Editing translations: Part III: The reviewing process

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Once a translation has been drafted, it is time for checking and revision of the text, either through self-revision by the translator or revision by a qualified editor/reviser.

The Revision Parameters

  • Accuracy
  • Completeness
  • Logic
  • Facts
  • Smoothness
  • Tailoring
  • Sub-language
  • Idiom
  • Mechanics
  • Layout
  • Typography
  • Organization

(Source: Brian Mossop, Revising and Editing for Translators, St.Jerome Publishing)

Self revision

With variations, depending on the individual translator and the type of text translated, the translation process is usually something like this:

  • Interpret the source text
  • Compose the translation
  • Conduct the research for tasks 1 and 2
  • Check the draft translation for errors and correct if necessary (Source: Brian Mossop, Revising and Editing for Translators, St.Jerome Publishing)

The checking (proofreading/editing) process may be as follows (again, this may vary from translator to translator):

  • Spell check, check for typos (using the spell check function in MS Word or any other word processing program)
  • Read through the translation, comparing with the source text. Correct any errors in meaning, change any terms.
  • Unilingual reading, i.e. read through the translation without comparing with the source text. At this stage, the translator should try and determine whether the text is suitably translated for the target readership, i.e. there will be difference in style, register etc. between a newspaper article, a technical text and a literary one. Any necessary changes to improve on this aspect should be made at this stage.
  • Final spell check for spelling mistakes and typos.

Checking on screen or on paper - which is more effective?

Opinions are divided on the issue. Some translators prefer checking on screen and others like to take a print out as they feel you can detect errors better on paper. A combination of the two is probably best, i.e. checking both on screen and on paper, but whether translators always use this option also depends on time constraints (deadlines).

See ProZ.com's Proofreading/Editing/Reviewing forum for more discussions on this topic.

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