The Qualities of an Outstanding Proofreader

July 24th, 2012
The Qualities of an Outstanding Proofreader

In the field of translation, a proofreader will generally be a professional translator themselves that will check the work of another translator. They perform an integral part in the industry standard translation process, usually referred to as TEP, which actually stands for Translation – Editing – Proofreading. Even the most skilled translator can miss some mistakes during the translation process and it can only take a fresh set of eyes to notice and correct the mistakes. 

 

Proofreading is not an easy task however, and a poor proofreader may read or even edit a translation without actually improving the finished piece. A truly outstanding proofreader reader must have a number of qualities to set them apart from the crowd.

 

Knowledge

 

I am not writing about just any knowledge here, but an intimate knowledge of both the source and target languages. This is vital for accurate proofreading, as without this level of knowledge you can only really check spelling, grammar and punctuation. While only rudimentary knowledge of the source and target languages may be acceptable at a non-professional level, for example when translating personal correspondence, it is certainly not sufficient for a professional translator.

 

Focus

 

A professional proofreader's focus and concentration is key to the accurate finding of errors. This makes sense when you consider their task, they are looking for errors that a professional translator has already missed, so are naturally difficult to spot. Take this a step further, not only is the proofreader checking between the final and source contents for inaccuracies but at the same time they need to pick up on any problems with style, spelling or any perceived inconsistencies. Hence the need for single-minded concentration on the work at hand, something not all people are capable of; indeed even the most accomplished proofreaders require some level of training and mental discipline to produce high quality work.

 

This brings us to our final point, which goes hand in hand with a high level of focus:

 

The Ability to Be Meticulous

 

A translator must have exceptional professionalism and attention to detail when it comes to proofreading, all of which will be apparent when the work is finalised. For example, if a particular type of mistake or inconsistency has been picked up on at one stage in the content, however later in the document it has been ignored, this shows a lack of thoroughness and attention to detail on the part of the proofreader. Maintaining this level of accuracy requires a great deal of focus throughout the work.

 

At One Hour Translation, our translators double as proofreaders and check each other’s work. This way we can ensure that our quality control remains at the top industry standard and that our translators receive constant feedback and monitoring from their peers.

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