The Three Stages of the Translation Process
Let’s have a closer look at the three main stages of the translation process, and why each stage is so important.
Most translation clients, when first contacting a translation agency or independent translator, don’t expect to be offered various stages or steps for the service requested; all they know is that they have a text that they need written in either a different language or a set of languages. So let’s have a closer look at the three main stages of the translation process, and why each stage is so important.
Step 1: Translation
Translation means to render a text that is in one particular language, to another language. It’s the accurate transference of information in order to represent the original document to the target document.
This step is typically done with a computer assisted translation tool, or CAT, such as Wordfast or Trados. These tools divide the original text into segments, generally full sentences, to enable the translator to translate segment by segment. It’s very common in the translation industry to use translation tools, but today it has become quite essential for anyone working effectively in this field. Possibly the only problem this method has is that the translator doesn’t have a clear or overall vision of the text.
Step 2: Editing
Today, when we refer to editing in the field of translation, we are referring to reviewing what has been completed in the previous step; we review the translation created from the original text. In this step, the editor also works with a translation tool, however his or her task is not about translating, but more about revising segment by segment, ensuring that the translator has made an accurate and faithful translation of the original document; that they have completely understood the text and not missed any information; that there have been no omissions, and that any guidelines given by the customer have been fully complied with.
Generally, at this stage, the editor will begin work with a CAT tool, which means that they won’t be able to clearly see the text as a whole, however, during the final stages of editing they will ensure that the sentences and the document as a whole make perfect sense in the overall context of the project or document.
Step 3: Proofreading
In this final stage, we know that the translation and editing stages of the text have been completed, so in the proofreading or correction stage it should not be necessary to refer to the original text. This final review will focus mainly on the premise that the translated text sounds natural and reads smoothly in the target language, in addition to detecting any inconsistencies with regard to punctuation and capitalization. Document formatting must be checked for possible issues relating to fonts and images, plus the document must be checked for any typographical errors.
All three steps must be followed in order to obtain a final translated product of the highest quality. Each of these steps is essential for different reasons, and these steps should be clearly explained to translation clients to make them aware of their importance.