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Re: [Czechlist] Is there a famine?

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  • James Kirchner
    You know, it s occurred to me that the writer of that awful English text may not even have been a translator, but an over-confident client who wanted to flex
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 15, 2013
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      You know, it's occurred to me that the writer of that awful English text may not even have been a translator, but an over-confident client who wanted to flex his English muscle.

      Jamie

      On Jun 14, 2013, at 10:37 PM, Pilucha, Jiri wrote:

      > Jamie, just as a matter of interest - by no means intended to call into question the obvious incompetence of "your" translator - I have heard even native speakers of English say "Swiss" instead of Switzerland, and what bothers me even more is that they routinely say "in Czech" instead of "in the Czech Republic" ("they" meaning many corporate guys from the UK/US that I know). But like I say, your guy seems to be ignorant rather consistently...
      >
      > Jiri
      >
      >
      > From: Czechlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Czechlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of James Kirchner
      > Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2013 3:46 AM
      > To: czechlist@...
      > Subject: [Czechlist] Is there a famine?
      >
      >
      >
      > Is there a Czech-to-English translator famine on the market right now?
      >
      > Suddenly, a client who used to just send me translation is now also sending me really horrible stuff to edit. Sometimes I even have to throw it back and tell them it can't be edited. This never happened before.
      >
      > I notice that Western agencies have been increasingly contacting me do work from Czech to English, and it's starting to seem like Czech is suddenly the flavor of the month in the West. Is it possible higher Western rates are drawing the better translators away from Czech agencies? Are Czech clients squeezing prices so hard that Czech agencies are reduced to the quality common 20 years ago?
      >
      > It's one thing if a person has a few syntax problems, but today I got something where the person didn't even spellcheck and didn't bother to find out simple information. He or she wrote "United Emirates of Arabia", "Italie", "Swiss" (instead of Switzerland), and many similar things.
      >
      > Any perceptions? Could this sudden upsurge in requests to edit junk be due to a labor shortage?
      >
      > Jamie
      >
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      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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    • Jirka Bolech
      Hi Jamie, I guess some agencies can t resist the ultra cheap offers some job exchange websites are teeming with. It s not difficult to figure out what kind of
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 16, 2013
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        Hi Jamie,

        I guess some agencies can't resist the ultra cheap offers some job
        exchange websites are teeming with. It's not difficult to figure out
        what kind of people such "translators" are and how they operate. The
        pricing pressure at the cost of quality, however, starts with the
        client. I have translated numerous documents from sloppy English for
        large, globally renowed manufacturers. Quality and professionalism are
        rare animals. Low prices rule...

        Jirka Bolech


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      • Jirka Bolech
        Perhaps I should have said that the low price preference to quality starts with the consumer, rather than with the translation job client... Jirka Bolech
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 16, 2013
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          Perhaps I should have said that the low price preference to quality
          starts with the consumer, rather than with the translation job client...

          Jirka Bolech

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        • James Kirchner
          When working at companies on projects that were supposed to be translated (not by me), I find there are a number of phenomena that sabotage quality: 1.
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 16, 2013
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            When working at companies on projects that were supposed to be translated (not by me), I find there are a number of phenomena that sabotage quality:

            1. Outsourcing and management of the translation project are often not handled by someone who would best understand how to deal with such a project. More often, they are handled by someone who wants to increase his fabulosity by managing something "international". In the US, this person is usually monolingual and has no understanding of quality or cultural issues.

            2. Once the project goes into another language, it enters an alternative universe where everyone in the company abandons their usual quality standards. While they may require people with serious credentials to create a text in their own language, and run it past two or three crack editors and proofreaders, no such quality procedures are followed with translations.

            3. The people managing and outsourcing the project do not care if the translation is accurate, as long as the translation agency has agreed to assume liability for all errors and omissions.

            I saw No. 3 firsthand a few times at major advertising agencies. When working on a car catalog translated into Spanish, I noticed that it was shot full of claims that the car came with 4-wheel drive. This was a mistake, because it only came with front-wheel drive. I approached the account manager on this, since it can cause quite a lawsuit in the US, and he calmly said, "The translation house agreed to be liable for anything like that." I asked, "But do you really want the catalog to go out with false information?" He didn't seem concerned. (Luckily, in this case, I was allowed to deal directly with the translator.)

            Sometimes also, for ego reasons, the account manager won't give the proofreaders or editors access to the translator or even to a project manager at the translation agency. Once I had a brochure for a very large worldwide chemical company that was to be passed out at trade shows. The back of the brochure showed a list of the company's dealer-partners in various countries, and the list had obviously been dictated to a semi-literate native speaker of English, who merely wrote down the German and French names the way they would be spelled if they sounded like that in English. The names of the companies were hopelessly garbled, and it would have been impossible to contact many of them. I had to go to the senior VP of the ad agency, because the account executive furiously refused to give me access to anyone who might have the correct list.

            Jamie

            On Jun 16, 2013, at 5:18 AM, Jirka Bolech wrote:

            > Hi Jamie,
            >
            > I guess some agencies can't resist the ultra cheap offers some job exchange websites are teeming with. It's not difficult to figure out what kind of people such "translators" are and how they operate. The pricing pressure at the cost of quality, however, starts with the client. I have translated numerous documents from sloppy English for large, globally renowed manufacturers. Quality and professionalism are rare animals. Low prices rule...
            >
            > Jirka Bolech
            >
            >
            > _______________________________________________
            > Czechlist mailing list
            > Czechlist@...
            > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


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