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Dealing with excessive counter-productive "editor feedback."
Thread poster: Eric Stone

Eric Stone
Taiwan
Local time: 08:36
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Maybe I'll regret it Feb 13, 2017

Texte Style wrote:

I fail to see how this is OK. You still have to check every single correction, just to determine whether it's valid or not, which is going to take time even if you don't bother to check everything in a dictionary. You don't specify whether you are billing for this or not?


Maybe you're right. So far I've felt its been pretty easy to determine which of their edits are founded and which are not without spending a lot of extra time, and factoring that into consideration I thought that my original price would still be suitable for this translation. But, maybe I will regret it, and have to make adjustments in the future.

In any event, I haven't signed any contracts yet and am still feeling things out with this potential client; I'll do my best to avoid setting any bad precedents for everyone else's sake!

I've spent most of my career working through agencies, but I really would like to break into work with direct clients, as they can be far more lucrative, plus I was under the impression that this would give me more freedom with my processes, schedule, etc.

For this reason, going in now I'm not sure how much I can expect; after all, this isn't anything new. Many agencies I've worked with in the past have had an equally poor record with 'false edits', even those who good rates. In this case, I've spent hours in text chat trying to work out this editing issue with this client, and I'm a little torn: I don't want to client to think I'm being overly difficult or trying to pull a bait and switch, as editing is a normal part of the translation process, but of course we all know that 90%+ false edits due to poor target language reading comprehension on the editors' parts is not normal.

I guess I'm just not sure enough yet of what is "reasonable" for me to set in terms of my own boundaries when working with direct clients. On one hand, I obviously don't want to scare potential clients off by coming off as a diva, or 'overly intense.' On the other, if I don't set proper boundaries I'll be surely regret it later, possibly even early on in the project, leaving me in a bad situation that that I may have to bite the bullet on for much longer than I'd care to.

I'm sure this varies from pair to pair, but I suppose what I really need is some concrete advice from those of you who have worked extensively with direct clients, and have good success setting boundaries and maintaining good business relationships with your own direct clients.

[Edited at 2017-02-13 08:34 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-02-13 08:36 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:37
Member (2018)
French to English
You set your boundaries Feb 13, 2017

Basically, you need to be sure that your price covers this kind of nightmare, if you care that much. I do care, passionately, and so I bill what most agencies would call a very stiff rate. I point out that I always go the extra distance to make sure they're satisfied.

If they don't have any quibbles, I save time. That doesn't mean they should pay less. They're paying for an experienced translator and getting peace of mind thrown in for free, that's still a good deal.

... See more
Basically, you need to be sure that your price covers this kind of nightmare, if you care that much. I do care, passionately, and so I bill what most agencies would call a very stiff rate. I point out that I always go the extra distance to make sure they're satisfied.

If they don't have any quibbles, I save time. That doesn't mean they should pay less. They're paying for an experienced translator and getting peace of mind thrown in for free, that's still a good deal.

Of course there are lots of people who try to get me to bring my rate down and I tell them I'm sorry they can't afford me.

Otherwise, if you don't care that much, you can alternatively tell them to do what they like with your translation once they've paid for it. There are plenty of translators who just take the money and run to the bank, and it's certainly a healthy attitude when the client's ego gets in the way or if they just don't care.

I've found that actually meeting your clients is a good way to show them that you take great care with your translations. I'm a terrible introvert so I hate doing it, but somehow I manage to project enough confidence in my translation abilities to inspire trust.
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MK2010  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:37
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
Can you give them names of editors you know and trust? Feb 13, 2017

Eric S. wrote:

I guess I'm just not sure enough yet of what is "reasonable" for me to set in terms of my own boundaries when working with direct clients. On one hand, I obviously don't want to scare potential clients off by coming off as a diva, or 'overly intense.' On the other, if I don't set proper boundaries I'll be surely regret it later, possibly even early on in the project, leaving me in a bad situation that that I may have to bite the bullet on for much longer than I'd care to.

I'm sure this varies from pair to pair, but I suppose what I really need is some concrete advice from those of you who have worked extensively with direct clients, and have good success setting boundaries and maintaining good business relationships with your own direct clients.


If your clients, whether agency or direct, are hiring editors who are not native in the target language and you would rather not work in those conditions, perhaps you could try suggesting a few names to them?

It is perfectly reasonable for any translator to expect an editor to have the same level of fluency as themselves. It is a huge and frustrating waste of everybody's time when an editor's level of comprehension is sub-par. You can explain this to a potential new client and give them a few candidates to choose from. A direct client may not even be fully aware that this is the way things are supposed to work (these people are not typically professional linguists), while an agency might actually be happy to add a qualified freelance editor to its roster.

It is simply impossible to have every word choice you make questioned. There is either trust or there isn't. Sometimes it takes a few assignments to get there (on both sides, as translators also have to "test" their clients), but without that trust, a working relationship can be a real headache.


 
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