Monday, November 24, 2008

Victim of a capricious editor

Regular Onion readers may be mildly amused at this article—or not. Translators who have been victimized by the “change every possible word to its synonym” editor will smart in sympathy.

Consolidated Concepts copywriter Ronald Leff announced Monday that his vision for the Black & Decker Electronic Toast-R-Oven™ Broiler instruction booklet was "thoroughly betrayed" in the final editing process. […] Leff said there is a "control freak" factor at work.

"Charlie makes a lot of changes that are totally arbitrary. A perfect example is my paragraph on removing and cleaning the crumb tray," Leff said. "He changed 'scrubbing pad' to 'scouring pad' purely for the sake of change, as though he needed to feel like he was an editor. I specifically asked Charlie about his thought process behind that one, and he couldn't even give an answer. He just said, 'I don't know, something about "scrubbing pad" just didn't sound right.'"


At November 25, 2008 12:53 a.m., Blogger Judy and Dagmar Jenner said...

Many of us have surely felt like this before. Luckily, my current editor is my twin sister, and we always use track changes on each other's work, which means it then comes back to the original translator (I am her editor, too). If we still disagree at that point, we have a "twinsisterly" discussion about it and take it from there. I know it's the exception, but it works for us, and we are really forced to look at the problem at hand in an objective manner. We certainly don't edit something for the sake of it. When we have nothing to correct in each other's work (which really happens), that just means the translator did an outstanding job.

At February 28, 2010 6:27 a.m., Anonymous Andrei Shmatkov said...

Good post. The problem is that some customers believe that the more changes are made by editor the better his/her job is. Personally I am not afraid to leave the text untouched if I see that the quality is good.


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