from my customers.



Marc


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Myron Netchypor  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 15:35
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Agree Feb 8, 2003

Sylvain is right in some way. Nobody is perfect. Being human deprives us such a wonderful possibility

[ This Message was edited by:on2003-02-08 21:01]


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Leopoldo Gurman
Argentina
Local time: 09:35
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Absolutely Perfect! Apr 2, 2005

Myron Netchypor wrote:

Sylvain is right in some way. Nobody is perfect. Being human deprives us such a wonderful possibility

[ This Message was edited by:on2003-02-08 21:01]


Someone said that we´re perfectly ourselves (no one can be more perfect at being yourself than you are =:)
Anyhow, being deprived of such a wonderful possibility as being perfect, in the previously used sense, allows us to work professionally (some are less perfect than others at certain jobs =:)
I make mistakes, but I try my best not to, and I try my best to learn from them. This reminds me of the "competence posting" in this fourm. People who know that can be wrong usually are more carefull, and that usually pays off =:)
When in doubt, I ask. To peers, to the client, to my pillow =:) I not always get the best answers, but I try.
Clients who spot mistakes and tell you about them are a bliss. If they continue to work with you it means that they understand that you´re human and that they can help to improve your skills; if they don´t continue to work with you, at least you know exactly why and what not to do next time.
Regards!


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Myron Netchypor  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 15:35
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Apr 2, 2005

Leopoldo Gurman wrote:

Clients who spot mistakes and tell you about them are a bliss. If they continue to work with you it means that they understand that you´re human and that they can help to improve your skills; if they don´t continue to work with you, at least you know exactly why and what not to do next time.
Regards!




Thanks! The case was almost two years ago in 2003. But I'm still working with this agency. Then I suddenly apprehended that it is very useful for me, when somebody shows me my mistakes. I wrote a letter to my editor with appreciation of her work, and asked her to feel free to point me out at my mistakes, and it was sincere. Now we are the best friends. The same is and in our common life. We must be grateful to those people who correct us - if it is fair correction, and if the correction is unfair - it is such a great possibility to improve oneself in the way of patience and insight.


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