Poll: Have your translations ever been marked as poor by a non-native proofreader?
מפרסם התגובה: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 11:43
צוות האתר
Aug 1, 2018

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have your translations ever been marked as poor by a non-native proofreader?".

This poll was originally submitted by esther tanuadji. View the poll results »



 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
ארצות הברית
Local time: 11:43
חבר (2003)
מספרדית לאנגלית
+ ...
No, but ... Aug 1, 2018

I've had feedback from "proofreaders" that didn't make a bit of sense.

I no longer work for agencies that expect me to respond to proofreaders' comments, most of which consist of "dumbing down" technical terms. Or asking me to translate words like street names. While I'm open to constructive criticism, the process usually takes up too much of my time. I regard my translations as "works for hire." As long as you pay me, you are free to do what you want with my work.

[Edited a
... See more
I've had feedback from "proofreaders" that didn't make a bit of sense.

I no longer work for agencies that expect me to respond to proofreaders' comments, most of which consist of "dumbing down" technical terms. Or asking me to translate words like street names. While I'm open to constructive criticism, the process usually takes up too much of my time. I regard my translations as "works for hire." As long as you pay me, you are free to do what you want with my work.

[Edited at 2018-08-01 08:22 GMT]
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Angus Stewart
Ricardo Suin
neilmac
Anja Hajek
Hannah Haynes
Laura Nagle
Mario Freitas
 

Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 18:43
חבר (2011)
מצרפתית לאנגלית
+ ...
Yes Aug 1, 2018

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

I've had feedback from "proofreaders" that didn't make a bit of sense.


I answered yes, because I have had translations proofread by proofreaders who were natives of a different variant of English than the one I had been instructed to translate into, which I class under the heading of them being a "non-native proofreader". It has the tendency to lead to the potential for a lot of misunderstandings, as in my experience they tend not to have a good insight into the differences that exist between the various variants of English. I have once parted ways with an agency client over this issue, because the said misunderstandings lead to a lot of fall outs all round and it was going to be more hassle than it was worth trying to educate them.


Irena Misic
Aïcha Louzir
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
צרפת
Local time: 19:43
חבר (2018)
מצרפתית לאנגלית
...unfortunately yes Aug 1, 2018

But I always stick to my guns. It's inevitable when your clients are not the best placed to judge your work.

 

Teresa Borges
פורטוגל
Local time: 18:43
חבר (2007)
מאנגלית לפורטוגזית
+ ...
No Aug 1, 2018

They didn’t say it was poor but a few years back one of my long-standing customers (a Japanese company) picked a Spanish proofreader for the texts I translate (I translate exclusively into European Portuguese) and it took some time and a LOT of emails back and forth for him to understand that Spanish and Portuguese, though related, are quite different… On another instance a proofreader replaced the Portuguese verb “hesitar” by “exitar” (for those who don’t speak Portuguese a correc... See more
They didn’t say it was poor but a few years back one of my long-standing customers (a Japanese company) picked a Spanish proofreader for the texts I translate (I translate exclusively into European Portuguese) and it took some time and a LOT of emails back and forth for him to understand that Spanish and Portuguese, though related, are quite different… On another instance a proofreader replaced the Portuguese verb “hesitar” by “exitar” (for those who don’t speak Portuguese a correct verb was turned into a nonexistent verb). Most of my translations are proofread in-house and my clients know this (and pay for it). I work with a few translation agencies that have their own proofreaders but over the years we developed a very pleasant and fruitful relationship. One of these agencies (the only one, I must admit) even sends the proofread files for my final approval.Collapse


perledelune
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
ספרד
Local time: 19:43
מספרדית לאנגלית
+ ...
No Aug 1, 2018

I'm saying no, but a proofreader for just about the only agency I still work for nowadays queried some of my lexical choices and turns of phrase sometime in the past year. I don't know whether the proofreader was a native English speaker or not, but they didn't quibble when I justified my terms and usage.
This agency always lets me see any comments and changes made by the proofreaders anyway, and provides me with a query sheet along with their purchase order, in case I need to ask about an
... See more
I'm saying no, but a proofreader for just about the only agency I still work for nowadays queried some of my lexical choices and turns of phrase sometime in the past year. I don't know whether the proofreader was a native English speaker or not, but they didn't quibble when I justified my terms and usage.
This agency always lets me see any comments and changes made by the proofreaders anyway, and provides me with a query sheet along with their purchase order, in case I need to ask about any of the content they send me to translate and/or revise. I don't usually get any negative feedback from them, and if I do, it is usually justified.

[Edited at 2018-08-01 10:25 GMT]
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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
דנמרק
Local time: 19:43
חבר (2003)
מדנית לאנגלית
+ ...
I had to laugh... Aug 1, 2018

The source text was a highly idiomatic piece of Danish, and I had really made an effort to write a similarly idiomatic English text, to catch the flavour.
A proofreader replaced the proverbs with literal translations...

I appealed to the PM, who knew me quite well and had actually chosen me because she knew I would enjoy the job, and she sorted it out.

Probably there have been other occasions, but I don't remember them all. I explain, and regular clients know I am
... See more
The source text was a highly idiomatic piece of Danish, and I had really made an effort to write a similarly idiomatic English text, to catch the flavour.
A proofreader replaced the proverbs with literal translations...

I appealed to the PM, who knew me quite well and had actually chosen me because she knew I would enjoy the job, and she sorted it out.

Probably there have been other occasions, but I don't remember them all. I explain, and regular clients know I am incorrigible.
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perledelune
 

Justin Peterson  Identity Verified
ספרד
Local time: 19:43
חבר (2007)
מספרדית לאנגלית
Oh, God, yes. Unfortunately. Very common in Spain. Lots of Spanish "experts" in English Aug 1, 2018

I'm surprised more translators have not had this experience.

In Spain it is quite common for clients who think they know English to "correct" professional translations. It is often maddening. And really insulting to the translator, showing a lack of respect for his work.

One classic case: I once had an irate client complain that I had totally misunderstood and mistranslated "sus labores", referring to a housewife or homemaker. I opted for "homemaker" as the transla
... See more
I'm surprised more translators have not had this experience.

In Spain it is quite common for clients who think they know English to "correct" professional translations. It is often maddening. And really insulting to the translator, showing a lack of respect for his work.

One classic case: I once had an irate client complain that I had totally misunderstood and mistranslated "sus labores", referring to a housewife or homemaker. I opted for "homemaker" as the translation, and he assumed this term referred to a builder. When I explained the term, he never admitted his ignorance, or apologised. That is probably the worst aspect of all - the lack of apologies and rectification in these kinds of cases.

A common dynamic in Spain is a non-native with the highest level of English at his office. Over time he comes to believe that his English is much better than it is, because it is better than that of his colleagues. These people start correcting translations, writing things in English and asking for a "quick proofread" when they are full of errors, etc.

I once had one of these people completely butcher a magazine issue I had translated. With my name on it as the translator. I had to tell them that either this person stopped meddling with my translations, or I wouldn't work for them any longer.

I could go on and on. Unfortunately.
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Hannah Haynes
Ester Vidal
Natalia Pedrosa
Ada Mirasol Navarro
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:43
מצרפתית לאנגלית
Non-native proofreading Aug 1, 2018

Proofreading done by a non-native can be useful, as a penultimate stage when reviewing a document to check for coherence with the source text. However, the final proofread really ought to be done by someone who is a native speaker of the target text language. I am only too aware that I a not perfect, that another pair of eyes can pick up points where what seems obvious and clear to me might not be so unequivocally evident to a third party. Last year, a 5-page text I had translated for an agency ... See more
Proofreading done by a non-native can be useful, as a penultimate stage when reviewing a document to check for coherence with the source text. However, the final proofread really ought to be done by someone who is a native speaker of the target text language. I am only too aware that I a not perfect, that another pair of eyes can pick up points where what seems obvious and clear to me might not be so unequivocally evident to a third party. Last year, a 5-page text I had translated for an agency had been proofread in-house by a fellow native speaker of British English and then sent on to the client. A couple of weeks later, the client, a non-native speaker of English had no doubt spent a fair amount of time "correcting" about half of the translation. The person concerned held a fairly senior position within the EU and the "corrections" were almost exclusively excellent examples of every type of classic mistake a native speaker of French might make. The "corrected" text bore a myriad of erroneous choices of tense, gross misconstructions of expressions and included a creative selection of false friends. It would have made an excellent examination paper for students of English. It could have carried the following instruction: "The following text includes a certain number of mistakes that native speakers of French are likely to make. Correct the text. You have 1 hour to complete the exercise".

How did I handle this? The agency sent me the "corrected" file for comment and correction. The Eurocrat had instructed the agency correct the document along the lines she had indicated. I dutifully set about looking through the "corrections". After having spent a fair bit of time on the text and even more thinking about how to stop the damage dead in its tracks, I finally returned the text to the agency.

I replied that I had spent X hours trying to "correct" the text as requested but that it was very difficult for me to do, as I was a native speaker of English. In order to satisfy the client's demand, I would have to think of all the conceivable mistakes a French speaker could possibly make and add them to the text. I had also noticed that the Eurocrat in question had also unashamedly modified the content of the text, adding new sentences here and there. Fundamental modifications were being sneaked in. I stopped working on the text, explaining that I would be only too happy to complete the revision/rewriting of the text making it wholly unauthentic, for which I would charge my normal hourly rate of X€/hour and only upon the strict condition that my name would not be associated in any way with the English version of the text. I heard no more of that.

This incident was the straw that finally broke the camel's back. I had not been working with the agency in question for very long. Although their work was interesting and they paid on time, their payment terms were horrendously long, their rates appalling and they were unhappy when I turned down a job now and again, expecting explanations when I did so. That is not healthy in an independent B2B relationship.

There are limits. After 24 years in the business, I'm willing to accept responsibility for my mistakes but never for someone else's arrogance (the Eurocrat) and never again will I bottom-feed... ever!

[Edited at 2018-08-01 14:53 GMT]
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Aïcha Louzir
 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
ברזיל
Local time: 15:43
חבר (2014)
מאנגלית לפורטוגזית
+ ...
Only by non-native revisers Aug 1, 2018

It has happened a few times. Revisers/proofreaders are usually a disaster anyway. But allowing a non-native proofreader to revise a native's job is a serious, unacceptable and absurd mistake of agencies/clients. I always make it clear I do not accept undue revisions, corrections and feedback from people that are not qualified to revise my work, which unfortunately applies to the vast majority of revisers I've worked with so far, when they are assigned by the agency and not by me.

 

DZiW
אוקראינה
מאנגלית לרוסית
+ ...
not personally Aug 2, 2018

As always, there were some minor preferences, yet within the limits.

However, working in a team, I did encounter several clients who allegedly had independent* third-party "editors" to assess the quality, which appeared to be dummy/front offices, just a proxy--not to mention their friends and relatives. Of course, they merely forgot to mention it, sincerely trying to push the price down, nothing special)

[Edited at 2018-08-02 02:15 GMT]


 

Greg Strider
ברזיל
Local time: 15:43
מאנגלית לפורטוגזית
+ ...


Posted via
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Once or twice Aug 4, 2018

I've had a few bad experiences with agencies that picked European Portuguese and Spanish natives to proofread my Brazilian Portuguese translations, which lead to a couple nonsense changes to the text. Although thinking these languages are the same is a common misconception, what really bothers me is thinking someone actually accepts a reviewing task for a language they are not capable to review.

 


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