Project schedule and Quality Check requirements - Is this normal? How can I improve?
Auteur du fil: Eric Azevedo

Eric Azevedo  Identity Verified
Brésil
Local time: 20:19
Membre (2020)
anglais vers portugais
Nov 27, 2020

Hello, everyone

I have this project that I am working on that has a structure that is unfamiliar to what I have been used to:

1. The client (an agency) delivered me the STs (already in .sdlxiliff format) with a deadline for me to follow;
2. They also sent an Excel file which they called Termlist/Glossary, filled with not only specific terms but with standalone/dictionary words like “work”, “design”, “form”, “plant”, “project” that I should tran
... See more
Hello, everyone

I have this project that I am working on that has a structure that is unfamiliar to what I have been used to:

1. The client (an agency) delivered me the STs (already in .sdlxiliff format) with a deadline for me to follow;
2. They also sent an Excel file which they called Termlist/Glossary, filled with not only specific terms but with standalone/dictionary words like “work”, “design”, “form”, “plant”, “project” that I should translate and sent back to them for their “client’s approval”.

I had to do this before doing everything else – so I had no time to analyze in which context those words were being used. It had words and terms that were related to what was given to me to translate, but also to other parts of the project that was assigned to another/other translator(s).
I surely told them that these words had multiple possible meanings, that doing such work before the actual translations would not be productive or correct, but they insisted on it, and so I complied*. It was my impression that this was done so they could lower the total amount paid, since they displayed on the budget that “termlist words” were going to be charged 50% less, to which I paid no mind (it wouldn’t lessen the total price terribly, and I took the project at a decent rate). But it continues:

3. After I delivered about 30% of the total project (a section of about 15k words), I was surprised with an email. They ran a QC (Quality Check) using a software called Xbench (I had heard of it, but never used it), which apparently compared all my translations with the termlist and then, on every segment where I didn’t use the words accordingly, I was asked to a) change the segment and b) provide a comment on the spreadsheet. It had approximately 200 entries, for all the times I did things like translate “plant” into “vegetation” instead of “factory”, or “work” into “function” instead of “chore”, for instance.

So, I came to this forum to kindly ask you about these steps. It was my knowledge and experience that translations usually follow the translate>edit>proofread path (of course besides ‘post-editing’ MT), so I always expect that my translations will be edited by another person (or at least proofread). But what about Quality Check? What about this Xbench software? Is this something agencies do now, can I expect to be interrupted on the middle of an already strict deadline to fill in some spreadsheet and rework all the previously delivered files?

And also, this glossary thing is obviously wrong, this is something I’ll already react better to if it is requested from me in the future. Has something similar happened to you?

Feel free to point out what I did wrong, or how I can improve my future deals with clients and anticipate this from happening.


*I see that there has been some recent animosities in here about too many new, low-quality translators coming in the ‘covid era’ and taking jobs at ridiculously low prices and ruining the industry, etc., etc., so I have been cautious about how I present myself here. I feel like mentioning that I am a beginner freelance translator, I know how to do my job but operating the online industry has been a new endeavor. I took this job knowing of the risks, however I must mention that this agency that hired me has little online presence, but I don’t see any negative reviews about them on the BlueBoard, and I did work with them (on a much smaller project, however) in the past and it was fine.


[Editada em 2020-11-27 21:31 GMT]
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IrinaN
États-Unis
Local time: 16:19
anglais vers russe
+ ...
You answered your own question Nov 28, 2020

*** I had no time to analyze in which context those words were being used. ... but they insisted on it, and so I complied*. ***

"The rest is silence." W. Shakespeare, Hamlet


 

Ana Cuesta  Identity Verified
Espagne
Local time: 23:19
Membre
anglais vers espagnol
I wouldn't say it is normal but it happens Nov 28, 2020

This kind of QC tends to give a lot of false positives, sometimes because of the way clients set it up and sometimes because of the very nature of different language rules and grammar. I would (and have done in similar cases in the past) choose a couple of the most obvious examples and use them to explain that to the client. If, afterwards, they still insist in you going through all 200 instances, I would quickly copy/paste FALSE POSITIVE – GRAMMAR or FALSE POSITIVE – CONTEXT, without furthe... See more
This kind of QC tends to give a lot of false positives, sometimes because of the way clients set it up and sometimes because of the very nature of different language rules and grammar. I would (and have done in similar cases in the past) choose a couple of the most obvious examples and use them to explain that to the client. If, afterwards, they still insist in you going through all 200 instances, I would quickly copy/paste FALSE POSITIVE – GRAMMAR or FALSE POSITIVE – CONTEXT, without further explanation, in their spreadsheet. This kind of procedure-driven (as opposed to true quality-driven) client will often happily file the completed spreadsheet you send them back, regardless of its actual content.Collapse


Teresa Borges
Eric Azevedo
 

Elena Feriani
Italie
Local time: 23:19
Membre
français vers italien
+ ...
I'm with Irina Nov 28, 2020

Translating a glossary with no context is a recipe for disaster. You should have researched each word.
I would suggest you to offer to edit the glossary now, since the project is ongoing and you have a better understanding of the context.
Clients pay for just translation or translation+editing or translation+editing+proofreading. So sometimes there is no reviewer. But when there is a reviewer, it is not a reason for you not to follow the glossary.
Take a look at terminology man
... See more
Translating a glossary with no context is a recipe for disaster. You should have researched each word.
I would suggest you to offer to edit the glossary now, since the project is ongoing and you have a better understanding of the context.
Clients pay for just translation or translation+editing or translation+editing+proofreading. So sometimes there is no reviewer. But when there is a reviewer, it is not a reason for you not to follow the glossary.
Take a look at terminology management resources online, you can also download Xbench and run it yourself. I ask my clients to share their Xbench checklists and they are usually happy to do so.
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Eric Azevedo
 

Eric Azevedo  Identity Verified
Brésil
Local time: 20:19
Membre (2020)
anglais vers portugais
AUTEUR DU FIL
Thank you for your comments so far Nov 28, 2020

IrinaN wrote:

You answered your own question


Yes. I appreciate your blunt criticism and I already knew that it was wrong the moment I received it. I am sorry if I'm appearing to you all as being too naive. But I had little way out, apart from just refusing the project. As I was devoid of current projects to work on, I accepted it. Like I said, I did voice my concerns with the client that doing so prior to the actual translation wasn't common practice and pointed out to the multitude of words with a myriad of different meanings, to what the client just said that he needed it. The deadline was/is so strict I couldn't afford the time of switching more emails and writing walls of explanation, unfortunately I believe my only option would be to just refuse the whole project, and risk getting a negative review (apart from missing out on the opportunity).

My main questions here, however, are meant to be a) if such terminology list/glossary with so many generic words is common practice, and also b) about this Quality Check procedure happening at the middle of a project. I was very surprised to having to handle the latter all of a sudden and of course my own glossary ended up screwing me up a bit there, I should had written every possible translation for the words there.

Ana Cuesta wrote:

I would (and have done in similar cases in the past) choose a couple of the most obvious examples and use them to explain that to the client. If, afterwards, they still insist in you going through all 200 instances, I would quickly copy/paste FALSE POSITIVE – GRAMMAR or FALSE POSITIVE – CONTEXT, without further explanation, in their spreadsheet. This kind of procedure-driven (as opposed to true quality-driven) client will often happily file the completed spreadsheet you send them back, regardless of its actual content.


I should had done this, in fact I ended up copy-pasting a lot of the same reasonings for the entries there. Thank you for the advice.
The thing is that now I am too self-aware of it and I'll just make sure to translate all the words as requested, which will make my target text less organic and a bit more robotic and artificial (I have said that to the client already). Which goes back to my question as to how this type of automated QC is used and enforced by agencies.

Elena Feriani wrote:

Take a look at terminology management resources online, you can also download Xbench and run it yourself. I ask my clients to share their Xbench checklists and they are usually happy to do so.


I will look further into Xbench. What I did with the termlist is convert it into bilingual format and create a SDL Multiterm termbase with it. It was my intention to keep adding to it as I went with the translations, and, at the end of the project, deliver the termbase file along with the target files.


[Editada em 2020-11-28 11:47 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Pays-Bas
Local time: 23:19
Membre (2006)
anglais vers afrikaans
+ ...
Just say "false positive" Nov 28, 2020

Eric Azevedo wrote:
They ran a QC (Quality Check) using a software called Xbench (I had heard of it, but never used it), which apparently compared all my translations with the termlist and then, on every segment where I didn’t use the words accordingly, I was asked to a) change the segment and b) provide a comment on the spreadsheet.


Some agencies believe that it is part of a translator's job to respond to automated quality queries related to his translation, even without telling the translator beforehand. The translator is expected to check the report and fix anything that he regards as an actual mistake that the program had picked up. However, people who have never encountered such a report can be at risk of spending too much time on it.

Here's what I do:

I read through the list very, very quickly to see if any of the flagged issues are actual errors (they are usually sorted by type). I temporarily mark those rows e.g. in a different colour, so that I can return to them easily. Then, for all the other rows, I simply write "False positive" in the comment column. For the rows where the QA check did pick up actual errors, I write something like "Changed 'XYZ' to 'ABC' in SDLXLIFF file" and fix it in the SDLXLIFF file.

In fact, for many of my clients it is sufficient that I write an e-mail back to them saying "they are all false positives", without having to write anything in the Excel file. In fact in fact, even if there are true positives (i.e. things that I have to fix), it is usually okay to just write a short note in those rows only, save it, attach it to the reply e-mail, and write in that e-mail "the rest are all false positives". The Excel file (sometimes HTML file) is usually not going to be shared with the client, so PMs are happy to be informal about it.

For some of my clients, I don't even check the terminology mismatches -- I simply tell the client in an e-mail that the QA has "many" false positives due to e.g. limitations in the QA software which results in too many false positives, and that they are welcome to ask me specifically about specific items that they are specifically concerned about.

That said, there are such things as e.g. LQA reports in which the agency's client had submitted the translation to an actual human who wrote comments, and then you have to respond to those comments to defend your translation. Even that step is not always communicated to the translator (sigh!).

It had approximately 200 entries, for all the times I did things like translate “plant” into “vegetation” instead of “factory”, or “work” into “function” instead of “chore”, for instance.


I'm confident that the client is well aware that some (or most) of these flags are false positives (i.e. the QA software identified it as a positive mismatch, but is is not a true positive mismatch), so don't become upset about it.

(However, yes, I do sometimes get the impression that some PMs believe that it takes a translator no extra time to read through a list of 200 or 500 terminology flags to see which ones are not false positives.)

Eric Azevedo wrote:
My main questions here, however, are meant to be a) if such terminology list/glossary with so many generic words is common practice, and also b) about this Quality Check procedure happening at the middle of a project.


I have not experienced that a client would send me a list of words to translate (except in very large projects). The word lists have usually already been created by a previous translator.

[Edited at 2020-11-28 12:03 GMT]


Eric Azevedo
 

Eric Azevedo  Identity Verified
Brésil
Local time: 20:19
Membre (2020)
anglais vers portugais
AUTEUR DU FIL
If I can just write false-positives and continue doing my translations not in a word-for-word way... Nov 28, 2020

Samuel Murray wrote:

Some agencies believe that it is part of a translator's job to respond to automated quality queries related to his translation, even without telling the translator beforehand. The translator is expected to check the report and fix anything that he regards as an actual mistake that the program had picked up. However, people who have never encountered such a report can be at risk of spending too much time on it.


As I had no knowledge of this procedure, I'll keep this extra/hidden step in mind when negotiating deadlines in the future. Thank you.

Samuel Murray wrote:

I'm confident that the client is well aware that some (or most) of these flags are false positives (i.e. the QA software identified it as a positive mismatch, but is is not a true positive mismatch), so don't become upset about it.


I will also do this. I did react a bit too much about it, especially because many of the things indicated where segments that I had delivered with added comments in them (explaining my choices there, etc.), and those weren't considered.




[Editada em 2020-11-28 12:27 GMT]


 


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