Why I hate doing “native checks”

The term "native check" is used in the biz to refer to what is essentially having a native speaker of English (NSE) rewrite an English translation done by a native speaker of Japanese (NSJ).

I hate it.

It's not that it pays less than translating. I've found that it pays about the same, as long as you don't actually redo the translation for "checker" rates (if it needs it fine, but tell the client and let them decide whether they want to pay for it).

And that's really the reason why I don't like doing this type of work: I hate sending off work that I'm not satisfied with. That's because while the average English translation turned out by a NSJ can generally be rescued to some degree, turning it into a good translation would usually require a retranslation.

To be sure, there are some (though in my experience, very few) NSJs who can turn out native English-level writing. In fact, I used to do "native checks" for a Japanese woman whose English writing was indistinguishable from that of a NSE. And it was good, too. One time I told her, you're wasting your money on me — just get a normal editor/proofreader. But she said she felt more confident when I had proofed it (and her company paid for it anyway…).

But sadly, those aren't usually the kinds of translators whose work turns up in my inbox for checking.

I do accept these types of jobs every once in a while, but I try very hard to minimize them. Luckily, I'm not asked to do "native checks" too much these days. Maybe the grouchy attitude has paid off. <G>

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