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Horror experience with new agency
ناشر الموضوع: Hamish Young

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:25
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The mechanics of it all Jul 31

It's the mechanics of the agency's handling of the work that shocks me. I have legal training but would never touch patents. It's a highly specialized field and yes, the language is often archaic. In any event, it is highly specific. Tweaking stylistic points can sometimes tweak a decent piece of work into a piece that is incoherent. When a once-tweaked piece is then passed on to become twice-tweaked, there is little chance of it ending up as a premium piece. How annoying! The agency seems to ha... See more
It's the mechanics of the agency's handling of the work that shocks me. I have legal training but would never touch patents. It's a highly specialized field and yes, the language is often archaic. In any event, it is highly specific. Tweaking stylistic points can sometimes tweak a decent piece of work into a piece that is incoherent. When a once-tweaked piece is then passed on to become twice-tweaked, there is little chance of it ending up as a premium piece. How annoying! The agency seems to have played ping-pong with your original, mishandling the work and not taking account of what you had to say. Grrr!Collapse


Christel Zipfel
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
Angie Garbarino
Elfie Kinzler
conejo
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:25
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unilateral modifications Jul 31

IanDhu wrote:
I intend to print the terms out, and strike through the offending clause before signing and e-mailing this amended version.
Adam Warren (IanDhu - translator 41189)


Bear in mind that unless the modifications to a contract have been signed by the other party, the amendment is not generally effective. Most jurisdictions require that both parties to a contract have to agree to the same terms and conditions. Unilateral changes are generally invalid.


Josephine Cassar
Tom in London
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Anthony Keily
Local time: 09:25
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This is pretty awful Aug 3

I was recently approached by a similar-sounding UK agency (that allowed informal invocing) and saw the QC system in place involved this sort of cross-checking. It was what put me off them (together with their low fees) but I never imagined it could turn out this badly! Commiserations.

 

LegalTranslatr2  Identity Verified
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Local time: 03:25
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The farce of editing Aug 4

Tom in London wrote:

[ - and I'll bet that neither proofreader was referring to the original text.


And that's what a lot of agencies don't realize. These "editors" or "proofreaders" hardly even look at the source text and are not checking terminology at all. They just scan the translation looking for easy typos and key phrases they can find and replace. The more they find, the more work it looks like they've done. All they do is find one phrase that is repeated many times in the document, insert a synonym and voila, look at all the work they did.

We've all had situations where we've translated a very complicated document with hundreds of technical terms and we get the email from the agency saying that our translation was "proofread" and could we please review the mistakes found. You brace yourself for the worst and then you see that this person only found numerous stylistic "errors", but virtually no terminology errors. Wow, no terminology mistakes or suggestions for improvements? Instead of the bum the agency now thinks I am, I should be a genius.

The proof is that in an edited document, you will find hundreds of cases where "based on" is changed to "according to"; "because" is changed to "since", etc., but you will almost never find a correction like "integrated poly-morphic genetic detection system" changed to "integrated poly-morphic gene-activation detection system".







[Edited at 2020-08-04 21:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-08-04 21:31 GMT]


Nadja Balogh
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Chris S
Florence Bremond
Robert Forstag
IT>EN Legal
Wai Hin Lee
 

LegalTranslatr2  Identity Verified
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Local time: 03:25
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Patent terminology Aug 4

Hamish Young wrote:

I am also a native English speaker. I checked the file and found that the proofreader had made a number of ridiculous edits, including, for example, changing the standard patent phrase "characterized in that" to "is made up of" or "featuring in". Other standard phrases, such as "protective scope of the claims" were flagged as being "unclear".



I shudder to think what the "proofreader" did with "In this embodiment..." or "the invention concerns a..."

[Edited at 2020-08-04 21:39 GMT]


conejo
 

Hamish Young  Identity Verified
نيوزيلندا
Local time: 21:25
عضو (2010)
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Embodiment??? Aug 5

' I shudder to think what the "proofreader" did with "In this embodiment..." '

Funny you should mention that - the proofreader flagged "preferred embodiments" as incorrect based on the thesaurus entry for embodiment, and suggested "recommended fittings" instead

Agree with your comments re proofreading. Proofreaders need to justify their role, so you always get at least a few edits that serve no other pur
... See more
' I shudder to think what the "proofreader" did with "In this embodiment..." '

Funny you should mention that - the proofreader flagged "preferred embodiments" as incorrect based on the thesaurus entry for embodiment, and suggested "recommended fittings" instead

Agree with your comments re proofreading. Proofreaders need to justify their role, so you always get at least a few edits that serve no other purpose than that.

I do a lot of proofreading myself and certainly it is very tempting to ignore the source text. It's a lot faster for one thing, and often it is obvious that the translator is competent in the subject matter but just has problems expressing themselves in English, so it's better to focus on the target. A lot of agencies pay by hour for proofing and have an unrealistic expectation of how many words it is possible to properly review in an hour.

Ideally you should only be reviewing texts in your field of expertise, but of course that doesn't always happen!
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Florence Bremond
 

Anne Koth  Identity Verified
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Local time: 09:25
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if this ever comes up again... Aug 11

... that is, if you suspect that an agency with a complaint is not professional, then I would change this reaction:

"I explained that the language used in patents is often a bit archaic and convoluted. I told the agency to ignore all edits bar one, and turned off the comp for the evening."

My approach in this situation would be to take, say, the first three changes and explain concisely but very, very clearly, citing examples from the literature, dictionaries, the most
... See more
... that is, if you suspect that an agency with a complaint is not professional, then I would change this reaction:

"I explained that the language used in patents is often a bit archaic and convoluted. I told the agency to ignore all edits bar one, and turned off the comp for the evening."

My approach in this situation would be to take, say, the first three changes and explain concisely but very, very clearly, citing examples from the literature, dictionaries, the most impressive sources you can come up with (big-name law firms etc.) why the proofreader is wrong and you are right. This should be in the language of the agency's client if possible, and your motto should be "overkill".

Agencies like this attract bad translators, and are not able to judge whether you are one of these bad translators. They are probably used to bad translators saying "Oh, but actually I'm an expert in this", so won't just look at your CV and be reassured. They are used to people messing them around, so an offhand "Patents are usually pretty convoluted" will sound like a typical ropy excuse. You need to get in there quickly with a big, persuasive display of your knowledge.

A professional agency would also be able to deal with and reassure a complaining client better, so would be less likely to have to pass on a price cut to you. As an unprofessional agency can't do this, you effectively have to take over the job of placating the client. You have to give the agency something they can quickly pass on to the client to show that the translator is good.
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
أسبانيا
Local time: 08:25
عضو (2007)
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Give compliments alongside criticisms wherever possible Aug 11

My reaction when I had a mass of changes made to a marketing translation was to:
1. Find a typo or two and thank the proofreader for sorting them out. (I actually found one typo and one rewording that was a significant improvement on mine.) Accept those changes.
2. Find a few really awful edits where it was clear that the proofreader messed up a perfectly good translation. Justify the original translations with a couple of "serious" references and reject those changes.
3. Say t
... See more
My reaction when I had a mass of changes made to a marketing translation was to:
1. Find a typo or two and thank the proofreader for sorting them out. (I actually found one typo and one rewording that was a significant improvement on mine.) Accept those changes.
2. Find a few really awful edits where it was clear that the proofreader messed up a perfectly good translation. Justify the original translations with a couple of "serious" references and reject those changes.
3. Say that most if not all of the other changes would make no substantial difference (due to being "preferential" changes); would cause minor problems of register, repetition etc.; or could cause more major damage. Recommend rejection but offer to look through them all for a fee.

This case of a patent translation is obviously rather different, but I would urge you to try to find a way to include the first step. Sugar the pill, if you will . It also helps make you sound highly professional rather than angry/bitter.
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Julie Barber
Dan Lucas
Kay Denney
Christel Zipfel
Anne Koth
Fatine777
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
فرنسا
Local time: 09:25
عضو (2018)
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. Aug 11

Sheila Wilson wrote:

My reaction when I had a mass of changes made to a marketing translation was to:
1. Find a typo or two and thank the proofreader for sorting them out. (I actually found one typo and one rewording that was a significant improvement on mine.) Accept those changes.
2. Find a few really awful edits where it was clear that the proofreader messed up a perfectly good translation. Justify the original translations with a couple of "serious" references and reject those changes.
3. Say that most if not all of the other changes would make no substantial difference (due to being "preferential" changes); would cause minor problems of register, repetition etc.; or could cause more major damage. Recommend rejection but offer to look through them all for a fee.

This case of a patent translation is obviously rather different, but I would urge you to try to find a way to include the first step. Sugar the pill, if you will . It also helps make you sound highly professional rather than angry/bitter.


A hundred agrees for sweetening the pill! Acknowledging a couple of minor points shows that you're not being stubborn or refusing to take criticism. I'll even acknowledge a "nevertheless" in replacement of a "nonetheless" with a "I shall take note of the client's preference for future translations" if there really are no objective improvements made to my text, just so that I don't appear to be inflexible or too proud to admit error.
The client is then all the more willing to listen to your serious remarks about the proofreader's mistakes.


Sheila Wilson
 

conejo  Identity Verified
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Local time: 02:25
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I'm sorry this happened to you, sounds like their incompetence Aug 11

I have translated patents and I have also been an editor for a long time. Editing patents is not like editing normal documents... it's a completely different animal. Editing patents is very problematic unless you actually have a bilingual editor who is experienced in patents who is fluent/professional level in the source language and native in the target language. To successfully edit a patent, the editor must be fully checking the target against the source, and they must also realize that it is... See more
I have translated patents and I have also been an editor for a long time. Editing patents is not like editing normal documents... it's a completely different animal. Editing patents is very problematic unless you actually have a bilingual editor who is experienced in patents who is fluent/professional level in the source language and native in the target language. To successfully edit a patent, the editor must be fully checking the target against the source, and they must also realize that it is very dangerous to change anything in a patent translation unless they are 100% sure that understand the content completely throughout the entire document before they start making changes.

Also these days, most of the time companies won't pay the money needed to obtain such a proper edit, which encourages people to not spend much time on it, if they are not sticklers about quality. So from the get-go if they are just paying somebody who only knows English and can't read the source text to read the patent and make changes, this is a huge problem. As you said, the text is convoluted in patents and sometimes you can't even break it into different sentences because it will change the meaning if you do. So then, if you have more proofreaders doing the same thing after that it is a huge nightmare... For this reason I don't edit patents anymore because mostly nobody is willing to pay the money it takes for the time that is necessary to do it right and in good quality. They only want a cursory "scanned" type of edit only of the target language (or the money they are paying is barely good enough to pay for that), which is very dangerous for a patent.

I feel for you getting involved with this bad company, and they probably don't understand how to ensure quality and they might not know anything about patent translation. I think a bad BB comment is highly warranted.

[Edited at 2020-08-11 17:37 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-08-11 17:39 GMT]
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Wai Hin Lee
هونغ كونغ
Local time: 16:25
عضو (May 2020)
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I was once asked to review a translated text.... Aug 12

...and after I delivered the final document, the PM asked me why there seemed to be no changes. I told him that the translator did a decent work that I only need to made one or two minor changes. I had to reassure him that I have gone through the text very carefully.

It seems to me that if a reviewer/proofreader makes minimal changes to the original translation, some PMs would become suspicious and think that the reviewer/proofreader is not doing the job properly. Therefore, some re
... See more
...and after I delivered the final document, the PM asked me why there seemed to be no changes. I told him that the translator did a decent work that I only need to made one or two minor changes. I had to reassure him that I have gone through the text very carefully.

It seems to me that if a reviewer/proofreader makes minimal changes to the original translation, some PMs would become suspicious and think that the reviewer/proofreader is not doing the job properly. Therefore, some reviewers/proofreaders may be tempted into pointing out as much "errors" as possible, whether or not the errors are justified.

[Edited at 2020-08-12 16:46 GMT]
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Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 
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