How to Deal with Negative Translation Feedback? 

April 23, 2021

Getting feedback on your work is a positive sign regardless of whether they are encouragement or criticisms. It gives you the chance to learn from your experience and enhance your knowledge and level of expertise. However, receiving negative comments is always harder as you can feel the heat of the clients and the situation becomes more stressful that you have to be careful of your next action toward them. 

 

In reality, the more delicate and willing to handle the negative feedback, the more successful you are as a translator. These comments will help you to complete your flaws and become more experienced in your profession. Hence, when a criticism approaches you, remember: 

  • Take a deep breath and face it with an objective aspect, and with any bias. 
  • It is not a judgment of your ability or overall performance as a linguist, merely about some specific piece of your translated content.  
  • If someone gives you criticism, it does not certainly mean that they have negative feelings about you, they just want you to attain some improvement in translation. 

 

Analysis of negative feedback 

After some mental preparation, you need to sit down and launch an objective analysis of the feedback, without any emotional impact. A possible situation that the person who gives you negative feedback may be in unstable emotion and their feeling somehow may allocate to the feedback. Hence, you should carefully read it and eliminate the emotional layer if any and focus on the vital comment. Otherwise, the feedback will create an unnecessary frustrated feeling for both the giver and translators, which may create an adverse impact on the working process.  

 

How to respond to negative translation feedback? 

A suitable response will not only help you to improve as a linguist but also will help you to get along with the clients. Here are some tips to deal with unwanted feedback but still able to maintain a long-term relationship with your assessors. 

 

Always reply to feedback but don’t make it personal 

Even though you may feel frustrated, anxious and unfairly treated, you should reply to them to stay on good terms with the customer. If you need time to explain your point of view, then a prompt reply to said that you have well received the comment will be a gentle action. Remember that you’re a professional translator and it’s not you who is the target of criticism but what you translated. Especially because an intelligent response from a smart and professional standpoint is likely to impress the client. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t send a stroppy response to the critical feedback: 

 

  • The client will think that you’re being unnecessarily defensive  
  • A conclusion from the client that you aren’t open to comments 
  • You become a sensitive person that not going to be easy to deal with any time your translations are queried 
  • Your opportunity to be assigned more projects in the future will decrease   

Delay your reply  

Don’t jump in and start the fire right away! When your responses come in a few minutes later after the feedback was published, your reply will be considered as unprofessional, defensive and non-accepting. Hence, take your time to leave your emotions out of your decision. This could be a couple of hours or even a day or two to have comprehensive thought before your official reply, provided your project timeline allows. 

 

Be in your client’s shoes 

Think about the person who gave you the criticism, they’re in an awkward position because nobody wants to be the bad news person. They also have strict and specific instructions about the translation tone, level of accuracy from their company to comply, which put themself under tremendous pressure to successfully deliver the exact result that their senior authorities are expecting. Consider responding objectively and carefully explain why you choose a certain word or phrase so that the displeased client will be convinced. It’s ideal to convey that you’re open to suggestions, accept there are various ways to express the meaning, but also have your individual perspective to protect. 

 

Support your point with evidence 

Avoid offending as much as possible since it’s essential to maintain a close bond and long-term relationship with your client for the future corporation and repeated purchase. Therefore, if you want to stand for your point of view but still remain a successful relation, present reasonable evidence to support your reply. This could be an authorized translation memory used in this account, and an article that justifies your opinion, a certified dictionary or an approved glossary. 

 

Using positive term wherever possible 

A response full of strong and negative words such as “don’t”, “isn’t”, “wrong”, “disagree” will instill a sense of aggressiveness for the reviewers, which they may assume that you directly attack them. Therefore, have a check before sending the reply if there is any term that should be rephrased into positive and make sure the tone is neutral enough. 

 

For example: 

The reviewer said “‘ABC’ is wrong, but it isn’t” might be rephrased to “My ‘ABC’ has been changed to ‘DEF’”. These are both suitable alternative terms, and either can safely be used in this context. This expression can protect your point of view without directly challenging the reviewer’s statement. 

 

Learn from the feedback 

Look at the perspective in the feedback you leave no room for doubt, or felt were justified. Look up the appropriate way that your customer wants it done,inform them that you will apply modification and ensure that the similar flaws will not be repeated in the future. In some cases, even if it is not linguistically perfect, it may be the expression the client requires, their unique style and we have to take their preferences into account when we translate their materials. 

 

Receiving feedback both positive and negative is a decent opportunity to learn and improve your translation skills and also to understand the customer requirements. Especially when it comes to the criticism, your professional attitude toward the situation and the way you handle it when a project gets messy will be highly appreciated by both the project managers and the clients.  

 

 

 

 

 

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