by Jan 4, 2021

What is Proofreading of Translation?

What is Proofreading of Translation?

I have read dozens of articles about proofreading and editing in translation but the deeper understanding of what is proofreading of translation came to me only after a year of actively working as a proofreader of translation.

On practice, I learned that proofreading of translation is not the same as proofreading or editing in standard meaning of these words and this misconception existing around this process is what causes misunderstanding between translators and their clients.

But what is proofreading of translation?

The main goal of proofreading of translation is to check the accuracy of translation; make sure that the message in SL (source language) has been accurately conveyed in TL (target language). If it is a machine translation which often is the case, then the goal of proofreading of this kind of translation is also make the final translation grammatically correct and readable.

The main reason of the misconception existing around proofreading of translation is that quite often it is used as a way to save money on actual human translation. And this attitude towards proofreading of translation is fundamentally wrong. Here is why.

The price for proofreading of translation is 3-4 times less than the price of actual translation because it should take less time and effort for a translator to do this kind of job. And yes, unlike standard proofreading, to proofread a translation you need a translator. Because only a translator can make sure that the translation from one language to another has been done well and that the translated content exactly matches the source document, which is the main goal of proofreading of translation.

How proofreading of translation can screw up the translator working on it?

Google translate – mchine translation.

In order to save money on human translation, some people and even companies use google translate (machine translation). And though google translation might not be that bad in translating 500 words, it is absolutely disastrous in translating 10, 20, 30, 50 thousand words. Especially so in translating literature!

After a translator proofreads this kind of translation, the quality of final translation will be lower than if the text was translated by a human translator in the first place.

But here is an exception. If the author of the text speaks both languages in work and hires a translator to proofread their translation (plus the author is ready to keep working on the translation as well) then there is a good chance to get a high quality final translation by the end of their joint work.

Let’s sum things up:

  • Proofreading of translation does not imply re-translation. The goal of proofreading of translation is to check the accuracy of translation, work through grammatical structure of translation and make the final translation readable.
  • A part of proofreading of translation is to also work through logical flow of translation.
  • Check the accuracy of the vocabulary used in the translation of the text. Pay attention to the consistency of the vocabulary used in the translation of the text.
  • If needed, do linguistic changes in order to improve the quality of the final translation.

Now you know what proofreading of translation is and I hope it will help translators as well as their clients to stay on the same wavelength and have a better understanding of what to expect from proofreading of translation.

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Del Jan 4, 2021

I’m learning so much about this topic


Franka Jan 4, 2021

@Del, I am trying my best to share my experience and be helpful. Thank you!

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