Paid to do proofreading but have to re-translate
Autor de la hebra: kumori
kumori
Singapur
Local time: 14:52
chino al inglés
+ ...
Jul 13

I have been working with this agency for over a year and the agreement we had (written in email) initially was that I only review the English (for Chinese to English translations) of the translations.

For time to time, I get very poorly translated texts, some so bad that I could not understand the meaning nor make any sense (like "embezzled information? For an IT system), I ended up having to practically re-translate a lot of the content. And recently, more and more the tasks from this agency are like that.

I want to know if anybody has ever imposed a re-translation fee before? Or any suggestions on how to impose a retranslation fee.

I have tried to get them to pass me the translation before I agree to the task but most of the time, they want me to agree at heads-up. I have even turned down one job I'd earlier agreed to work on but realized that the translation was just horrendous. I have asked them to revise my fees but they refused. They are one of the bigger agencies so I try not to burn any more bridges, recently I have turned down a lot of tasks but they still ask me(i think my fees are probably too low)!

Therefore, I want to negotiate a retranslation fee and hopefully, I can find enough examples that retranslation fees are not unusual.

Weird idea but maybe they can pay me what I should be rightfully paid or get off my back (I don't like to keep coming up with excuses to turn them down and all these emails take up time too).

Thanks in advance for any advice you may offer.


[Edited at 2017-07-13 14:27 GMT]


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Lianne van de Ven  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 02:52
Miembro 2008
inglés al neerlandés
+ ...
Trick #11 Jul 13

I'd call that a trick, one of the plenty, by agencies. Just don't agree to a per word fee and charge by the hour, because you don't know the quality of the translation. They know exactly what they are doing and it is a setup!

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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 02:52
Miembro 2003
español al inglés
+ ...
Disaster relief disguised as proofreading Jul 13

Lianne van de Ven wrote:

I'd call that a trick, one of the plenty, by agencies. Just don't agree to a per word fee and charge by the hour, because you don't know the quality of the translation. They know exactly what they are doing and it is a setup!


One of the oldest tricks in the book. Sometimes agencies even pass off machine output as a proofreading job without identifying it as PME. Other times, a human translator has done a lousy job, and they are looking for someone to save the day.

An agency will never pay you what such a fix-up job is worth. So my suggestion would be to simply refuse it outright. If you still feel like dealing with an outfit that has deceived you in this way, you can say that you will consider translation jobs (but not "proofing" jobs) with them in the future.

But if you choose to deal with such a devil, know that it is very likely that there will be other problems in the future.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
España
Local time: 07:52
Miembro 2007
inglés
+ ...
They're getting a very good deal - don't expect them to change Jul 13

kumori wrote:
the agreement we had (written in email) initially was that I only review the English (for Chinese to English translations) of the translations.

For time to time, I get very poorly translated texts, some so bad that I could not understand the meaning nor make any sense (like "embezzled information? For an IT system), I ended up having to practically re-translate a lot of the content. And recently, more and more the tasks from this agency are like that.

If you've been hired to proofread just the target text, how can you re-translate anything? Do they give you the Chinese text as well, yet only pay you for proofreading the English one? You should be paid more for working with two texts - at the very least, it implies twice the number of words to read. It also implies that they will expect you to catch additions, mistranslations and omissions - which isn't part of monolingual proofreading.

I have asked them to revise the fees but they refused.

Therein lies at least one of your problems. Why did you ASK them to revise THEIR fees? You should have INFORMED them that YOU reluctantly have to revise YOUR fees.

They're getting double, maybe even triple, the work for you than they're paying for, by the sound of it. They aren't going to do anything to change that situation. You must either act to better your lot - even if it means saying goodbye to this particular client - or just put up with it quietly.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Dinamarca
Local time: 08:52
Miembro 2003
danés al inglés
+ ...
Remind them of the original terms Jul 13

You are not their employee, and the agency depends on the work you and other translators supply.

You cannot make a living by doing more and more work for free. You are quite entitled to see the text before you commit to working on it.

Stop making excuses, and tell the agency straight out that the quality of the translation is not good enough. I have certainly sent texts back to the client with sample sections marked to show what I mean, and suggested that I should re-translate them at my normal rate for translation. In practice, it is actually faster to begin again than to try and fix a really poor translation.

I have also insisted on being paid by the hour for editing/proofreading. This means that I take less time and the client pays less for a quality translation that only needs minor adjustments - and everyone is happy.

Otherwise you are feeding the vicious circle of poor translation and low rates that is damaging the profession.

Look for better clients too. The big agencies are not always the most helpful. I have simply stopped working for several of them.
Try to find medium sized agencies who specialise in a particular subject area or a particular language group. They often focus on quality and personal service to clients, so they are interested in the translators who work for them. They are not simply trying to be cheap, but to give value for money, and it is much more satisfying to work with them.


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Tom in London
Reino Unido
Local time: 07:52
Miembro 2008
italiano al inglés
Never accept Jul 13

I never accept proofreading jobs because they always mean completely re-translating the text.

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kumori
Singapur
Local time: 14:52
chino al inglés
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
How to tell them nicely not to bug me... Jul 13

To Sheila's question, they gave me both source and translated texts.

To all, I guess I should continue to say no (but they keep coming back)....gonna have to be more firm..


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 08:52
Miembro 2009
inglés al alemán
+ ...
Proofreading translations vs. MTPE Jul 13

Just ask them to show you the jobs a forehand and let you decide whether you'll accept it or not. If they refuse to operate in such a way, then you can politely inform them that you are no longer offering revision services. Let them find someone else to clean up the translation mess someone or something else has produced.

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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:52
Miembro
chino al inglés
+ ...
Stop and inform Jul 13

If it's a total disaster - say machine translation level - stop and inform the client that you will have to charge translation rates in order to proceed. I've done that on one or two occasions.

I've also gone through translations that were decidedly poor, but not quite MT-level bad. I let it slide, touched up what I could, and when I returned the reviewed copy I told the PM that I would not review any future translations by that translator. I still do both translation and review for that agency and I haven't seen anything quite that bad ever since.


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kumori
Singapur
Local time: 14:52
chino al inglés
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
No more review jobs? Jul 13

Thanks everybody. I am trying not to burn bridges cos it's very competitive for the language pair I work in...and the turnover rate seems quite high for the customers I've worked with as I've encountered a few PMs who moved around...

And Lincoln, I did what you suggested, told them I no longer want to review translations by a particular translator. Then the subsequent job, they assured me they got "two experienced translators" and when I reviewed, I got things like "embezzle personal information" and "strange number" (this is for an application).

At the end, mdaybe Tom's approach will be the best for me.

[Edited at 2017-07-13 15:06 GMT]


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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:52
Miembro 2006
español al neerlandés
+ ...
Proofjob? Jul 13

They asked for a proofjob? Deliver them a proofjob, not an editing job (officially that is something totally different, but unfortunatley we tend to forget that).

Another advice. Find other, honest clients.


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Michael Newton  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 02:52
Miembro 2003
japonés al inglés
+ ...
Review jobs Jul 14

Tell the agency that you will review the document only for spelling and grammar and nothing else. Then let them take the heat from the client. You can always say: "My function is to proof it, not to retranslate it". This sounds somewhat "passive-aggressive" but if you do this a number of times, the agency will most likely get the message. Good luck!

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Dinamarca
Local time: 08:52
Miembro 2003
danés al inglés
+ ...
Just proofing is not always possible Jul 15

-- I can't leave it at that in any case.

It's a great idea, but it is in fact hard to see where the commas are supposed to be when the sentence is total gibberish.

Tell the client straight out that you don't so proofreading/reviewing QA or whatever they like to call it. Find other clients who know that getting it right first time is the best policy, but nobody's perfect, so a proofreader/reviewer who sees the text with fresh eyes can be a useful safety net.

The translator can never read the translation first, without seeing the source text, but that is how the target readers see it, so it is a good approach for a reviewer too.


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Daryo
Reino Unido
Local time: 07:52
serbio al inglés
+ ...
Just an idea ... Jul 17

an agency asking you to "proofread/edit" someone else's translation?

Charge them your normal translation rates after seeing the source text, with the proviso that they will get a discount commensurate with the quality of "translation to proofread/edit".

If they are serious about really just "proofreading/not much to edit" they will have no reasons not to agree, if they don't like the idea and go looking for some other mug, nothing lost.


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Cathalina  Identity Verified
Bélgica
Local time: 08:52
Miembro Jul 2017
inglés al neerlandés
+ ...
Ask translation fee Jul 17

Instead of asking a retranslation fee, why don't you just ask a translation fee? Just ask them what you would ask for translations and not for proofreading. If they don't contact you anymore, you can spend the extra time looking for other job opportunities.

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