A few months ago, a new client came to us with an editing project. We requested his documents to determine whether he would need proofreading, editing or a new translation. It did not take us very long to determine that what he really needed was a new German translation -- he had done this one himself, and he's a high-end personal chef, not a translator. We gently told him that a new translation would be his best bet for his business. He was not offended in the least, but he did bring up an excellent point, one we had actually not heard before. He did not want his website to be "too perfect" in terms of the German language, as he's not fluent. He did not want to set the expectation that his German is better than it actually is. As a personal chef, he would have to interact with every new client, and he obviously did not want to mislead them into thinking he was a native German speaker (he's not). What an interesting dilemma, we thought. We pondered this for a while, and then offered him our (cheaper) proofreading service, specifying that we would just fix the most obvious grammar and syntax mistakes, while leaving the style issues alone -- again, he *wanted* quite a few mistakes in the text. It was an unorthodox proposal, but anything to make the client happy (and no, our names are not on his website).
Our new client cheerfully agreed and we proofed his texts for him using track changes. In the end, we probably did spend more time doing actual editing (which goes beyond proofing), because, well, it is just quite difficult to not fix something that's not correct. It goes against everything we've been taught and against what we usually do. We did, however, go to great lengths to make sure the text sounded like it was written or translated by someone who is not fluent in German. It was quite a challenge! At the end of the day, this might not have been a very lucrative project because we spent a lot of time on it, but the client was delighted with the end result.
What do you think, dear readers? How would you have handled this request? We'd love to hear your ideas and thoughts.