Proofreading is something to consider when hiring a translation agency. Translations go through multiple steps on their journey to a perfect text in the target language. The document is translated, of course, into the target language. Then it is edited, and finally, proofread in the target language. McRoberts Translations does an excellent job of defining the difference between editing and proofreading in translation, so please feel free to read a bit more on this distinction over on his blog.
But focus for a moment on proofreading. That moment after the translation has happened, after the editing, too, when really, you could say your text has been translated into the target language and you are 95% finished.
But that 5% is where you end up with costly errors. Clam instead of Calm, for example. Both acceptable words. Both uncatchable by machine spell checkers, but with such different meanings that the text looks unprofessional at best, laughable (or rude) at worst.
In a translation agency, proofreading for translated text is the place, too, where linguistic differences need to be paid attention to and corrected. Capitalization differs from language to language, for example. Punctuation follows different rules, too, depending on the language. For example, Dutch uses an apostrophe with all plural words. This is an embarrassing error in English. German capitalizes every noun. French capitalizes nearly nothing (a slight exaggeration…).
And, of course, there is an element of trust in the translation. You hired a translation agency presumably because you don’t understand the target language well enough to write the document yourself. So how do you know that the text has been translated and proofread properly? How do you know that you aren’t writing something that seems fine, but is laughable to your target audience?
(See: Nothing Sucks Like an Electrolux.)
Differences Between Translators and Proofreaders
Many people do both jobs, and do them competently. But there are differences in the skills required for translators and proofreaders, and it is important to make sure that the people you have hired are capable.
A translator needs to be fluent in both languages, and very knowledgable in the subject matter of the text being translated. Many times, in fact, the translator is an expert in that area. And a good translator will edit and proofread his text before sending it on. But no translator is competent enough to catch every error.
A proofreader, however, can be monolingual. He or she does not need to know the subject matter in depth, either. The crucial knowledge area for the proofreader is linguistic. He or she knows the target language and the writing style guide used in-house perfectly. And this is what you are paying for. An error-free text.
Whether you decide to go with your friend who has offered to translate for you, or a full service agency such as Language Tran, you’ll want to make sure that both translation and proofreading steps are taken. In the case of Language Tran, of course, you can be sure we take all necessary steps to give you the best translation possible. If you’d like more information, or a quote on your translation project, contact us today.