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Poll: Do you feel some reviewers make changes to translations "just to change something"?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

Anne Schulz
Germany
Local time: 23:25
English to German
+ ...
Sometimes May 18, 2018

Mario Freitas wrote:

if they were great, they'd be translating, not revising



Mario, I am not sure about this point. In my experience, clients/agencies tend to assign the translation to the cheaper one and the review to the more experienced one (preferably for a word-based rather than a time-based price), to optimize cost effectiveness.

As a translator being reviewed, there are usually about 20% changes leading to an improvement, 60% changes inducing a feeling of "so what", and 20% changes which I reject because I feel they make things worse. I am not sure if those 80% were applied "just to change something", but I consider them preferential at best.

As a reviewer, I try to use the same approach as Richard Purdom: If the translation is poor, correct only basic errors. If the translation is fine, suggest improvements and make clear that this is not the correction of errors, but an attempt to optimize the whole text.


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:25
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Sorry, Anne May 21, 2018

Anne Schulz wrote:
Mario Freitas wrote:
if they were great, they'd be translating, not revising



I'm sorry, Anne, this was an unthought phrase, because revisers make me very angry most of the time.
I agree that "If the translation is poor, correct only basic errors. If the translation is fine, suggest improvements", but in the last part, only with SUGGEST, not with make changes and fill a good translation with red marks. This is what makes me angry. When the translation is excellent, the revisers usually change a hundred words with synonyms, because they cannot agree to deliver a document without red marks. It would mean they did nothing, right? That's the cause for all misundrestandings between translators and revisers.

Sorry about that phrase again.


Josephine Cassar
 

memond  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:25
Member (2015)
English to French
+ ...
YES! Jun 7, 2018

I am a scientific translator and a reviewer, and I find that too many reviewers don’t know how to review. Most of them make changes just for the sake of making changes. I find it particularly irritating for scientific translations. A lot of reviewers (who are not scientists) add useless words in translation just to add more words or make sentences nicer. In science, you have to go with simple and clear sentences. The goal is not to make beautiful literary sentences. Most of the time this extr... See more
I am a scientific translator and a reviewer, and I find that too many reviewers don’t know how to review. Most of them make changes just for the sake of making changes. I find it particularly irritating for scientific translations. A lot of reviewers (who are not scientists) add useless words in translation just to add more words or make sentences nicer. In science, you have to go with simple and clear sentences. The goal is not to make beautiful literary sentences. Most of the time this extra wording makes scientific understanding difficult. When I’m reviewing scientific translations, I focus on scientific mistakes, language mistakes (spelling, grammar) and translation mistakes or specific terminology, otherwise I don’t change the text because it is the work of the translator and it is his/her responsibility.Collapse


 

gauloise
United States
Italian to English
+ ...
changing to be like google translate Jun 26

What really bothers me is when you take a sentence and put it into the proper word order in English and write it so it sounds fluent, and they change it to basically google translate.

I think sometimes it is not so much just to change something, but because they are afraid the client will be angry it is not like the original

Almost everyone speaks at least a little English, and clients do say things like "this is not like the original!" and i think it gives revisers co
... See more
What really bothers me is when you take a sentence and put it into the proper word order in English and write it so it sounds fluent, and they change it to basically google translate.

I think sometimes it is not so much just to change something, but because they are afraid the client will be angry it is not like the original

Almost everyone speaks at least a little English, and clients do say things like "this is not like the original!" and i think it gives revisers cold feet to make changes in word order so that it will seem native-sounding.

I just did a translation and they came back to me with another one with the instruction: "Put the product name after the noun this time" :/ I told them that is the French style and got an eye roll basically. If they want to pay for bad work, so be it.

Sometimes, I wish I translated into Japanese or something where the non-native speaking client couldn't meddle.
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Kay Denney
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:25
Member (2018)
French to English
. Jun 27

A client just recently changed my translation "Tourist Board" into "Tourist Office". Office de tourisme in French. This can either mean
- a little kiosk where people hand out maps, which in English we call a Tourist Information Office,
- or a proper office where people do background work to attract tourists to a region, by making those maps, and lovely websites, setting up schemes so that cyclists get access to bicycle repairs near the lovely cycle route along the coastline, or set
... See more
A client just recently changed my translation "Tourist Board" into "Tourist Office". Office de tourisme in French. This can either mean
- a little kiosk where people hand out maps, which in English we call a Tourist Information Office,
- or a proper office where people do background work to attract tourists to a region, by making those maps, and lovely websites, setting up schemes so that cyclists get access to bicycle repairs near the lovely cycle route along the coastline, or setting up deals where you get discounts and queue-jumping passes when buying tickets to several different museums and so on. That would be a Tourist Board.

But no, the proofreader went with Tourist Office. Google must be wrong then.

[Edited at 2019-06-27 07:54 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-06-27 07:54 GMT]
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IrinaN
United States
Local time: 16:25
English to Russian
+ ...
Hi Kay, Jun 27

Kay Denney wrote:

That would be a Tourist Board.

But no, the proofreader went with Tourist Office. Google must be wrong then.

[Edited at 2019-06-27 07:54 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-06-27 07:54 GMT]


Please forgive the intruding non-native, but if your translation was intended for the US audience, or your proofreader was American, then for the majority of Americans, Tourist Board would immediately bring to mind a bulletin board at the entrance to some entertainment/recreation area. What is called the Board here: "an official organization in a country or area that encourages tourists to visit that country or area", in the US would be referred to as Tourism Council or, on a smaller scale, Visitor's Center. In a nutshell, the proofreader might have sensed a non-American flavor but still chose the wrong term:-)

https://www.visitfrederick.org/partners/about-us/staff-and-board/
STAFF & BOARD
Visit Frederick (Tourism Council of Frederick County, Inc.)

We have so much in common, except for the language...


 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 16:25
English to Russian
+ ...
Editor is a separate profession Jun 27

This simple truth seems to be dead and buried by the mankind (humankind:-) ), at least by the translating part of it.

In the beginning of my career I was incredibly lucky to be blessed with working under true EDITORS, people who worked as such for the top scientific and literary publishing houses, magazines etc. for decades. A true editor is an entity I worship. Names like Klimzo and Plakhtiy will say a lot to my experienced Russian colleagues.

Those people had no need
... See more
This simple truth seems to be dead and buried by the mankind (humankind:-) ), at least by the translating part of it.

In the beginning of my career I was incredibly lucky to be blessed with working under true EDITORS, people who worked as such for the top scientific and literary publishing houses, magazines etc. for decades. A true editor is an entity I worship. Names like Klimzo and Plakhtiy will say a lot to my experienced Russian colleagues.

Those people had no need whatsoever to replough everything just because; they did not scream: "Water" and did not demand another month to rewrite even the worst cases. They knew how to make chicken salad out of a chicken poop with a few strokes of Raphael's brush. They did not have that non-destructible urge to spray their own markings over translator's, and leave their own footprint and their own legacy in every sentence... They had justified their existence long before I finished high school.

Unfortunately, this disease is non-curable in at least 85% of translators turned editors, no matter how great they are as translators themselves. Is it an accusation? Not in a slightest, it's a simple and proven fact of translator's nature. As soon as I hear "I would say it differently" after a first glance at a third sentence of a 20K-word job, I know what to expect and simply move on. Please, say whatever you want. I have my final copy saved.

That is why I prefer not to see any editing anymore for as long as I get my Thank you and timely payment. I only demand to be notified of any errors in technical fields since I am not an engineer and, with all my hands-on experience, I never submit any technical jobs without an absolute guarantee that it will go the desk of a technical editor first. Whether that editor can write better than me in general, may be questionable, but that part is of no consequence to me.

Another thing that makes me... at times laugh, and at times - cringe, is modern editors' complaints about an outrageous fact that they actually had to edit!

Once in a while, when I go to my own final files for references, I notice occasional mishaps in punctuation, typos!!!, stylistic hiccups, missing spaces etc. Mostly in rush or very large jobs. Never, not once any of my true editors have bothered me with that, or complained to anyone! For one, they knew that I know better and it was nothing but a mishap under pressure:-). To mark a few spots like that, to send it back to a translator with a lecture, to get it back and to recheck it again - what a waste of everyone's time and money! They simply did their job and the file went to the client. I know that they did that job. What else are they there for?? what else do they get paid for???? Any other tactics is but a part of killing a competitor or collecting the evidence of how attentive and thorough they are:-). Ridiculous.

Disclaimer: those were the times when the translation world has not yet been flooded with swarms of people who have as much right to translate as I - to sit on the Chinese Emperor's throne. That's why I certainly give some slack when it comes to today's editors' pain and suffering:-)

[Edited at 2019-06-27 18:39 GMT]
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Liviu-Lee Roth
 
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