Translators are human and – as we all know – to err is human! If you want to be certain that your translated documents are 100% free of more or less mundane errors, the editing or proofreading service is right for you.
These are two different, complementary services that often need to be combined in order to arrive at an optimal result and the highest possible quality. FullStop can help you with both. You can request these services for my or my team’s translations or for translations by others.
Read on to learn the difference between editing and proofreading and how I can help you specifically.
An edit consists of an in-depth check of the translated text. It entails a careful and complete comparison of the source and target, possibly by another translator (who is also a native speaker of the target language) according to the “four eyes principle” established by the ISO 17100 standard.
First and foremost, the editor checks that the translation is true to the original text. Not every text should be translated word for word (in some cases, like marketing translations, word-for-word translation is not recommended at all) but the original meaning must be conveyed in the target language without any omissions or misunderstandings.
Naturally, the editor also checks grammar, syntax and terminology. Using specific specialist sources, dictionaries, glossaries and databases, the editor verifies that the terms used in the translation are correct, consistent and appropriate for that specific context. This often requires extensive in-depth research on various channels, and a trained, expert translator is the best person for the job.
Last but not least, the editor checks and improves the style of the translation. This ensures that the text is perfect for its intended use, that it flows well and is effective, that the client’s instructions have been followed and that the tone of voice matches the brand’s.
While editing and post-editing might sound like almost the same thing, post-editing is a fairly recent development in the translation industry. Post-editing is when a real flesh-and-blood translator/editor edits a text generated by translation software, i.e. a machine translation (MT).
In recent years, machine translation has made great leaps forward, but it cannot replace the work of a human being. Machine translations can contain mistakes – even big, glaring mistakes – or leave out entire phrases, and they are often unable to translate texts idiomatically and expressively (especially in certain types of documents that need to be reworked.)
This means that, while technology helps speed up the process, the translation still needs to be reviewed word for word. It usually takes longer to post-edit than it does to edit a text translated by a professional translator for the obvious reasons, in that with editing, the original translator will have already used strategies to convey the meaning of the source in the best possible way, so the editor will only need to check that the translation is correct and make small changes and improvements. On the other hand, in post-editing, some sentences will need to be completely retranslated, which takes time.
Since 2017, I have performed post-editing on machine translated texts. Using one of the world’s most well-known machine translation engines, I can handle the entire machine translation and subsequent post-editing cycle, guaranteeing utmost confidentiality of your documents (which will be processed without being saved online nor used to feed machine translation engines).
If this service interests you, contact me and find out how I can help you.
Proofreading, which generally comes after editing and immediately before the final quality control, is not a word-for-word check against the source text.
Proofreading focuses on specific types of errors that could be found in the translated text. These errors include:
Proofreaders do not perform a detailed check of the terminology and do not work on the style of the translation (unless there are blatant issues – but if a professional editor has previously reviewed the translation, these errors will surely have already been resolved).
IT tools can be used to check spelling and grammar, and they obviously facilitate the process (especially in certain cases, like checking numbers). However, these tools are not enough on their own. A pair of human eyes (belonging to a native speaker of the target language) is always necessary in the proofreading process for maximum quality, since automated tools might not always pick up certain errors (this may occur with misspelled words that have another meaning in the target language. Take, for instance, “non” and “no” in which a typo caused by typing the letter “n” can lead to a grammatical error that will slip past an automatic spell-checker).
Up till now we’ve only talked about digital texts. But I can also help you with the final check of formatted documents ready for printing.
For documents to be published, a proofreader checks the proofs against the original text, looking for typographical errors and focusing on strictly typographical aspects like tabs, indentations, paragraphs, the use of italics, bold and uppercase letters, footnotes and bibliographical notes, in accordance with standard publishing criteria and the client’s specifications.
In general, this usually entails several rounds of corrections. After the first proof has been corrected, the text is returned to the typesetter who makes the necessary changes and sends the second proof to the proofreader, who checks that the corrections have been made and that there are no remaining issues to be fixed. Only when the proofs are immaculate does the proofreader give the OK for printing.
As we have seen, editing and proofreading focus on different but complementary aspects and combining the two is ideal if you want to be certain that the final text is absolutely perfect from every standpoint.
The best way to achieve utmost precision is to entrust each task to a specialized professional. This means a fresh pair of eyes sees the text at the start of each new step and picks up any typos or other small mistakes that might not register with someone already familiar with what they are reading.
If several professionals cannot be involved, the best solution is to let the text “sit” for a few hours and come back to it later. This way, the professional returns to the document with fresh eyes and can more easily identify any issues that might have gone undetected had the text been reread immediately.
In any event, bear in mind that adding editing and proofreading might mean it takes us an extra day or two to deliver your documents (especially when it comes to reading proofs for printing, when you should take into account the time needed to format the document and for the various rounds of corrections). But isn’t an impeccable result worth waiting for?
Would you like to have me review or proofread a text you’ve translated internally or a translation by another language service provider or would you like to add this service to my or my team’s translations? In any of these cases, please contact me and send me the files to be checked (if you already have them). I will analyze them and send you an estimate of the costs and time needed.
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