Weekly log: 20120108

The deadline was looming, and I had already checked my translation once. So I sent it away, with an apology to my monolingual reviewer for my bad writing. But when he got back to me I was a bit taken aback. Actually, perhaps I should have even felt elated, but I probably felt more relieved than elated. “Actually, I would make no changes”, he wrote, in reference to my apology: No changes, not even a stylistic change. My translation, which I did not even feel was well written, passed review without a single change. Back when we still had a real translation team to speak of, I was also one of the reviewers, and I once quipped, “The proofreader’s dream is for our team to one day not require a proofreader.” Of course the professionals would disagree, and I certainly did not really mean “no reviews at all”; but we were volunteers, our time was precious, and some of the translations that we got to review were so bad that it would take more time to edit them to a publishable quality than it would have taken us to redo the whole thing ourselves. All that mattered, I felt, was how to get the quality to improve at the source, and if that could be done then there would be no need for these brutally time-consuming reviews. So what was so special about this time that it went so well? Actually, why would my perception of how I had written be so different than my reviewer’s perception? Perhaps one day I will know…
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