What can you expect from translation proofreading?

Translation proofreading

Following on from our blog about the different types of proofreading, this blog aims to look at translation proofreading in a little more detail. So, what is involved and what can you expect?

When choosing a proofreader for your translation, it is vitally important that you opt for someone who is a master of both the source and target language. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be a translator, but they must be able to read and understand the source text. And crucially, they must be a perfectionist in the target language.

Any good proofreader will assess your translation for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and incorrect word usage. They will also carry out a general sense check.

However, for a translation, just doing that doesn’t quite cut it. What’s written in the target may seem to make sense, sound coherent and be stylistically perfect, but if it doesn’t reflect what’s written in the source material at all, then it’s not a translation – it’s a new text. A bilingual proofreader will notice these sorts of inconsistencies when cross-checking both documents. And while it may not necessarily be their job to correct the errors they find, they should certainly notify you about them, so you can liaise with your translator.

Being able to understand the source will also help your proofreader to make better choices. This is especially relevant when they are tasked with fine-tuning the style and choice of words. The translation must remain authentic and true to the original. So, if the source features a passionate rant, for example, the translation must not be turned into something tame and friendly, just because the proofreader opted to diffuse the language here and there.