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Complaints on translation? Or translator errors?

No matter how much we aspire to an impeccable quality of translation, but sometimes errors still have a place to be. Only those who do nothing do not make mistakes.

Ph. Linn
29 January, 2019

All customer complaints to the quality of the translated text can be divided into three categories.

1. "Everything is wrong here at all"

The claims are not substantiated and the client does not give an example of specific errors in the translation. The editor`s attempts to explain something to the client run into a wall of misunderstanding. The adequacy of translation, terminology, quality criteria for translation is not discussed. There is only a scream and negative feedback.

2. Errors in translation caused by errors in the source text.

The translator knows that an error in the source text will always result in an error in the translated text. However, it is very difficult for the client to explain that this is not a mistake in the translation, but an error in the source. The original text for translation should be complete, i.e. be without missing words, do not contain tattered sentences or ambiguously interpreted thoughts.

3. Errors and inaccuracies in the translation, caused by special conditions of work performance.

For example, errors in translation can indeed be admitted by an interpreter due to objective reasons: excessive project urgency and narrowly specialized terminology.

By itself, narrow specialization is not the cause of translation errors. However, the profile vocabulary, work jargon and the expressions that are settled in the industry or the customer`s company will often be translated by the translator with an error, or distortion of meaning. In these cases, it is useful to provide a short glossary before the translation, and the problem will be solved.

4. Changes in the source text by the client in the process of the translator`s work on the order.

In our work there have been cases of the client`s refusal to translate, process, change the text or transfer deadlines. All these cases create additional difficulties for translators, and although we have learned to minimize the negative consequences of these changes, in this case however, a mistake was unfortunately made.


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One of our agency`s regular clients made a comment on a translation we completed for them, and it has not left my mind since. It encapsulated a criteria for judging the quality of a translation which had not occurred to me before.

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tags: ошибка перевода, translation quality, translator, mistakes, glossary, error, terminology, meaning, editor, problem, customer

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Latest translation:
"Состав мясной продукции / The composition of meat products", Упаковка и тара, Translator №793

translation tags: ингредиент, состав, кулинария.

Translations in process: 40
Current work load: 35%

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Brunei’s Language And Literature Bureau In Need Of More Translators

Вуди Аллен опасается трудностей с переводом названия его нового фильма "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger"

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