Editing and Proofreading as Part of the Translation Process
Reviews are an important component of the professional document translation process. As a general concept, reviews can take different forms. The most common ones are usually referred to as proofreading and editing. Different people use these terms to mean different things, depending on the context, while others use them interchangeably. When it comes to professional document translation, however, each term refers to a very specific concept that plays a vital role in the delivery of accurate, high quality document translations.
Proofreading document translations involves reading copy or proof in order to find errors and omissions. It is always performed in comparison to the original. The professionally translated document is checked for grammar, syntax, figures, spelling and related errors and then compared to the original, making sure that the formatting matches and nothing has been overlooked. While modern text processing software is very helpful, especially when it comes to punctuation and spell checks, it is crucial that a professional translator in the respective language pair performs the review.
Editing document translations means dealing more directly with the text, ensuring readability and flow, verifying that colloquialisms and similar idiomatic expressions have been rendered accurately, and generally checking the correct use of vocabulary and terminology, whether general or project-specific (in some cases, glossaries or reference materials are provided by the client). It involves researching problematic terms and entering corrections or suggesting changes. While editing is particularly crucial for document translations meant for publication, clarity and precision in terms of expression and tone are vital to guarantee proper understanding of any document translation.
Editing and proofreading can be performed as one process, meaning that the professional translator reviewing a document translation checks a document for errors while simultaneously improving the translated text itself where needed. However, when dealing with larger scale and more complex projects, it is helpful to separate the two and first have a professional translator edit the document in order for the text to read as it should, then have another set of eyes going over the edited document and checking the translation against the original to ensure there are no typos or omissions.
Under normal circumstances, reading and correcting a professionally translated document is less time-consuming than translating “from scratch”. But it is important to keep in mind that estimating how much time will be needed for a proofreading/editing job can sometimes be tricky. If a project is brought to a professional document translation company that was translated by another entity, it can occasionally happen that the translation to be reviewed leaves much to be desired in terms of accuracy and quality. In this case, it may actually require more time to correct the translation than it would have taken to professionally translate it.
Since different people mean different things by proofreading and editing, it is important to make sure all parties involved are on the same page about the requirements before undertaking a professional document translation job.
For professional translation services companies like Legal Translation Solutions and its parent company, ASTA-USA Translation Services, Inc., performing the three steps of translation, editing, and proofing for every single document translation assignment sets a rigorous quality assurance standard that is topped off with a final review and certification.