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Michael Dixon

Hi Harvey

At the end of the day, clients actually do know best, even when they are wrong... . I think this is very difficult concept for most translators to grasp, but at the end of the day the client is buying the translation and has every right to include the terms and phrases they wish. This grates against most translators' sense of professional pride, of course, as it should, but as we told a client recently: If you want to use the term X instead of Y, please go ahead. It's your translation. We've already told you on numerous occasions that Y is incorrect, but it's your decision.

The client is perfectly free to do this, just as we are all free to purchase shoes that look terrible on us, or to ignore the advice of a builder, for example.

Such clients, however, should be viewed with caution with regard to future translations, the scope of the work to be carried out for them should be clearly delimited and the final responsibility clearly defined. If not, they can have the translator running round in circles only to later claim that the translator "made a mistake".

Peter Harvey

Of course a client can have whatever he wants but there's a difference between, for example, wanting a particular date format or using standard terminology and changing something because they think it's right when it isn't. If something goes out with my name on it I insist on control of the final version, which is not to be altered in any way.

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