Why is translation without revision and proofreading (not) enough? | Lexika

Why is translation without revision and proofreading (not) enough?

Stanislava Dengová Ciferník08.01.2021 For Customers Reading time: 4 min.
Translation with or without revision

Imagine ordering a specialised translation for a company. After 10 minutes of searching and addressing translation vendors, you finally select an offer.

However, there are more options:

  • translation without revision,
  • translation with revision,
  • and translation with revision and proofreading.

What shouldn’t have taken more than 5 minutes suddenly became more complicated, so you might ask yourself:

  • What is revision and what is it good for?
  • Why complicate things—isn’t there an easier way to do it?
  • Just do it right the first time, it will be faster and cheaper.
  • If someone has to proofread the translations, does that mean you are hiring inexperienced translators?

Why is revision so important?

An old proverb says: look before you leap. Translators need to be distanced enough from their work to be able to proofread it thoroughly, but sadly there is not enough space for that nowadays. Imagine a translator finishing a project, “putting it in a drawer" to get back to it in a week for one more proofreading before submission. That would be a dream come true for many translators. In reality, however, instead of postponing the project, other translators’ services are used.

The same approach is represented by the internationally recognised ISO 17100 standard that specifies how translations should be made. It states that the translation should be the result of the work of two people: the translator, who translates the text, and another linguist, who will thoroughly proofread (=revise) the translation in terms of grammar, terminology and stylistics.

How to make the right decision

How should you decide on the right combination of services when you don’t know what to expect from revision and proofreading?

We are here to help with the following example:
(Find a more detailed explanation of the translation process below)

Translation without revision:

Translation without revision

An experienced translator works on a translation, which is then delivered as the final text. Translation without revision can be used, for example, for internal corporate purposes, as it provides direct information in another language.

Translation with revision:

Translation with revision

A second translator revises the translated text to ensure no mistakes were made regarding accuracy, completeness, or the terminology used. They change some parts, choose more adequate terminology and correct typing errors.

Translation with revision is commonly used to translate instructional materials, contracts, product sheets, safety data sheets etc.

Revised translation with proofreading:

Revised translation with proofreading

The proofreader only works with the target text. Their job is to edit it so that it can be read fluently. Only then is this kind of text suitable for publication.

Note: For a better illustration, we used exaggerated mistakes as an example.

Still, clients’ needs will differ. In some cases, their top priority is a quick delivery, while in other cases it is a cheaper price, so often no time or budget remains for revision. In these situations, we have no choice but to deliver a translation without revision. However, in general, translation without revision should be used for internal or informational purposes only, as small imperfections are only acceptable in these cases.

A detailed explanation of the translation process

The first version constitutes a translation made by a professional translator.The translator’s task is to transfer the source content to the target language to make the translation accurate, complete and in agreement with the rules of the target language, which, in this case, is English.

Translators always read and revise their translations. However, the original text can hypnotize them so much that they might miss some details, for example a missing letter or a blank space before a full stop.

These translations are suitable for understanding the source text. The reader will receive the message, but we do not recommend sharing or publishing the translation without further revision.

Once the text is translated, it is time for a revision or quality check by a second translator. A reviser is also a professional translator with the same competencies. They trace the translator's steps, compare the translation with the original text and check whether it is accurate, complete and whether the right terminology was used.

The reviewer looks at the source text with fresh eyes. They add a missing letter and correct a typo that the spellchecker would not pick up. But their focus is still mainly on the original text. In the case of general translation, the text is usually satisfactory after its content and terminology are revised.

If the translated text will be published in printed or electronic form, or when you need to translate an important presentation for a business partner or a marketing brochure for potential clients, the translated text should be revised and edited by a proofreader.

The proofreader, unlike the translator and reviser, works only with the target text and edits it so that it sounds natural and is grammatically correct.

This process results in a high-quality translation that is accurate, complete, and grammatically correct. It preserves the original form as much as possible and does not shift too much from the original text.

Yet, some types of texts demand even more. By this, we mean texts that promote or help sell products and services, e. g., websites or advertising texts. But that is a topic for a separate article. Follow our blog or Facebook page to find out more.

If you struggle to choose the right services, feel free to contact us. Our project managers are here to help.

Stanislava Dengová
Stanislava Dengová
Project manager

I began working at LEXIKA as a recent graduate in translation and interpreting studies. At university I took a class in which we simulated a translation project thanks to which my vision for the future was clear – I wanted to work at a translation company after graduating. I am happy to have landed a job at LEXIKA where I have been working since then :). I primarily oversee translation projects and communicate with our clients and translators. Sometimes I contribute to our internal documentation and since I am a certified memoQ trainer, I am in charge of our CAT tools and together with my colleagues I organize memoQ training courses for beginning and advanced translators.

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