Proofreading: Do translated documents need it?
It isn’t uncommon for people buying translation services to question the purpose of proofreading and whether they really need it. If you’re under pressure from your director to bring translations in on budget, proofreading may seem the easiest thing to dismiss from the translation process. In this blog, we lift the lid on the key purposes and benefits of proofreading, so that you can better tailor the translation process to your needs.
What is proofreading?
Proofreading takes place once the initial translation phase has been completed by the translator. It is performed by an independent linguist and is designed to optimise the tone, style and flow of the translation. Thorough checking of grammar, punctuation and spelling is carried out, before the linguist moves on to review meaning, tone, and style in depth. The proof-reader not only brings a fresh pair of eyes to the translation but also a second opinion, which is incredibly beneficial when crafting persuasive, polished and powerful content in a foreign language.
Should I opt for proofreading every time?
Ultimately, it all depends on the intended purpose of your content. For example, if the translation is to be shared between colleagues and departments internally, then you probably won’t need proofreading. On the other hand, marketing collateral, creative copy or customer facing content should always be proofread as part of the translation process. Let’s consider things from a slightly different angle: the chances are you’ve put a lot of time and effort into perfecting your English content. Why, then, consider translating this content into multiple languages without getting it checked and optimised before publishing it? Time and effort spent on curating content should be replicated in the translation process wherever possible.
I often see ‘Translation + Quality Assurance’ on quotes. Isn’t this just free proofreading?
Quality assurance (also referred to as QA checks) is software that compares your content against the translated content to detect errors in the translation. This is particularly useful for flagging inconsistencies. They are also able to flag punctuation problems such as double and trailing spaces. Without any doubt, QA tools form a hugely useful part of the translation process, but cannot provide the level of skill that a proof-reader provides. They may contain spell-checkers, but they can’t guarantee that text conveys the correct meaning and tone, which is the crucial bit!
That makes sense. But is it really worth the money?
This one is easy – yes. Proofreading is there to take your translated document from good to exceptional. The fresh set of eyes, alternative opinion and experience that a second linguist contributes to the process ensures that your content presents you in the best light, in any language – which is crucial when you’re looking to grow globally.
We hope this insight has given you a clearer idea of when you’ll need proofreading or not and the benefits it offers. It’s not always necessary – and it’s worth remembering that if you need some extra advice, it never hurts to ask your agency! They’re the experts and they’ll point you in the right direction.
Integro help a wide range of businesses across the world with their language requirements. Get in touch to see how we could help yours through our professional translation services.