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  • Foto do escritorLaura Vuillemin

Translators and Disputable Feedback

I recently came across a LinkedIn post saying that clients were 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 right, and that review feedback should not be questioned. I don’t agree.


When you are a translator, the people who will review your deliveries are not necessarily linguists. They may sometimes not even be native speakers. "𝘞𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘨𝘶𝘦𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘬 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘍𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘩," is something I’ve already read, as unbelievable as it seems.

As a result, you can end up having to face the following situations:

↪️ 𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝘆𝗽𝗼𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝗻-𝗶𝗱𝗶𝗼𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀

Sadly, this often happens when changes have already been made and the content published, so sending feedback just for information, assuming that reviewers know what’s best at all times, is not necessarily an optimum alternative!

↪️ 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝘀 𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗳 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗲𝘀

Someone probably checked your delivery in a rush, making changes that now impair on the overall quality (e.g., inserting a nominal sentence in a list otherwise only made of verbal sentences, thus creating a big, inelegant stylistic inconsistency).

↪️ 𝗕𝗲 𝗮𝘀𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝗻-𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹

I had to deal with a reviewer who was literally saying that an official grammar rule from the Académie Française was wrong. They insisted I used 𝘥𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘦-𝘩𝘦𝘶𝘳𝘦 when 𝘥𝘦𝘮𝘪-𝘩𝘦𝘶𝘳𝘦 was the right term (𝘩𝘦𝘶𝘳𝘦 is feminine but this doesn’t mean 𝘥𝘦𝘮𝘪 should be too here).


I’ve experienced all this numerous times since I started off in 2011. Being a translator is wonderful and fascinating, but we don’t have to accept everything.


Translators are language experts. They know what to do with the target language. That’s why, in French, I won’t notably do the following:

👉🏻 𝗥𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗺 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻, because repetitions feel unnatural in this language. Instead, I will use synonyms. Nothing more awkward (and annoying) that reading 𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘦𝘳 or 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘵 ten times within two paragraphs.

👉🏻 𝗨𝘀𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗰𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗸𝘀 𝗮𝘀 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝘂𝘀𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗮𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗘𝗻𝗴𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗲. French tends to be more formal, and readers don’t really like it when you are being too friendly with them.


Don’t get me wrong. I value feedback and I accept it when it comes from 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵. However, I can’t nod in agreement when I am asked to implement errors.

As (conscious) professionals, it is our responsibility to let our clients know when their reviewers made mistakes that will damage their image (after these reviewers have damaged our own work 🙄).


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