Effective proofreading is of vital importance for any translation, but even more so if you’re looking to move up in the translation market. And if you’re a translator who cringes when they see a mistake in print (and we know most of you are like this), then effective proofreading is probably more important for your sanity than it is for the translation! Seriously, though, your job as a translator is to ensure that your translations are error-free so that your client receives a high-quality translation. Here are our suggestions for ensuring that the service you provide your customers is top-quality –
Proofreading Your Own Work Is Almost Impossible
It’s true; it is tough to proofread your own translation work, but there are times when it has to be done. If you work for direct clients we strongly suggest you find yourself a cross-editing partner; but if you translate for agencies and hiring out your proofreading is not a viable option for you, then you’ll need to proofread your own work and do the best job you possibly can.
Try Proofreading in a Different Format
So you’re going to be proofreading your own work: our suggestion is that you proofread in a format that’s different to the original. Many professionals say they prefer to proofread from a hard copy: they do this by printing the target document and proofread using two monitors, with the target document in one window and the source document in the other. This enables the translator to make corrections as soon as errors pop-up.
However, if your work doesn’t lend itself to being printed, like graphics, Flash animations, and so on, at the very least you should change the font, size, color, or anything you can do to make the target text look different. The idea is that when a text looks different, you’ll actually read it and pay more attention to it.
Carefully Check All Numbers and Name-Word
Carefully check every letter in every name and place name, and check every digit in every number. Check negative expressions to ensure that you wrote the right version!
Never Proofread When You’re Tired
Most errors in translation are because the wrong word has been used, and not that a word has been misspelled. Yes, a spellchecker is great for the spelling of words you’re unsure of, but it won’t stop you from typing assets instead of assess, fact instead of fat, now instead of not, and so on. Even if you’re working to a deadline and time is of the essence, you must slow down when it comes to proofreading. Don’t proofread when you’re tired! Professional translators advise that the best way to proofread your own work is by pointing at each word with a pen. Time-consuming: yes, but certainly worth the effort.
Most Typists Have Typical Errors
By this, we mean, most people when typing have mistakes that they habitually make. For some people, it’s the spelling of their own name, and this is simply because they type it so quickly that the letters become jumbled. You’ll immediately know what we’re referring to when you read this paragraph, and you’ll know the words we’re referring to. These are the words you need to be very careful of - words that need to be proofread slowly.
Mark the Errors in the Source Document While You’re There!
This is a very simple way of adding extra value to your translation work: your client may or may not be appreciative, but it doesn’t take much work in any case. You may even find it easier to find errors in your non-native language because you spent so much time learning the correct conjugations and spellings.