How to proofread translations

Proofreading is the process of examining the translator’s draft of a text to ensure there are absolutely no errors and the text follows the client’s instructions. As a proofreader, you will:

  • correct spelling errors, punctuation errors or typos
  • spend time instructing writers when a task needs editing (rewriting sentences or paragraphs).

Proofreading is not just about performing a spell check. You are also checking for style and consistency in the translation so that it will meet the client’s expectations according to their instructions. We want to encourage our translators and help them improve, so whenever you need to send back a task, say something positive to reinforce what they are doing right so they keep doing it. Afterwards, point out which part they could improve. Don’t be afraid to be specific.

Be nice but be specific!

What does a good translation look like?

There are 3 key things that makes a translation a good translation.

100% Accuracy

This often fails when there are mistranslations, missing sentences and bad grammar. If a translation has any of these errors, the reader tends to lose confidence in, not only the document, but also the company that produced it.

Crystal Clear

A translation has to be easily comprehensible and well-written. Don’t forget, if the original document was of poor quality, we still need to translate this in the best way possible. A translation should present all the information and nuance of the original text in a clear and uncluttered fashion. If the original text contains long and overly complicated sentences – shorten them and make them clearer in the translation.

A natural flow

When you read anything, the words and sentences should flow naturally. Make sure that that the translated content reads smoothly and sounds as if it were originally written in the target language.

What is expected from you when you proofread translations?

A correct translation should have the same meaning as the original text, but read as a native text, and should not sound translated. Do not try to translate literally word-for-word. A good, natural translation should sound like it was originally written in the target language; hence, you are allowed to make changes as long as the meaning does not change.

Things to do, when you take a proofreading task:

  • Ensure that the articles follow the instructions from us.
  • Check spelling and grammar and correct any small errors like typos. Improving the text by correcting several grammatical errors and rewriting  (lack of consistency, too long sentences, poorly phrased text, incorrect content) is the translator’s responsibility.
  • Check if there are any factual, measurement or currency errors (below).
  • If text does not fulfill ALL the quality requirements (see table below), text should be sent back to the translator to improve the language to make for a readable, correct text.
Valid reasons to send a deliverable back to translator are: Reasons to approve a deliverable are:
The original meaning has not been carried over in the target language, or too direct, word to word translation The meaning of the original text has been carried over to the target language and sounds natural
Spelling mistakes Excellent spelling
Grammatical mistakes Excellent grammar
Tone does not fit persona (colloquial terms, overstatements) Adequate style, and tone
Non-native (lack of flow – floating indexicals, lack of transitional words, lack of logicals connections between sentences, machine translated) High readability and good flow
Unnecessary repetitions with words and sentence length Text conveys information efficiently and uses synonyms accordingly
Factual mistakes, translation errors, article is not about the subject specified by the title and in the specific instructions. Well-researched, factually correct text.

Important stuff!

When checking the translation, pay special attention to localisation. Click here to make sure you’ve covered this off and for some help on converting currencies, measurements etc.

Super Important Stuff!         

We never deliver poor quality to our clients.

Remember, as a proofreader, your role is to support and help translators by informing them on how they can translate the text in a better way. The quicker they learn, the fewer mistakes they will make in the future – which means you will be able to proofread more quickly! Win-Win for all! And, if you would like to read some examples of successfully translated content, click here to read some!

And in case you encounter any difficulty, we have online chat available at certain times. One of our Content Managers will help you out!

Happy proofreading and stay awesome!

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