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NEVER ask the client
Autor wątku: Daniel Frisano

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 14:35
hiszpański > angielski
+ ...
@Gerard Apr 6

Hi Gerard,

I'm on your side for a change, like most people seem to be, and I think Daniel has got the message anyway. I still think he had had a bad day, nothing more, and just blurted out something he felt at the time. But I don't understand this:


"But as an in-house translator, I can't really do that."


Why can't you really do that? Doesn't your opinion count? It should, shouldn't it? Especially if it's valid, and you're thinking of providing
... See more
Hi Gerard,

I'm on your side for a change, like most people seem to be, and I think Daniel has got the message anyway. I still think he had had a bad day, nothing more, and just blurted out something he felt at the time. But I don't understand this:


"But as an in-house translator, I can't really do that."


Why can't you really do that? Doesn't your opinion count? It should, shouldn't it? Especially if it's valid, and you're thinking of providing the best possible service for the end customer. I can't believe there's a No-Questions policy where you are.
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P.L.F.Persio
 

MollyRose  Identity Verified
USA
Local time: 07:35
Członek ProZ.com
od 2010

angielski > hiszpański
+ ...
example Apr 6

A recent question I asked the client (as an in-house Translation Specialist):

Hello, Paul. I am working on the 3rd-8th grade letter and came across this statement: On testing days, we will provide meals and bus transportation for students who would normally receive transportation. The way this is worded, it sounds like food is provided for bus riders only. Did you want to add a phrase, something like, ‘On testing days, we will provide meals for all students and bus transportat
... See more
A recent question I asked the client (as an in-house Translation Specialist):

Hello, Paul. I am working on the 3rd-8th grade letter and came across this statement: On testing days, we will provide meals and bus transportation for students who would normally receive transportation. The way this is worded, it sounds like food is provided for bus riders only. Did you want to add a phrase, something like, ‘On testing days, we will provide meals for all students and bus transportation for students who would normally receive transportation’?

His reply: Thank you for that feedback and please make that change (“for all students”). I will communicate that change to our schools and provide clarification to families as needed through our Navigator scripts as well. The wording of our communications was changed at the request of Transportation to add the phrase “who would normally receive transportation,” which indeed sends the wrong message.

If I had not asked him this, it would have stayed like that in English and probably the other languages, too, and families would wonder why non-bus riders were excluded from meals. By our asking, it gives them the opportunity to correct their mistakes as well as protecting us when we make the necessary adjustments in our translations. Putting it in the form of a question is much more polite than a statement and helps us gain favor. It in no way makes us look stupid, etc.

There is a slogan about not assuming, but not very polite, so I won´t repeat it.
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Mervyn Henderson
Thomas T. Frost
Liviu-Lee Roth
Philip Lees
Arabic & More
P.L.F.Persio
Teresa Borges
 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:35
Członek ProZ.com
od 2008

angielski > rosyjski
+ ...
You may consider changing your dentist Apr 6

Daniel Frisano wrote:

Then don't complain that you're not respected enough or underpaid.

I've never had a dentist or lawyer or plumber requiring me to make the decisions they were hired to make.

Because if they did, they'd lose much of their credibility, wouldn't they?

And I'd be left wondering why I'm paying someone who needs my help to get things done ...


Daniel, the whole world has already shifted or at least shifting to a shared-decision model when it comes to healthcare decisions. So, nothing to be proud of, it simply means that your dentist is not as good as you may think. Research shows that healthcare professionals actually gain credibility when they share decisions with their patients. You are referring to the old paternalistic approach which was Ok in the 1950-s but not anymore. Patients need to be aware of choices they make.

When it comes to translations, asking the right question is an art. There are stupid questions and there are good questions, and you cannot generalise.


Thomas T. Frost
Christel Zipfel
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Liviu-Lee Roth
Philip Lees
Ines R, PhD
Kaspars Melkis
 

Adieu  Identity Verified
rosyjski > angielski
Yeah you're right Apr 6

I just had a client firm write me that they received "concerning feedback" where a project manager complains that *I* was rude to call *HIS* MTPE's pre-translated MT, and I quote, "a mess", and ask him if there was maybe some glitch or something because the whole thing was entirely off-topic.

And by g-d it was.

60% matches ain't matches at all.

The whole document averaged like 60%. It was literally bits and pieces of random MT from unrelated projects on un
... See more
I just had a client firm write me that they received "concerning feedback" where a project manager complains that *I* was rude to call *HIS* MTPE's pre-translated MT, and I quote, "a mess", and ask him if there was maybe some glitch or something because the whole thing was entirely off-topic.

And by g-d it was.

60% matches ain't matches at all.

The whole document averaged like 60%. It was literally bits and pieces of random MT from unrelated projects on unrelated topics, just faintly similar in syntax and syntax only.

The genius somehow managed to set 60% Translation Memory matches to take priority over Machine Translation for the entire dang document.... and turn off my access to MT settings, of course.

I told him it was a mess, he told me he doesn't read Russian but he was sure it looked fine.

And COMPLAINED.

The "rudeness" was literally the word "mess".

Ugh....people.

[Edited at 2021-04-06 22:29 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-04-06 22:31 GMT]
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Liviu-Lee Roth
 

Gerard Barry
Niemcy
Local time: 14:35
niemiecki > angielski
A couple of points Apr 7

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Hi Gerard,

I'm on your side for a change, like most people seem to be, and I think Daniel has got the message anyway. I still think he had had a bad day, nothing more, and just blurted out something he felt at the time. But I don't understand this:


"But as an in-house translator, I can't really do that."


Why can't you really do that? Doesn't your opinion count? It should, shouldn't it? Especially if it's valid, and you're thinking of providing the best possible service for the end customer. I can't believe there's a No-Questions policy where you are.


You're on my side for a change? What's that supposed to mean?

And what do you mean when you say "Daniel has got the message anyway"? What message would that be? That he shouldn't say anything that contradicts the "wisdom" of the people like yourself who seem to spend every waking hour on this website? I might not have agreed fully with Daniel but I definitely saw where he was coming from (asking too many questions could make a translator look incompetent) and I disliked how some of the usual suspects here ganged up on him (just like they've done on me in the past) for daring to say something controversial.

As for my own situation at work: the worst written texts I have to translate are often written not by people at my company but rather by external parties. So we can't really approach them unfortunately. And in an in-house translation team there are often very rigid structures about how to do things. As the newest member of the team, it's hard for me to change that. Then there's the German culture, where "rules" always have to be followed, no matter what (look at their history). Our rule here seems to be not to ask any questions until the proofreading is finished. I understand the logic (sometimes the proofreader can understand the problematic sentence/word even if the translator doesn't) but there are a couple of problems with this. Firstly, it often happens that the proofreader doesn't understand the sentence/word either and secondly, by the time the proofreading is finished, the delivery deadline is approaching, which doesn't leave the client much time to answer the questions asked of him or her.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:35
francuski > angielski
Remember the kid at the back of the class who asked the question we all wanted the answer to? Apr 7

An inquiring mind is part of what my client pay for. It's about striking a balance between being serious enough about your work to get the fiddly little details right and not letting ego get in the way of being that kid at the back of the classroom who asks the "stupid" question.

A translator who asks a question, one he has thrashed it about in his own head, is a translator who is seeking to provide an authentic and quality piece of work for his client. If that same translator is as
... See more
An inquiring mind is part of what my client pay for. It's about striking a balance between being serious enough about your work to get the fiddly little details right and not letting ego get in the way of being that kid at the back of the classroom who asks the "stupid" question.

A translator who asks a question, one he has thrashed it about in his own head, is a translator who is seeking to provide an authentic and quality piece of work for his client. If that same translator is asking "stupid" questions to himself or his client all the time then may:
- the translator has bitten off more than he can chew (s*** happens 1)
- the client has produced a poor quality piece of text. (s*** happens 2)

I'll let you in on a secret. Clients sometimes produce bad prose. Commercial realities also have an effect. Monday morning? Not fresh. Friday evening? Worn out or already mentally in weekend mode. Translation is the chance to redress those missed terminological targets for the client. But there is a world of difference between tweaking a piece of writing into shape and being too proud to pick up the phone or send an email.
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P.L.F.Persio
Marina Taffetani
Kaspars Melkis
Rachel Waddington
Annamaria Sondrio
Daryo
 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 13:35
Członek ProZ.com
od 2004

angielski > włoski
Never translated a manual in "Chinglish"? Apr 7

If you ever did, you would ask questions, especially in case of a dangerous machine...

Edited for writing in Itanglish ...

[Edited at 2021-04-07 12:02 GMT]


P.L.F.Persio
Matthias Brombach
Teresa Borges
Marina Taffetani
expressisverbis
Daryo
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
szwedzki > angielski
+ ...
From another angle Apr 7

Gerard Barry wrote:
I disliked how some of the usual suspects here ganged up on him (just like they've done on me in the past) for daring to say something controversial.


Alternatively, the usual suspects all happened to disagree with him (and you) for saying something daft.

I rarely ask questions. When I do, it’s because they need asking. It’ll be because the client has cocked up something really important to the extent that the/their world might come to an abrupt end if I just fudge it.

Assuming you’re translating for the people wot wrote it, your job is not to put what they said, or even what they were trying to say, but what they ought to have said, in order to achieve what they wanted to achieve. But there’s still only so much mind-reading you can do.


Adieu
Teresa Borges
Rachel Waddington
P.L.F.Persio
Mervyn Henderson
Rui Domingues
expressisverbis
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 14:35
hiszpański > angielski
+ ...
A couple of rejoinders Apr 7

"You're on my side for a change? What's that supposed to mean?"

That means I've rarely been on your side. Sorry if the language was tricky.

As for Daniel, I think Chris has explained that one already. He said something just about nobody agreed with, and they told him so. End of story.

As for "every waking hour", hardly. I just manage my time appropriately between work, foruming and life, that's all. I write short stories and comments because the mood takes
... See more
"You're on my side for a change? What's that supposed to mean?"

That means I've rarely been on your side. Sorry if the language was tricky.

As for Daniel, I think Chris has explained that one already. He said something just about nobody agreed with, and they told him so. End of story.

As for "every waking hour", hardly. I just manage my time appropriately between work, foruming and life, that's all. I write short stories and comments because the mood takes me every once in a while. How much time do you spend getting ready to go to work, travelling to work, at work (where you can't spend your time foruming due to all those fearsome "rules" you hate so much), coming back from work, and moving into home mode again? Quite a bit, right? Well, I have all that time to piss around with.

[Edited at 2021-04-07 17:09 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-04-07 17:11 GMT]
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expressisverbis
Thomas T. Frost
P.L.F.Persio
Chris S
Robert Forstag
Philip Lees
Kevin Fulton
 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Niemcy
Local time: 14:35
Członek ProZ.com
od 2007

niderlandzki > niemiecki
+ ...
Rules to be followed Apr 7

Gerard Barry wrote:
Then there's the German culture, where "rules" always have to be followed, no matter what (look at their history).


I've just had a look at our history and some essential dates came into my mind you apparently do not know, (because you sat in the last row in school; see one of the other posts above) i.e. 1832, 1848, 1918, 1920, 1944, 1953, 1968 and 1989. Or do you want to claim now, that your "Querdenker" movement is (goose) stepping in the tradition of those essential political events (and certainly a lot of them more) the people in Germany made and where they risked and lost their lives for freedom, and I mean for real freedom, and not for the freedom of going shopping or having a drink? "Gerard", if you don't like living in Germany, why don't you just leave my country? Thanks.

[Bearbeitet am 2021-04-07 17:32 GMT]

[Bearbeitet am 2021-04-07 18:10 GMT]


P.L.F.Persio
Chris S
Mervyn Henderson
expressisverbis
Ines R, PhD
Angie Garbarino
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

expressisverbis
Portugalia
Local time: 13:35
Członek ProZ.com
od 2015

angielski > portugalski
+ ...
A golden rule Apr 7

Vanda Nissen wrote:

When it comes to translations, asking the right question is an art. There are stupid questions and there are good questions, and you cannot generalise.


I fully agree!
One should never generalise.

[Edited at 2021-04-07 18:10 GMT]


Thomas T. Frost
Mervyn Henderson
Teresa Borges
P.L.F.Persio
Vanda Nissen
Matthias Brombach
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:35
niemiecki > angielski
+ ...
Thank you Philip Apr 7

Philip Lees wrote:


Yes, I did register agreement with your previous post. Mine was intended as an example of the kind of question you were talking about. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Probably also my level of "reading comprehension" that day, or conversely, the translator's habit of double checking what they understand. Thanks.


 

Gerard Barry
Niemcy
Local time: 14:35
niemiecki > angielski
Daft? Apr 8

Chris S wrote:

Gerard Barry wrote:
I disliked how some of the usual suspects here ganged up on him (just like they've done on me in the past) for daring to say something controversial.


Alternatively, the usual suspects all happened to disagree with him (and you) for saying something daft.

I rarely ask questions. When I do, it’s because they need asking. It’ll be because the client has cocked up something really important to the extent that the/their world might come to an abrupt end if I just fudge it.

Assuming you’re translating for the people wot wrote it, your job is not to put what they said, or even what they were trying to say, but what they ought to have said, in order to achieve what they wanted to achieve. But there’s still only so much mind-reading you can do.




Whether something is "daft" or not is usually a matter of opinion. I don't think there's anything daft about suggesting that translators should be reticent about asking questions of the client in case it makes them look incompetent. At the end of the day, it's a judgement call.


Chris S
 

Gerard Barry
Niemcy
Local time: 14:35
niemiecki > angielski
Daniel Apr 8

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

"You're on my side for a change? What's that supposed to mean?"

That means I've rarely been on your side. Sorry if the language was tricky.

As for Daniel, I think Chris has explained that one already. He said something just about nobody agreed with, and they told him so. End of story.

As for "every waking hour", hardly. I just manage my time appropriately between work, foruming and life, that's all. I write short stories and comments because the mood takes me every once in a while. How much time do you spend getting ready to go to work, travelling to work, at work (where you can't spend your time foruming due to all those fearsome "rules" you hate so much), coming back from work, and moving into home mode again? Quite a bit, right? Well, I have all that time to piss around with.

[Edited at 2021-04-07 17:09 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-04-07 17:11 GMT]
#

From where I'm standing, Daniel was treated disrespectfully, if not actually bullied, for what he said. You guys are very cliquish.


 

Gerard Barry
Niemcy
Local time: 14:35
niemiecki > angielski
Ouch! Apr 8

Matthias Brombach wrote:

Gerard Barry wrote:
Then there's the German culture, where "rules" always have to be followed, no matter what (look at their history).


I've just had a look at our history and some essential dates came into my mind you apparently do not know, (because you sat in the last row in school; see one of the other posts above) i.e. 1832, 1848, 1918, 1920, 1944, 1953, 1968 and 1989. Or do you want to claim now, that your "Querdenker" movement is (goose) stepping in the tradition of those essential political events (and certainly a lot of them more) the people in Germany made and where they risked and lost their lives for freedom, and I mean for real freedom, and not for the freedom of going shopping or having a drink? "Gerard", if you don't like living in Germany, why don't you just leave my country? Thanks.

[Bearbeitet am 2021-04-07 17:32 GMT]

[Bearbeitet am 2021-04-07 18:10 GMT]


Isn't it strange how the Germans claim to love foreigners so much but will be very quick to tell you to go back to where you came from when you dare to criticise their beloved government? Mind you, you probably only do that to foreigners from Western countries - I'm sure you wouldn't dare ask one of the several hundred thousand failed asylum seekers living in your country (presumably at the expense of the state) to go home, because of course that would be "racist", wouldn't it?

Regarding the Querdenker: I feel so sorry for you that you've swallowed the propaganda of the government-friendly media in Germany and see fit to compare peaceful protesters demonstrating for fundamental freedoms with the Nazis. We're not demonstrating just for the "freedom of going shopping and having a drink" (although spare a thought in this regard for the owners of shops and pubs whose livelihoods are being destroyed by the lockdown), we're demonstrating for freedom in general. Or do you think that the current 24-hour curfew in Leipzig, for instance, is not a massive impingement on people's freedoms by the state? Because I certainly do.


 
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