What’s Wrong with a Little Sloppiness If the Core Translation is OK?

I had a prospective translator take my Korean translation test this week (which can be found at translate-korean.com).

It wasn't actually a bad job, but there were a few mistakes that were exceptionally careless. The problem with issues like this in our business is that since our clients generally aren't in a position to directly verify the accuracy of a Korean translation into English, they tend to evaluate based on whatever they do understand, such as typos and silly mistakes in English.

Then, once a negative impression has been formed, it can be next to impossible to dislodge it by referring to aspects of the translation which are good. And a client who loses confidence in a job is likely to do things that will make the translator's life difficult, such as sending the job to an outside reviewer for another opinion and then refusing to pay the full bill.

I learned my lesson many years ago when I turned in a badly formatted job. Even though the translation itself was well-done, the client charged me for a reviewer to look at it, fix the formatting and then over-criticize the translation.

Here's what I told the person who took the translation test this week:

Here is the reviewed file. See my comments.

Overall, you clearly have the Korean skills to translate well; you didn't get tripped up by any of the grammar. However, there are too many sloppy errors in the translation; Translating "Virginia" to "Bosnia" is pretty embarrassing… It's the kind of thing that will cause a client to lose trust in an entire job, and that's when the nightmares start, because then, since the client can't read Korean, they'll send the whole thing off to another proofreader, who is likely to want nothing more than to over-criticize your job so the client will go to him/her on the next job instead of you.

That misspelling of "beverage" right at the beginning will confirm the carelessness and leave you without any credibility to explain things that are right but which the proofreader says are wrong… It's happened to me this way before, which is why I am emphasizing this so heavily. 

Thanks again for taking the test; best of luck in your studies.



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