Bad proofreading
Thread poster: Peter Schaefermeier

Peter Schaefermeier  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:56
Member (2018)
English to German
+ ...
Jun 13

Hello,

I have translated a text for a translation agency and received the proofread file to accept or decline the corrections, but the proofreading is so bad with translation errors, deterioration of style, etc. It is a waste of time to work with this. I have already contacted the PM, and I want to have money for extra work. Have you ever experienced such a mess, and how did you deal with it?


[Edited at 2019-06-13 13:27 GMT]


 

William Tierney  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:56
Member (2002)
Arabic to English
Editing is Editing Jun 13

HI Peter,

Some agencies will "innocently" ask you to check the checker, at no additional cost, of course. After an agency wanted me to check the proofreader for a document with over 200 pages, and was affronted when I said no, I updated my CV to explicitly state that my editing fee includes the editing of proofreading of my translations.

If an agency gives an emotional plea, you can respond that if the agency had enough confidence to hire the proofreader, then there s
... See more
HI Peter,

Some agencies will "innocently" ask you to check the checker, at no additional cost, of course. After an agency wanted me to check the proofreader for a document with over 200 pages, and was affronted when I said no, I updated my CV to explicitly state that my editing fee includes the editing of proofreading of my translations.

If an agency gives an emotional plea, you can respond that if the agency had enough confidence to hire the proofreader, then there should be no problem, you have confidence that she/he will do a good job.

I have some clients where it is clearly understood from the beginning that I am going to check the proofreading. This is reflected in the rate.
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Robert Forstag
Olavo Nogueira
Kay Denney
MollyRose
Teresa Borges
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Julie Barber
 

sailingshoes
Local time: 12:56
Spanish to English
This may seem like nitpicking but... Jun 13

Under the applicable European standard (15038), proofreading is "checking of proofs before publication". The other services defined are Revision (blingual), Reviewing and Checking (by the Transltor of his/her own work).

Isn't this Revision?


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:56
Member
English to French
Accept or decline Jun 13

If in Word, decline every unnecessary/wrong change on the first page and make your case to the PM by sending him/her a screenshot showing the page before and after, together with statistics (35 changes made, 31 declined). If a lot of red has disappeared, the PM will see it.
But you should understand the agency's behaviour: if they don't speak the target language, they have no way to know whether your translation is rubbish (you're not telling us whether you know the agency well). By being
... See more
If in Word, decline every unnecessary/wrong change on the first page and make your case to the PM by sending him/her a screenshot showing the page before and after, together with statistics (35 changes made, 31 declined). If a lot of red has disappeared, the PM will see it.
But you should understand the agency's behaviour: if they don't speak the target language, they have no way to know whether your translation is rubbish (you're not telling us whether you know the agency well). By being firm and demonstrating your competence, they will come to realise that they made a mistake entrusting this reviewer and will either pay you for your time or find another victim to clean up the mess.

Whenever I am required to review changes made to my translation by a third party, whether external reviewer or translation consumer/buyer, I charge by the hour. I no longer work with agencies that take free additional
work for granted, and first times are sometimes revealing.
I am even fair enough to waive my editing fee if I left silly things unworthy of my standards. At my discretion only, of course.

This said, I find that changes made by another pair of eyes is always instructive. In the situation you describe, it shows that s/he shouldn't be reviewing, or that roles should be swapped.

Philippe
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Teresa Borges
Viviane Marx
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:56
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Educate the client? Jun 13

Peter Schaefermeier wrote:
I have translated a text for a translation agency and received the proofread file to accept or decline the corrections, but the proofreading is so bad with translation errors, deterioration of style, etc. It is a waste of time to work with this. I have already contacted the PM, and I want to have money for extra work. Have you ever experienced such a mess, and how did you deal with it?

I once had a client send me a marked-up text that was totally red from end to end. It's not welcome news, I know . But if you're sure of yourself, do what I did:
Look through the first page (or two) very carefully.
Comment on the good changes - I found two improvements (a corrected typo and a better word choice).
Comment on every instance where an error of any sort has been introduced (double space; deleted space; typo; changing one thing but ignoring the 'knock-on effect' of the change, etc.).
Return the file, saying that everything else in the part checked contains preferential changes and they can accept/reject them as they like. Give your fee for checking the entire text.

In my case, I never heard anything more and certainly never had my work for that client 'reddened' again.


Teresa Borges
Christine Andersen
ahartje
Peter Shortall
Lynn Fang
kd42
Kay Denney
 

plgosia
United States
Local time: 06:56
English to Polish
+ ...
Proofreaders need to understand their job Jun 14

I have worked with proofreaders that would rewrite my translation, not necessarily making it better. Since they couldn't find any errors, they re-worded some sentences as if to show that they were doing something worth their pay. I had to kindly reject those changes and explain myself, which added extra work and frustration to my busy day. Good, efficient proofreaders understand that they are not copy editors but a valuable set of eyes guarding against errors, omissions and mistakes.

Ekaterina Yakushcheva
Gareth Callagy
Jacek Sierakowski
ahartje
Lidija Klemencic
KateKaminski
Philip Lees
 

kd42
Estonia
Local time: 13:56
English to Russian
My standard workflow Jun 15

Sheila Wilson wrote:
I once had a client send me a marked-up text that was totally red from end to end. It's not welcome news, I know . But if you're sure of yourself, do what I did:
Look through the first page (or two) very carefully.
Comment on the good changes - I found two improvements (a corrected typo and a better word choice).
Comment on every instance where an error of any sort has been introduced (double space; deleted space; typo; changing one thing but ignoring the 'knock-on effect' of the change, etc.).
Return the file, saying that everything else in the part checked contains preferential changes and they can accept/reject them as they like. Give your fee for checking the entire text.

My standard workflow, thanks for the detailed procedure.


 

gauloise
United States
Italian to English
+ ...
I delete them without looking Jun 26

An agency I work with does this. I nearly wanted to cry the first time I saw the revisions. I used to really look at them and make disputes, but now I just delete the notifications so I can resist the temptation to look at them. As far as I am concerned, if the agency hires a reviser, then it's on them. I also got a LOT LESS work when I was disputing revisions. It makes a lot more work for the PM (as well as me). Now I don't dispute anything, I can imagine the final is absolutely dreadful, but I... See more
An agency I work with does this. I nearly wanted to cry the first time I saw the revisions. I used to really look at them and make disputes, but now I just delete the notifications so I can resist the temptation to look at them. As far as I am concerned, if the agency hires a reviser, then it's on them. I also got a LOT LESS work when I was disputing revisions. It makes a lot more work for the PM (as well as me). Now I don't dispute anything, I can imagine the final is absolutely dreadful, but I am getting tons more work.

What really irks me:

1) Words I spent ages searching for were turned back to google translate versions.
2) No concept of really basic English grammar (semicolons, colons, commas, dashes, adjectives, nouns etc).
3) Maintains European-style capitalization (my pet peeve!)
4) I researched and used words and terms from the client's website, these were changed to google translate versions
5) Did not look at my comments or follow the links to see why I chose a word I did.

And I could go on...

I think revisers do this for 2 reasons

1) To make it seem like they are working

BUT MORE THIS:

2) So you get a lower rating as a translator, and they will get more translation jobs.

When I do jobs for private clients, they always tell me they love working with me because my work needs so few corrections, but whenever I work with an agency, I get feedback like: 250 changes in your 1,000 word translation.




[Edited at 2019-06-26 16:34 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-06-26 16:35 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-06-26 16:35 GMT]
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Kay Denney
 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:56
Member (2008)
French to English
Revisions by a non-native speakers Jun 27

I have noticed that some of the most extensive revisions come from end clients who are not natives of the target language but seem to think they know the target language better than a native does. Inevitably they introduce many errors and mistranslations into the target.

JPAlex
Marita Gintere
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:56
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link Jul 4

Meaning, the only one who is able to review my work is a better (or equal) translator. Unfortunately that is hardly the case. I will spare you my 'nightmares' on this subject, but many is the time I saw a (= my) translation being 'raped' by a so called company trusted proofreader.

On the other hand, an agency expects worth for its money. I once received a perfect translation that I had to proof. Allright, I would have translated it different, but there are many roads to Rome. Beside
... See more
Meaning, the only one who is able to review my work is a better (or equal) translator. Unfortunately that is hardly the case. I will spare you my 'nightmares' on this subject, but many is the time I saw a (= my) translation being 'raped' by a so called company trusted proofreader.

On the other hand, an agency expects worth for its money. I once received a perfect translation that I had to proof. Allright, I would have translated it different, but there are many roads to Rome. Beside 1 typo and a forgotten comma or point (don't remember), it was perfect. The agency blamed me for not doing my job and refused to pay me. That is the back-end. But why destroyng a perfect translation?

PS) They paid me in the end.

[Edited at 2019-07-04 21:11 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-04 21:12 GMT]
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