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Afraid of the proofreader

Community Guru
Corinne L Member Since: Jun 3, 2013
1 of 7

Well, frankly, I'm freaking out, and I don't know what to do. I'm doing an English-French translation at the moment and when I sent my translation, the client sent it back to me offering me suggestions on how to translate some words. The thing is, I think the proofreader doesn't even understand very basic French, as he (or she) is making horrendous mistranslations. For instance, he is mistaking a paper fan for an electric fan, or a bandage for a shawl. I really don't know what to do and I'm afraid for my feedback ! I've seen that some time ago they've been hiring a non-native French person to proofread French translations and I'm afraid it's the same person who's proofreading my job right now ! What would you do ?

Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
2 of 7

Hi Corinne,


I feel for you (you know why haha). Sadly, some clients really don't know any better. Translations can be very tricky and sometimes a word can take a whole new different meaning depending on the context and sentence placement. It is sedom word for word. Non-native or non-native level language speakers would sometimes not be able to see the difference and think just because they passed some test they are experts or some type of ninja.


if I were in your place, I would cut the client loose. Not sure how much time you've invested in the project so far but just remember that the longer you work with that client, the higher the dollar value of the project becomes and the more your feedback and ratings will suffer. 


With the reviews taking place and almost everything can be held against a freelancer, we should be extra careful. I've turned down several clients just this past week because of that. How can we be rated by someone who don't have a real grasp of what our job is?


Some clients check translations against some web software thinking it must be error-proof because hey, it's the internet! I'm sure those people have not heard of how awful google translate is Smiley Tongue

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 7

Hello Corinne!

Sorry you're having a rough time.

I'll offer my advice, which I hope will be worth at least what you are paying me for it. :-)


1. First off, remain calm!


2. Second, do not be "afraid" of the proofreader. He is just a person trying to do a job, just like you. There isn't really anything to be afraid of from him. He is not going to come to your house and kick your dog. The worst thing that can possibly happen from him is that he gets you fired from this particular job, a job in which you're working for a client who isn't that great in the first place. (I know the client is a bit low-rate because the client is using a non-native French speaker to proofread French/English translations.


3. Very calmly, without any emotion, and using only three sentences, send a reply pointing out that your translations are correct and why. Have somebody you trust read over your reply. Then remove some of the words from your reply to make it shorter. Send.


4. The client will either (a) realize that the proofreader doesn't know what he's talking about and stop using that proofreader to check your translations or (b) no longer longer receive the benefit of your expertise because you will politely tell him that you wish him well but that you need to focus your time elsewhere.


5. Be extremely polite and gratious. Don't worry overly much about the feedback. There is nothing to be gained from working wth somebody who does not value or understand what you do. If the client is going to leave bad feedback, they are going to do it, and they are not less likely to do it after you go back and forth with them a bunch of times arguing about translations.

Community Guru
Corinne L Member Since: Jun 3, 2013
4 of 7

Hi Dianne and Preston, thanks for your support.

Well, Preston, I already answered and explained each translated words they wanted me to change. I think they'll understand that a bride doesn't walk around carrying an electric fan and wearing a bandage around her shoulders. But I don't know if they told me everything and I'm afraid the proofreader found other such big mistakes with my translation !

Well, Diane, I've invested quite a lot of time and I'm doing the second part of the translation at the moment. I've no intention of refunding, whatever the feedback, because it's too much money !

Community Guru
Lyam B Member Since: Nov 3, 2014
5 of 7

You should just make the amendments he asks for and when his article or whatever doesn't make sense...since there's a bride walking down the aisle with an extension lead at the wedding, then he'll regret hiring his proofreader and making you look like a rockstar. If you're confident in your ability to translate, then this shouldn't be of concern. Smiley Wink


If you've explained that the proofreader is incorrect and he's ignored you, then what can you do? Just tell him he's making a mistake and make the changes. 


I know this isn't too helpful, but if a client's stubborn then a client's stubborn!


Good luck! Smiley Wink

Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
6 of 7

omg! your client must be thinking of something like this:


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Community Guru
Corinne L Member Since: Jun 3, 2013
7 of 7

Hi Lyam, thanks, I'm trying to finish this job as soon as possible and if my client insists that I make the changes, well I'll make them... or not !

Hi Dianne, you're absolutely right!!!