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Hi!  I completed my first J>E translation job on Gengo, and over the past few days the customer has asked for multiple revisions, flagging them as missing key meaning or detail from the original.

I don't feel I particularly mistranslated any words given the unclear context of how the product I am translating for functions.  Besides one comment, most of the comments were on words the client would prefer me to use that mean exactly what I had wrote to begin with.  Some of the suggestions are to actually change the meaning to words that are not as clear.

I am not completely new to translation, but am new to Gengo and to receiving these kind of multiple editing requests on jobs that do not charge a separate fee for editing on what feels like mostly the client's whim.  On top of these issues this client is slow to respond to my comment suggestions for the revisions they requested, and is causing me to cut it close on the 24 hour re-delivery time frame.  I also cannot pick up any new jobs until the new revision is submitted.  Should I just submit a new revision with my suggestions anyways in order to make the re-delivery deadline?

I am hesitant to just translate anything with some of the client's incorrect word choice suggestions, in case the translation is flagged for review by a senior translator.

Is this a situation translators here encounter often?  If so, how do you usually go about handling it?

44 comments

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    Lara

    Rather than commenting back with suggestions and waiting for a reply, I would just make the changes and resubmit, and comment after that if I feel the need to do so.
    If you miss the deadline the job will go back to the Dashboard and it won't be available to you anymore so... :S
    If the customer still has things they need to change afterwards, they might send it back for revisions again, but at least you can work on other jobs and do not have to wait forever for them to reply.

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    carla m.

    I agre with Lara 100%. Just resubmit the job and wait for the customer to comment (again, if he needs to). I usually tell the customers to let me know if there's anything else I can do for them, if they have any doubts - especially after they try to check the translation with Google Translate and wonder why I picked a word over another - or questions, and up to now they have appreciated this :-)

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    mirko

    Even if this was posted on the Japanese forum, I believe it's something that touches every pair. I have written multiple times about how I believe the revision system as it is now is prone to misuse on the customer's part, unfair toward translators, and should be revised, pretty much for the reasons you yourself mentioned, jlokoide.

    In some instances I noticed the customer didn't seem to be aware that asking a revision would be so "vexing" (and also harmful) to translators, thing which leads me to believe that Gengo doesn't inform them well enough (if at all) about what cases do justify a revision request and what this means for translators (24 hours time limit, inability to accept other jobs, resetting the countdown to automatic approval(?), having to "waste" time explaining things to customers, etc.).

    In your specific case, I think you should ask yourself whether: you are reasonably sure your translation is correct; the customer's requests are unreasonable (relating to aspects they did not specify beforehand, asking you to "introduce errors" in the translation, etc.); you want to "keep" (well, kinda...) this customer, or at least an amicable relationship with them.

    If the first two are an affirmative and the last a negative, then I think you should just resubmit your translation and kindly explain your reasons to the customer. If they were to reject the translation, or give you a 1/5 as a rating (which is very much possible, as a retaliation of sorts...), then a ST would step in and, I guess, take a look at the situation and decide who's right and who's wrong.

    At any rate, as I was saying above, I believe Gengo should do something to prevent this from happening in the first place, as the whole thing is fundamentally unfair and damaging toward translators.

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    Lara

    I honestly don't think it's such big of a deal, unless the customer is asking you to use wrong terminology or grammar.
    Some customers have a sort of vocabulary that they would like to use, and that's okay with me (I would be happier of course if they let me know in a comment with instructions when they order instead of asking for revisions later on, but oh well.)
    And I am certainly happier to be asked for revisions rather than receive negative feedback unilaterally after submitting without any prior comments or communication from the customer. (Which happened to me last week, I vented on another post about it hehe :P)

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    Lara

    *SO big of a deal (forgive me, I have a baby climbing on me and can't think / type properly lol)

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    mirko

    Yeah, Gengo should definitely do something about baby-climbers too, that's another big issue, especially when you're translating... ;-P

    And yes, I saw your post about the customer feedback, and when similar things happen, it's definitely annoying :-(

    Even in that case, I believe Gengo should "educate" customers better about ratings, as more than once I was told by a customer whom I had asked why they gave me a 3 or 4 out of 5, that by reading the text on the rating choices, they couldn't really tell whether the translation was "perfect", "good", "acceptable", or whatever, so they just went for the "conservative" option... They should also know that ratings < 3 actually means opening a dispute (since the translation will go to the ST)... In short, the rating system should not be used as an inconsequential toy, where, moreover, positive ratings mean nothing, while bad ratings bring down the STs' hammer from the skies...

    As for the case in point, I believe the revision system as it is now potentially IS a big deal. A very simple example: what happens if I'm out for the weekend and a customer sends a translation back for revisions right then? If it were a $2 translation, that would just be a minor nuisance (that would still highlight an underlying problem in the system, imvho), but what if it were a $500 translation?

    But also in less "serious" cases: why should I spend hours of my time (for free) going over a list of "non-mistakes" pointed out by a customer, verify them, explain the customer the choices I made and why I'm changing/not changing my translation? That happened to me, and it's definitely not cool.

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    Lara

    Oh, yes it is, I would definitely appreciate a complimentary babysitter, while we are at it :P

    But yeah, you are right... it wouldn't be the first time I decline a job on the grounds of "Unreasonable Requests" when a customer goes on a happy revisions request spree (like again, and again, and again,...) So when I can't take it anymore, and if the job is short (not to mention Standard) I decline. That rarely happens, though, but definitely shouldn't happen at all, IMO. Maybe there should be a limit to the number of times they can ask for revisions?

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    mirko

    ... or maybe, the ST could kick in as soon as the revision request is sent, to judge whether it's well-founded or not, and take the heat off of translators? That way Gengo would also have a much better understanding of the situation (and of customers' behaviors), and if it the overall situation was "bad", then finding a viable and equitable solution for all the parties involved would become a priority to Gengo as well...

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    jlokoide

    Thank you all for your feedback!  As a follow up, I never got a response from the translator so I just re-submitted it as I suggested so the time clock would not run out.

    To clarify, most of the questions/comments from the client have been things like:

    -  Q:  Does that sound natural in English? (numerous times)  A:  Yes.  (*thinking* Why would I write something that sounded strange?!)
    -  Q:  Why didn't you use (word)?"  A:  You can't really use that word like that…
    -  Q:  You didn't translate this building name correctly.  A:  I used the translated building name on the English version of your website for consistency.  (After that pointing that out, apparently the translation I used was OK.)
    -  Q:  I don't understand what this word/phrase means so could you explain what it means or use this phrase instead. (numerous times)  A:  The phrase means (original Japanese)./That word/phrase is not grammatically correct, would you like to use this phrase instead?

    This person is not a native speaker of English and this is not a professional rate job, nor is it a very long job in terms of word count/rate.  So it isn't in my best interest to have to spend so much time revising things that were not incorrect to begin with.  Is there is a general revision tag this client should be using it instead of flagging for missing meaning/detail?  If so, can I encourage the client to use it instead?

    I don't want to upset the client or get started on the wrong foot with Gengo  It's just that in my experience as a translator I've only gotten requests like these for legal documents or something really important where word choice is absolutely vital/legally binding.  Maybe I've just been extremely lucky, but it makes me worry that perhaps Gengo won't be very good for picking up new work if I have to spend so much time on revisions no matter how big, small, or accurate the original translation submitted is.

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    jlokoide

    *never got a response from the client

    Apologies for the typo.  :)

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    Lara

    See, those baby-climber are everywhere!!! *JK* lol

    Now, seriously, it sounds like the kind of job I would have bailed out to for "Unreasonable requests."
    Maybe you can tell the customer to just use the comments without flagging for revisions? You will still get notified for regular comments.

    I would like to say I hate it when clients doubt our ability to translate, but based on some jobs I've seen lately (will be posting later about it on the relevant post, stay tuned! lol) I truly can't say that all of Gengo translators do their job 100% properly :S

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    mirko

    "Maybe you can tell the customer to just use the comments without flagging for revisions? You will still get notified for regular comments." - This. But again, Gengo should at the very least tell them this as well and explain them what revisions requests are for, since that certainly isn't jlokoide's case... (and for a "standard job", on top of that...)

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    Lara

    I know, mirko, I was just think about what *she* can do on her end (while Gengo, hopefully, comes up with a way for dealing with this)

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    mirko

    Yeah, I meant to say you're totally right about your suggestion to her (if she wishes to stay on good terms with this customer).

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    jlokoide

    Thanks both of you!  I didn't want to come off like I don't care about client needs or service, because I do as long as it's within reason. orz

    Is there a standard Japanese phrase you usually use when requesting the client to comment without flagging for errors?  

    I should also say I've taken on two more jobs, and both of these clients have seemed more reasonable with their requests/comments so far.

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    Lara

    This is not a Standard but this is what I would say, you can paste it to that customer.

     

    お客様

    お世話になっております。

    次回のためのご参考にして頂ければと思いますが、特に翻訳に間違いや問題がないのであれば、

    質問があったり確認したいことがあった場合には、Revisions requiredのフラグなのではなく、普通に

    コメントをして頂ければと思います。

    また、使って欲しい単語、翻訳者に参考にしてほしいウェブサイトや以前の翻訳などがあった場合、

    そちらもオーダーと同時にコメント欄に入れていただくと、スムーズにより的確な翻訳を提供することが

    できると思われます。

    どうぞご検討のほど、宜しくお願いいたします。

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    jlokoide

    Thank you for posting!

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    Megan Waters

    @jlokoide: Sorry to hear your first translation experience with us wasn't too great ...

    @Lara: I like your suggestion of limiting the number of times a customer can ask for revisions. I'll run it by the product team.

    @Mirko: I'm not so sure if the STs would be available on that frequency to jump in every time a revision request is sent. Most tend to do their work in big chunks of time or certain days of the week etc so translators and customers may be waiting quite a while to hear a response. But maybe not ... But I do definitely agree that customers need to better educated about the rating system as well as what it means to ask for revision after revision. What's your opinion of how we could do this?

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    mirko

    @Megan - That would also depend on the frequency of revision requests on the whole platform... And, while I do understand STs are freelancers and not Gengo's employees, and therefore can't be there whenever wherever, well, the same should (theoretically) apply to translators as well, shouldn't it? But right now, translators must in fact be around 24/7 for revisions, even if a customer asks a revision in order to ask "Why didn't you use (word)?", as JK was saying in her post above (and that DOES happen)... During my time here on (my)Gengo I think I may have received something like 10/15 revision requests altogether (at least after myGengo became Gengo), and, if I remember correctly, most (if not all) of those weren't actually necessary/justified, but rather, things like those mentioned by the OP.

    BTW, if the frequency of revisions requests is such that it would actually present a problem for STs to handle – I don't know if that's the case, I'm just speculating based on your words – well, that would be one more reason for Gengo to look into it and possibly try to actively curb that (bad) habit, IMO.

    As for your question, well, I believe support pages "hidden" in the support section aren't very helpful, so I would add all the relevant information and notices on the very pages customers use to give ratings and ask for revisions. Also, since they might still go unnoticed (...), they could be presented as pop-ups with a button to press to proceed (you know, like those we translators get when there's a glossary in a project and we're told to use those terms). For instance, when giving a rating, customers should be advised to do that, ONLY IF they actually are in a position to judge the translation (e.g. if you don't speak the target language and you don't have an in-house linguist for that pair, then chances are you simply lack the knowledge/means to judge that translation, no matter what Google Translate says...). Also, when selecting a rating of 2 or lower, another pop-up should inform them that this will send the translation to a ST for review, which could result in such and such.

    Same thing for revision requests, also advising customers to use the comments sectionas first (and possibly only) recourse, especially if they're not sure there actually is a problem with the translation (again, no matter what Google Translate says...), and informing them about what asking a revision actually means from the translator's standpoint.

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    jlokoide

    @Megan  Thank you for posting and offering to run some of Lara and Mirko's suggestions!  Since I made this post I've taken on more jobs and haven't been encountering these issues from other clients so far, thankfully!

    @Mirko some of those other suggestions sound great.  I agree that people who aren't fluent in the output language probably have trouble giving honest reviews are fair or helpful to the translator.

    Even if my first experience with a client wasn't so stellar, the community has been.  :)  Thanks again all!

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    hiro

    Let me add something after everything seemed to be solved.

    I'd say you were unlucky  as your first translation experience here was a nightmare, Jlokoide-san.

    To revise your translation to make a customer happy once you're in charge, is a great attitude as a translator.

    But when you tweak it a few times and still they ask for a revision request, then I'd say the fastest and best way to solve

    the problem is to ask them to reject your translation saying something like,

    "I'm afraid to say this, but I'm sure there's nothing wrong with my translation, so if you're still unhappy

    with it, please reject it. In that case, a senior translator steps in for a quality check blah blah..."

    The moment they reject it as you urge them to do, a ST steps in for a quality check. If your translation is good enough,

    you're paid and can get out of the revision loop.

    By the way, Lara's suggested sample text  is very polite and sounds perfect. I'm impressed. My sample text above is, Oh my....  :P

    You can revise it, jlokoide-san. :)

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    Lara

    Thanks, hiro :D
    I tried to make it as polite as possible so the customer doesn't take it as a complaint about their repeated requests :D

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    jlokoide

    Thank you, hiro!  In the future this would probably be an easier solution, for sure.

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    akiyoh

    It looks like you just got unlucky! I know what kind of client you're talking about because I've had those kinds of people in the past (the ones who ask you to justify everything you wrote, ugh) but I really haven't come across that much on Gengo. The rare times I have had revision requests, it has been reasonable. It is not necessary for mistakes, but they often just wanted you to use a specific term they use in the industry or they want to clarify something that wasn't apparent in the original text.

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    jlokoide

    Thank you for your input, akiyoh!  I agree industry related terminology requests or clarification when necessary is great as well as helpful.  But yes, it was definitely a case of having to justify everything written.  I've never experienced that kind of scrutiny except with translations of really important documents/legal matters, but of course normally an editing fee for that kind of back and forth service.

    After the last revision where I told the client the words (that I'm assuming he/she Google translated or used a dictionary to look up) didn't sound natural or convey the same meaning and for further suggestion input, he/she never responded back again.  Luckily the job passed the 5 day revision mark and I was credited the reward so it wasn't a total waste of time.  :)  The other jobs since have been great, so it really must have been bad luck.

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    jlokoide

    *that kind of back and forth service is charged.

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    copperhound

    Kind of a similar thing, I can't take any new jobs because the customer has me "revising" over a word decision. I explained my decision and they consented that it didn't need to be changed, but haven't approved the job yet. Meanwhile I'm missing out on work and unsure when I'll be able to accept any new jobs? I've only been doing this for a couple weeks so maybe I'm missing something obvious, but assuming translators are in communication with a customer and not outright ignoring something in "revision" stage, it'd be nice to be able to accept new work. As it is it seems kind of like we're being punished for bad luck.

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    Lara

    @copperhoung - You have to resubmit the job in order for it to be approved. If you haven't resubmitted, it counts as still under "revisions required" status and it will expire within 24 hours, going back to the dashboard.

    If you have not made any changes and are unable to resubmit, add a space at the end of the text, that will be enough for the "Submit" button to become active again. Then resubmit.

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    Lara

    You will be able to go back to the Dashboard and accept new jobs as soon as you submit that job.

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    copperhound

    Okay, thanks! Didn't know about the space thing :)

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