Reviewing – invisible but important

2349632625_4eba371b56_zReviewers are to translators what editors are to authors – a very necessary part of the process without which the text would not be ready for publication.

Reviewing is not re-translation, but rather a form of editing. Reviewers don’t focus on subjective stylistic amends, but instead look at what needs to be improved to increase a text’s fluency, understanding and accuracy. It is a balancing act; a translation must accurately convey the meaning of the original whilst not sounding ‘translated’.

Language service providers know that revision is their most powerful Quality Assurance tool for delivering the best possible translation. We often refer to it as ‘proofreading’, and although it is itemized separately on our quotations, revision should only be considered optional if the text is intended uniquely for internal company use, or for the client’s own information.

Reviewing is a crucial value-adding step in the translation project. More information on types of revision, the Web-Translations revision process and the limits of self-revision can be found below.

Types of revision

Accuracy revision
Comparison of the source content and translation to ensure the translation accurately conveys the meaning of the original. The reviewer typically works through the text one sentence at a time.
Structural and stylistic revision
This is completed section-by-section, rather than at sentence level. A reviewer looks to re-order text in order to improve the structural flow, and makes any necessary stylistic improvements.
Literal revision
Checking for spelling, grammar and typos.

Revision process recommended by Web-Translations to our linguists

Step 1) Read a section of the translation first. By reading the translation first as a stand-alone piece, it is easier to see how it will be perceived by the target readership. Certain elements of language and style can be corrected during this read-through: spelling, grammar, punctuation, inappropriate register, unsuitable language, transitions, verbose text, pronouns, etc.
Step 2) Starting from the beginning of the section read in Step 1, read a small segment of the translation, and then compare it to the source text. Identify any omissions or mistranslations. Correct any problems as they are noticed. Mark anything that requires further research or thought. Carry on until all the text reviewed in step 1 has been compared to the source text.
Step 3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 until a certain point, such as after 2,000 words, and resolve any problems which were highlighted. Read this section of text again.

The limits of self-revision

• ‘Sleep on it’ – often, coming back to something with ‘fresh eyes’ helps to highlight improvements which could be made. Unfortunately, time is a limiting factor; translators frequently complete and deliver a translation in the same day, and as such are unable to look over it again at a later date. Reviewers can compensate for any ‘second thoughts’ a translator might have had themselves, given more time.

A translator’s primary focus is on meaning and style. Even after several re-reads, there may be obvious grammatical errors and typos which someone reading the text for the first time will easily spot.

Personal commitment to the draft. A linguist will always have their preferred way of expressing a particular idea. This might not always be the best option for a more general target readership. Allowing the text to be amended by a separate reviewer eliminates the risk of personal choice clouding judgment.

Despite the many merits of proofreading, like anyone you ask for a second opinion, a reviewer needs to be someone whose judgment and knowledge you trust implicitly. By using professional translators for all our proofreading, we ensure a high standard of quality control for all projects.