In both academia and professional spaces, documents such as theses, dissertations, reports, depositions, legal certificates, product descriptions, email messages, contracts and legislation, are some types of documents that are translated. Such documents must be reviewed and edited before being proofread and submitted, since simple errors, such as the placement of a comma, misspelling, the use of ‘false friends’ or a poor rendering, can change the meaning, and in essence have more serious consequences. It can even mean the difference between life and death in the case of medical translations. As such, editing and finally proofreading, before delivery, are of paramount importance.
Proofreading refers to the re-reading of a text after it has been created to single out and correct mistakes. The text is read out loud to fully comprehend if the writing sounds organic or flows properly. It is very different to re-reading the script in one’s mind; since one is not physically hearing the phonetic expression and coherence, the text will appear as well-written. The first set of corrections concern the ideas expressed, and if the sentences flow well into each other, without obscuring the points to be discussed. The second type of corrections relate to grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalisations, sentence structure and more. Editing, on the other hand, in the case of a translation, is checking the source and target documents sentence by sentence, to ensure that there are no additions or omissions and that the translation is a true rendering of the meaning and intention of the author. It is a manual technique of rectifying errors or reformulating points and ensuring the correct use of terminology and country-specific jargon, in the case of regional language variants. The higher the standard of your language, the more you appear authoritative and believable.
For this reason, the writer needs time to rest, so as to lessen the intense levels of brain activity before delivery; editing or proofreading while mentally exhausted may result in skipping over several errors or even creating new ones. Cognitively, at this point, it is not possible to function at optimum capacity to identify mistakes and correct them within a given timeframe.
Proofreading, in the case of foreign language translation, is imperative. A simple mistake, such as a spelling error, or wrong use of a term, could change the entire meaning of the sentence. It also makes a translator appear sloppy to the client. Within the world of translation, the stakes are higher due to the fact that major companies, government ministries, law firms and other organisations, in this age of technology, a booming global market and immigrant crises, turn to human translators throughout the world, to assist in achieving their goals. Though online machine translation applications are on the rise, only the human translator has the ability to understand subject matter context, regional language variants, register and cultural contextual meaning, and apply this knowledge and experience to their craft, which includes proofreading.
To summarise, why is it necessary to hire a professional proofreader?
- A professional proofreader can spot and correct mistakes faster than the regular writer, as this is what they are trained to do.
- They can quicker ensure that your writing is of a high standard, within less time, by modifying your written language to better communicate with your target audience.
- While they are proofreading, you have more time to rest or execute other scheduled tasks.
- Having your work professionally edited and proofread could ensure that that deal or business transaction with other companies is successful.
- Finally, with no mistakes, coherent sentences, eloquent and precise vocabulary, you appear more convincing and authoritative.