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Permalink 02:38:25 pm, Categories: About JB Translations, For translation buyers, 372 words  

Proofreading poor translations?

Recently I was offered a translation assignment consisting in translating some Word files and proofreading some existing translations of the client's materials. As usual, I provided a quote for the translation work but told them that I would need to see the existing translations before stating any quote for the proofreading. They agreed and sent me a sample of their translations that had probably been performed by bilingual employees of theirs. After analyzing these materials carefully, this was my response to them:

. . . Thank you very much for sending all this material. If you want my advice, I would suggest leaving the existing translations aside. If you would like to have a marketing text written with style that will appeal to your site's visitors, it would be best to redo the translation. Editing and proofreading is for texts with a minimum standard of quality, and unfortunately the Spanish texts you sent me don't measure up to it. To give you an example, when you want to build a solid and reliable car, you don't start with low-quality raw materials. You can have the best manufacturing plant in the world, but in order to get a quality product, you need quality all the way through the process. Translation is no different. Correcting the quality of these texts would probably take more time (and produce less satisfying results) than translating from English directly.

You could always save money by only correcting misspellings and blatant errors, but the final outcome would be mediocre and I don't think that this is what you are looking for, especially for marketing materials. Besides, I wouldn't accept to offer you half-way translation services since I do take pride in my work . . .

I was wondering if I had been too bold in my response or if the negative answer about this potential proofreading job would make them turn away and I would never hear from them again. To my surprise, they paid heed to my suggestions and ordered the first translations from me, and are now considering retranslating the other materials through me.

In a world where costs seem to discard any other considerations and where translation is regarded more or less as an "anybody-can-do-it" task, their response was indeed encouraging!


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