Proofreading vs Quality Assurance Checks: What’s the Difference?

At Web-Translations, you’ll often hear us talk about the importance of proofreading files and having Quality Assurance checks. Now, you wouldn’t be alone if you thought these two things were the same– after all, they do sound quite similar!

Despite first appearances however, when we talk about Proofreading and QA Checks, we’re actually talking about different things. Of course, both processes are intended to ensure the highest possible quality of a translation, but the nature of achieving this goal and the moment in which the processes take place are quite different.

So, in order to clear up any confusion we’re going to use this blog to outline a few differences. We hope this helps!  


At Web-Translations, all projects are translated and then proofread by a second native, professional linguist as standard. This means that all projects have two pairs of eyes to ensure the highest possible quality, the best use of vocabulary and the minimisation of any minor errors.

This proofreading process takes place before the file is sent to our client for delivery and can often involve discussions between translators and proofreaders as they consider how to produce the best possible translation (something especially applicable if the text is creative in character and requires a bit more thinking than usual).

Within this process, our linguists consider the following:

Practical Components

  • Has the translator translated everything?
  • Has the translator left any errors in the text relating to punctuation, font or spacing?
  • Are there any issues with consistency that need to be fixed?

Technical Components

  • Has technical vocab been translated with the best terms?
  • Has the client’s style guide been followed throughout the translation?

Stylistic Components

  • Does the translation flow as best as it possibly can?
  • Have any metaphors or creative language been localised effectively for the target audience?

All in all, this process allows us to ensure that we are delivering the best quality translations to our clients. This is something we do for every single project

Quality Assurance Checks (AKA: In-Situ Review)

These QA checks are an additional step that may take place once we have delivered a project to a client and they have inserted the translations into their finalised format, whether that be an email, a PDF or a web page.

Not all clients opt for this service however we do recommend that this step is included as it allows us to check that the translations look correct in context. During this stage our linguists consider the following:

Visual Components

  • Does all of the text fit neatly in boxes/areas, or does it need editing to make it shorter, font size changing or the moving a bit so it looks better?
  • Is all of the text in the correct place?
  • Is the natural reading order okay for the target language?
  • Are line breaks in acceptable places?
  • Have any errors been introduced in the typesetting?
  • Are accented characters showing correctly?
  • Are all elements correct in right-to-left languages such as Arabic?
  • Are they any images that need to be localised separately?

As you can see, these checks are all more concerned with the surface-level and design of a document. It’s not so much concerned with the language used and the details of the style written.

And that’s the main difference between a Quality Assurance checks and a Proofreading task really: proofreading is about the detail of the language – QA checks are about how the translations look in their finalised context.

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