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Negative feedback
Auteur du fil: Carmen Grabs

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Espagne
Membre (2014)
anglais vers espagnol
+ ...
Any project? Dec 3, 2014

Carmen Grabs wrote:


I take on all sorts of Projects. With some I feel more comfy than with others, but I work my way through. I think that is what many of us do, don'T they? I could be completely wrong here.



I would not dare to say you are "wrong" here, but I find it "daunting" to take on ANY project. The number of subject matter fields is so vast and the life is so short that the latter is simply not enough to accommodate the former.

So far I always decline medical, heavy IT, heavy technical and similar projects. I specialise in law, but do accept business-related projects (bordering legal). I just do not have time, nor do I have interest in conducting heavy research in cooking terminology.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Chine
Local time: 12:45
chinois vers anglais
Smother them with politeness Dec 3, 2014

Don't let it worry you. Everyone gets negative comments sometimes. I see bad feedback as a time to be massively polite. Either it's a time when I've made errors, and I should be humbly learning from those who know better; or it's a time when passive-aggressive courtesy will win the battle for you.

For example, if a customer rejects a perfectly standard term in favour of some other term which they happen to prefer:
"Thank you very much for this feedback. I'll change to (new ter
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Don't let it worry you. Everyone gets negative comments sometimes. I see bad feedback as a time to be massively polite. Either it's a time when I've made errors, and I should be humbly learning from those who know better; or it's a time when passive-aggressive courtesy will win the battle for you.

For example, if a customer rejects a perfectly standard term in favour of some other term which they happen to prefer:
"Thank you very much for this feedback. I'll change to (new term) now, and use it in translations for you in future. Telling me these preferences helps me to make the translations just right for you, so I really appreciate your comments on this."
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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:45
français vers allemand
+ ...
Don't take on any project Dec 3, 2014

I understand that it really feels bad to get a file back where nearly everything is changed.


I think I'd thoroughly check what the corrections and see what is the problem:

1) Have I accepted a project in a field I was not familiar enough with?

2) Is it only a problem of style and the proofreader just may did not like my style (in which case it might be good as well to have a third opinion)?

3) Are there things I really misunderstood or w
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I understand that it really feels bad to get a file back where nearly everything is changed.


I think I'd thoroughly check what the corrections and see what is the problem:

1) Have I accepted a project in a field I was not familiar enough with?

2) Is it only a problem of style and the proofreader just may did not like my style (in which case it might be good as well to have a third opinion)?

3) Are there things I really misunderstood or was I in a rush and quality has been suffering therefore?

etc.

You mention that you had translated "Service" by "Dienst". I don't work with English, but am a German native and I would not say that "Service" can always be translated by "Dienst". It will most often be "Dienstleistungen", "Serviceleistungen" or "Service" I think. Most often in German "Dienst" only is the "public service".

You say you take on all sorts of projects. I think one never should because you can not be good in just anything. Even if your fees are not high your translation still needs to be good quality. If you are not familiar with a subject, just don't accept the project and leave it to someone else! Saying "well, my fees aren't that high, so the customer can not expect a highly specialized translator and has to deal with the faults there might be" is not the right way in my opinion!

Specializing in a few fields does not mean to have less customers. For me it means to have more if you choose your fields carefully.
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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
États-Unis
Local time: 00:45
russe vers anglais
+ ...
If you are a very professional translator and know that the quality of Dec 4, 2014

your translation is really good, my feeling is that they may want a discount--to reduce the amount they agreed on. Also, most project managers do not speak both of the languages in your language pair, and they rely on some other, external proofreaders, or editors, who want to sound important, or even fix the text for a lot of money, of even not that money, but still being able to prove how important they are.

[Edited at 2014-12-04 09:29 GMT]


 

AndersonT  Identity Verified
États-Unis
Membre (2010)
allemand vers anglais
Never take "everything they throw at you" ... Dec 4, 2014

I think most things to be said are already said in this thread, but one thing I felt compelled to add and emphasize.

Taking on pretty much every job an agency throws your way is a recipe for disaster.

I know because I made that mistake when I started out. It was a mix of a misguided sense of loyalty to my clients, being grateful for having gotten the job, wanting to help out and not least the fear of losing clients for saying no.

The irony is that by taking
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I think most things to be said are already said in this thread, but one thing I felt compelled to add and emphasize.

Taking on pretty much every job an agency throws your way is a recipe for disaster.

I know because I made that mistake when I started out. It was a mix of a misguided sense of loyalty to my clients, being grateful for having gotten the job, wanting to help out and not least the fear of losing clients for saying no.

The irony is that by taking on jobs one isn't perfectly suitable for, one betrays all of the above. Taking on a job that is out of one's depth is the opposite of being loyal, it's risking the client's reputation with their end-clients.

In my case, I have to admit that in those early days I have taken on engineering jobs that I simply shouldn't have taken on - with predictable results. The translations were soso instead of great, they took me way longer than they should have because I had to research so much more than someone familiar with the topic, and eventually I lost the client anyways because the editor had a field day with me. A harsh lesson to learn.

Long story short, a PM that knows what he/she is doing will not hold it against you if you decline a job because the subject matter is not your cup of tea. Just the opposite. Serious PMs will be grateful for your honesty and appreciate it if you're not another "I-do-it-all" translator, a breed that is causing so much issues in this industry everywhere.

If, on the other hand, you are dealing with PMs that basically give a crap and only care about having the job assigned to god knows whom come hell or high water, you might not want that client to begin with.

Just 2 cents I felt I should add...
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Carmen Grabs
Allemagne
Local time: 06:45
Membre (2012)
anglais vers allemand
+ ...
AUTEUR DU FIL
You hit the nail on the head, Dec 4, 2014

AndersonT, that's exactly, what I feel: a mix of a misguided sense of loyalty, gratefulness, wanting to help out (even thinking they are lost without me!) and fear of saying no. That's exactly it! And as you also noticed, what you achieve by this is the opposite of your Intention

Thanks for sharing.
Thank you everybody for sharing! I am so grateful to have so many supportive colleagues here at proz.

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AndersonT, that's exactly, what I feel: a mix of a misguided sense of loyalty, gratefulness, wanting to help out (even thinking they are lost without me!) and fear of saying no. That's exactly it! And as you also noticed, what you achieve by this is the opposite of your Intention

Thanks for sharing.
Thank you everybody for sharing! I am so grateful to have so many supportive colleagues here at proz.

What I did is this: I got a second opinion (a very helpful Person, who had read my thread, had offered to take a look at my file!). So I was in a stronger Position and could tell the Client that 50-80% of the corrections were preferential or for a better flow. I admitted where I had failed and finished by saying that I will not take on any similar Projects and that I am willing to not Charge my full Price. Well, let's see what happens. I really hope I won't lose them.
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Tony Keily  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:45
italien vers anglais
+ ...
Experience Dec 5, 2014

Have you been translating for long?

Normally I know whether the 'negative' call is justified or not. Everyone has an off day or moment. This happens to me now and again when I'm busy and a client asks me if I could (please, please) accept a tiny extra job as a favour and I rush it off, committing some error in the process. But if you have experience, you can see when you've slipped up. Just admit it and say sorry.

I've never become involved in long 'justifications' of
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Have you been translating for long?

Normally I know whether the 'negative' call is justified or not. Everyone has an off day or moment. This happens to me now and again when I'm busy and a client asks me if I could (please, please) accept a tiny extra job as a favour and I rush it off, committing some error in the process. But if you have experience, you can see when you've slipped up. Just admit it and say sorry.

I've never become involved in long 'justifications' of my work if there are no grounds. This just leaves you open to more of the same later.

On glossaries, what you need is reliable sample material in the target language, better if accompanied by a source language equivalent. If a client asks you to translate a bank's financial statement from Italian to English, you go to the English and Italian language 'Investor Relations' sections of the websites of, say, Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, download recent financial statements and go to work on your text, using the bilingual texts for reference. You can do the same in many areas using EU institutional websites. Glossaries are only as good as their compilers.
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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Danemark
Local time: 06:45
Membre (2003)
danois vers anglais
+ ...
Confessions of a proofreader... Dec 5, 2014

From a proofreader's point of view, your text might have been fine on the whole. Tracked changes cruelly show everything twice, once crossed out and once with the new version...
Everything can be said in several ways. Take Phil Hand's advice about noting the client's preferences - that usually pacifies them!

As a rookie proofreader I have to admit I was over-eager on occasions. I am not the only one. I was lucky: colleagues taught me the difference between preferential and n
... See more
From a proofreader's point of view, your text might have been fine on the whole. Tracked changes cruelly show everything twice, once crossed out and once with the new version...
Everything can be said in several ways. Take Phil Hand's advice about noting the client's preferences - that usually pacifies them!

As a rookie proofreader I have to admit I was over-eager on occasions. I am not the only one. I was lucky: colleagues taught me the difference between preferential and necessary changes. Don't get too upset if your translation was proofread by someone like that!

When time is too tight to check, I sometimes adopt the policy of playing safe. I suggest a solution, particularly in legal texts, that I would use, because I know it is correct. If I have time to check later, I may find that the original version was just as good.
Moral: only take on proofreading jobs if you have time! (AND you are getting paid for it...)

If the translation is at all competent, then I try to mention a good point that I liked and add a note that they should reject any preferential suggestions they do not agree with. It softens the blow...
___________________________________

In the translator's role I have certainly been in your position, and had a dissatisfied client tear my work apart. It is a horrible experience, but calm down, and then defend yourself with icy politeness as others have suggested.

Don't take on work you are not happy about. Turning down a job or two for that reason is actually a way to gain more suitable work if you mention at the same time what you ARE good at. I have found the best clients and PMs respect you for knowing your limits and specialising. Consider it as effective marketing, because if you get it right, PMs remember you in a positive way when looking for someone to take on the next job.

I hope you sorted the problem out and are feeling better.
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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:45
Membre (2012)
italien vers anglais
+ ...
Hello Carmen Dec 6, 2014

I hope you got over your bad patch and learned from it. I also had a file sent back by an agency which said that the end client had commissioned a reviewer and so the agency was asking me for comments. I felt like you at first, till I saw the file with the track changes-luckily I had seen your post so I realised I was far from being the only one. Anyway, the reviewer had made some mistakes too, but some changes were subjective. At least the agency, in my case, had given me the opportunity to jus... See more
I hope you got over your bad patch and learned from it. I also had a file sent back by an agency which said that the end client had commissioned a reviewer and so the agency was asking me for comments. I felt like you at first, till I saw the file with the track changes-luckily I had seen your post so I realised I was far from being the only one. Anyway, the reviewer had made some mistakes too, but some changes were subjective. At least the agency, in my case, had given me the opportunity to justify my 'mistakes' and I could list dictionary, link, and page of nearly all except for 1 change. The agency realised and agreed that some of the changes were indeed 'subjective' and that I had justified those marked as 'mistakes'. When I had calmed down-I now make sure I calm down before speaking to agencies/clients, I thanked the agency for providing me with the chance of commenting and justifying my reasons, pointed out one could learn a lot from a good reviewer, but I also asked how the reviewer justified some of his/her mistakes then. The agency sent another project along, and asked me to proofread it and said that 's/he realised that some of the changes had been subjective while a few were objective- I'll make sure to avoid these next time, as it was a real pity. In my case, at least the agency had given me the chance to present my point of view and both the agency and myself appreciated that I went through the whole file to do so, and the end client must have accepted my comments, links, dictionary pages mentioned since this client sent the other file. Some agencies/clients expect one to know every field if you are native in a language, which is not the case at all, and we have to tell them this. I do not accept translations in certain fields, native or not-technical, construction- as I just do not know the terms or how to spell them either. Lesson learnt-always be calm with the agency/client, but be firm, show your point of view, admit any mistakes you might have made, and, above all, move on. If I were in your case, now, I would ask the agency to show you the feedback so you can present your own 'defence'. Any way, you're not alone and good luck. One learns the hard way sometimes.Collapse


 

Winston Szeto
Membre (2017)
anglais vers chinois
+ ...
Discredit bad reviewers (politely) with examples Sep 7, 2017

I know this thread has died down for a while but I am still interested in joining since, as a reviewer myself, I have also encountered with a reviewer who gave me a "C" (which is pretty bad) for my subtitle translation, which I admit was infuriated with. But I returned politely to the client (an agency) who commissioned the review, pointing out all the examples that I felt my rendition was better than the reviewer's changes, with links to all the online sources available. Some agencies may have ... See more
I know this thread has died down for a while but I am still interested in joining since, as a reviewer myself, I have also encountered with a reviewer who gave me a "C" (which is pretty bad) for my subtitle translation, which I admit was infuriated with. But I returned politely to the client (an agency) who commissioned the review, pointing out all the examples that I felt my rendition was better than the reviewer's changes, with links to all the online sources available. Some agencies may have the motivation to give bad reviews particularly when they talk you down upon signing an agreement and "promising" to raise your rate "once the performance is up to their standard," which is something totally upon their discretion. And some reviewers, who may be translators working with the same agency, may be motivated to talk fellow translators down in order to give themselves an edge, which is certainly unethical to do. The best thing to do with what you believe as bad, unfair reviews is to discredit the reviews with good examples and detailed explanation to defend your professional image. Should bad reviews persist despite what you believe as substantial improvement on your part, it should be time to part with the agency amicably. It's important to accept comments with a humble heart, but it's equally important not to let yourself down by irresponsible comments.Collapse


 
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