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Back-Translation. Seriously? Lol!

versailles
Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
1 of 15

Here:

 

"The purpose of our client doing this Back-Translation is to evaluate the quality of the original French(EU) Translation"

 

It's a translation agency. Already explained to them that this is pure nonsense but obviously it exists. I wonder how frequently it happens

 

Any of you ever heard of such thing? People really do quality check by backtranslation? It seems so stupid! 

 

Or did I miss something?

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
liliath_p
Ace Contributor
Liliath P Member Since: Apr 16, 2016
2 of 15

I once saw a post where the client wanted a freelancer to translate a document from English to Spanish, then the same freelancer had to translate it back to English AND explain the differences with the original source text.

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
3 of 15

@Rene K wrote:

Here:

 

"The purpose of our client doing this Back-Translation is to evaluate the quality of the original French(EU) Translation"

 

It's a translation agency. Already explained to them that this is pure nonsense but obviously it exists. I wonder how frequently it happens

 

Any of you ever heard of such thing? People really do quality check by backtranslation? It seems so stupid! 

 

Or did I miss something?


I have just had an invitation from the same company - with headache-making requirements. Fortunately the budget was too low, so it was easy to refuse!

 

There is also a 10 - 20% penalty clause for late delivery . . .

 

versailles
Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
4 of 15

@Nichola L wrote:


I have just had an invitation from the same company - with headache-making requirements. Fortunately the budget was too low, so it was easy to refuse!

 

There is also a 10 - 20% penalty clause for late delivery . . .

 


I was about to send you an e-mail to warn you. Worked with them in the past and also did a test where backtranslation was involved (only found out it was backtranslation after accepting). It's one of their clients insisting on backtranslation. The agency agent I spoke with agreed that it was nonsense but it's the way the client wants it.

 

Like I translate from E to F and you translate it back from F to E so the client may feel my translation. Yeah, sure. Only a monolingual person can imagine this bull****.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
5 of 15

How people waste their time and money beggars belief sometimes. Just the way the offer was worded would have made me run a mile!

 

ETA: This ProZ thread on backtranslation is quite interesting particularly the post that gives an example:

http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/212800-meaning_of_back_translation.html

versailles
Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
6 of 15

I've learned something today. It seems that backtranslation is an actual technique. I have hard time thinking it's worth, especially compared to having a native proofreader or translator/proofreader asserting the quality or the accuracy of the initial translation.

 

I'm really astounded by the fact that this technique is used in the industry.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
reinierb
Community Guru
Reinier B Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
7 of 15

@Rene K wrote:

I've learned something today. It seems that backtranslation is an actual technique. I have hard time thinking it's worth, especially compared to having a native proofreader or translator/proofreader asserting the quality or the accuracy of the initial translation.

 

I'm really astounded by the fact that this technique is used in the industry.


 You'll be really astounded to learn that backtranslation is used in my country as a sort of quality control check when Acts of Parliament are translated.

 

We have 11 official languages, and our Consitution states that all laws and ordinances must be available in all 11 languages, which is reasonable. However, some African languages do not have words that correspond to English words like "however", "notwithstanding", "despite", etc, which is standard legalese. So what happens is this: A piece of legislation gets translated into an African language in a way that explains concepts and words that do not occur in the target language.

 

The translated text may be translated into another African language that is as different from the first target language as French is different from IsiZulu, but at some point (usually when major problems with interpretation occur), the Isizulu text is translated back into English to check the quality and accuracy of the translation, which you will agree, is not reasonable.

 

How I discovered this is a long story that I may or may not relate at some point in the future, but I will add the fact that only in a very few cases, does the original English text include the proviso that where different interpretations of a concept, word, or definition are possible, the English text should take precedence.

mherzee
Active Member
mercy o Member Since: Apr 11, 2017
8 of 15

That post is a little funny.

 

I do see the issue though.  Take English to Chinese or Chinese to English.  There are so many words and phrases that simply do not translate directly that I actually create pictures in my head of all the words and actions and translate those images and ideas rather than creating a "chinglish" translation.  (less of a problem when both languages are romance languages) The ideas will all be conveyed properly but the back translation would almost certainly read not exactly the same.  In the back translation of the English to Russian and back to English again, the problem I see is the person doing the final translation back to English again was either not a native English speaker or trying to translate the words exactly, 1 for 1 and you can't do that and have it read smoothly..  

jmlaidlaw
Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
9 of 15

@ Rene --

 

I have received two different job offers from what is probably the same client as the one to which you refer. (They forgot I answered their first weird offer with a straightforward, polite "pay me my hourly rate and we'll talk" response?)

 

If it's the same client, I can't even be bothered to sort through all of the "red ink" directions and the "Excel"-this/ignore-that nonsense. For the second job invite, I quoted them a rate of $.12/word (a bargain, I thought, given that they mentioned "medical" terminology) and added $100 for "added complications" (my polite phrase -- and also a bargain, I thought). The client came back and asked if I "could accept $.06/word."  Ohhh... half of my bargain bid? And all of the nonsense stuff thrown in for free? No, I don't think so.

 

 

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
10 of 15

 

 

 


@Janean L wrote:

@ Rene --

 

I have received two different job offers from what is probably the same client as the one to which you refer. (They forgot I answered their first weird offer with a straightforward, polite "pay me my hourly rate and we'll talk" response?)

 

If it's the same client, I can't even be bothered to sort through all of the "red ink" directions and the "Excel"-this/ignore-that nonsense. For the second job invite, I quoted them a rate of $.12/word (a bargain, I thought, given that they mentioned "medical" terminology) and added $100 for "added complications" (my polite phrase -- and also a bargain, I thought). The client came back and asked if I "could accept $.06/word."  Ohhh... half of my bargain bid? And all of the nonsense stuff thrown in for free? No, I don't think so.

 

 



I wonder who will do this job! Lol!