28 September 2011

Seeking_#3: Graphic agencies that respect fellow professionals

Today I'm looking for feedback from into-English translators and English-language journalists and technical communicators based in non-English-speaking countries whose work is frequently laid out by local graphic artists and layout teams.

I'm hoping that colleagues in Europe and elsewhere will tell us about experiences more efficient and less unpleasant than those suffered by myself and trusted colleagues based in France.

And here are some precise questions I'd like answered.
Do the teams that lay out your work:
- Always remember to reset the language of their layout software to English before starting work on an English version? (And when they don't and proof reading reveals a myriad of errors, do they reduce their bill accordingly?) ;-)
- Do they use English-mother-tongue operators who understand what they are laying out, including how and where to break headings and the like?
- Do the layout personnel insist on retyping short headlines, captions and the like -- instead of using copy & paste, as they should, particularly if they are not working in their mother tongue?  (And when they don't and proof reading reveals a myriad of errors, do they reduce their bill accordingly?) ;-)
- Do they know how to use and adjust the settings of the hyphenation function for optimal results (as judged by mother-tongue readers)?
- And do they respect the translator's or writer's punctuation or insist, like one of very large agency in France, on running automatic punctuation software to the dismay and anger of anyone who knows anything about punctuation in English, not to mention anyone with the least notion of the respect due to other professionals (I refer to translators and journalists) supposedly working with the agency to give their shared customer the best possible service?

Last but not least, has anyone ever encountered a graphic agency with quality assurance procedures taking into account any of these issues?

1 comment:

  1. Steve, humm, the short (and depressing) answer is...NO!

    Basically, we have a checklist we run through with clients (pretty much the same points you mention in your post) as early on in the process as possible. Before that, we try to find out who is doing the layout (native language, in-house at the client's or outsourced) and try to get in direct contact with the person to eliminate middlemen in our rounds of layout proofing/revision.

    To address another point you raise, we learned the hard way to include in our price quotes a clause that says ONE round of revisions of the final layout are included, but any additional rounds (due to errors inserted by the designer) will be invoiced hourly.

    Typography and punctuation are huge problems. For want of a better solution, we have accepted the fact that several rounds of corrections will be required and clearly state that the additional rounds will be invoiced.


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