Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Good proofreaders and bad proofreaders

Your translation often needs to be checked to ensure its good quality. A person who checks a translation done by someone else can be called a reviewer, an editor, a proofreader or simply a checker. In this article, by the term ‘proofreader’ I mean the one who is usually hired by a translation company to check a translation against the source text for accuracy, completeness, linguistic and stylistic appropriateness, grammar, and spelling, although I am aware that some experts in our field may contend that a proofreader is only expected to check the spelling, grammar and style of the target document while an editor is expected to do more.
In some cases translations are checked by experienced and professional proofreaders. However in other cases, the work is corrected by bad and unfair proofreaders. These proofreaders often waste the time of the project manager, of the translator and even of themselves. They also bring about unpleasant feelings for both translator and the project manager.
Correcting approach
The job of a proofreader is to correct a translation, but good proofreaders and bad proofreaders have different approaches to doing it. Except spelling or typo issues that require immediate changes, a good proofreader will hesitate to change anything until he is sure that the change will serve a purpose, such as help clarify a certain meaning, fit the client’s style sheet or terminology, avoid misunderstandings or enhance the naturalness of the message. A bad proofreader usually hurries to change anything that he thinks does not match his own stylistic preference. Many bad proofreaders even tend to rewrite everything in their own words, falsely believing the more changes they make, the more competence they can show, at least, to a project manager. While a good proofreader tends to focus on errors that can obfuscate the clarity of meaning or result in misunderstanding of a text, a bad proofreader often concentrates on the minor details. Needless to say, a good proofreader often reviews all the changes he makes before submitting the edited work to the client. A bad proofreader does not review changes or does this in a careless way. Not long ago, I received back an edited version of my translation in which I realized that the proofreader used the ‘find and replace’ function so carelessly that he replaced many correct terms including the original name of company and its original website address! Source: