18 Oct /21

Proofreading, editing and MTPE: key points translation buyers should know

Proofreading, editing and MTPE: key points translation buyers should know
Proofreading, editing and MTPE: key points translation buyers should know

Terms such as ‘Proofreading‘, ‘Editing‘ and ‘MTPE‘ can be confusing for buyers of translation services.

We break down their meanings so that you can understand the services you are paying for.

Proofreading and editing are two different areas of the revision process when finalising content for publication. They concentrate on different aspects and use different techniques.


What is proofreading?

Proofreading is the process of examining a text and looking for spelling, grammar, syntax and punctuation errors, typos and other unintended mistakes. Style, tone of voice and flow of information are irrelevant here, as the work focuses on the correctness of the text.

What is editing?

Editing involves working on content with the intention of improving the flow and style of the writing. Editors check for contextual mistakes and inconsistencies. It’s the editor’s job to verify facts.

Translation proofreading services

In the language services industry, once a translation is complete, a separate translation proofreader may check grammar and spelling, while comparing the translated content against the original text. This second stage in the translation process is used to ensure that the meaning has been correctly transferred between the two languages. In our sector, this is known as ‘Bilingual proofreading’ or the ‘Dual Control Principle’.

During the translation production stage, itself, there may be a Q&A session between the translator team and the client. This is an opportunity to clarify issues, including any errors found in the original content. Project managers coordinate this process carefully so that the team is clear on the client’s terminology and style preferences. The terminology databases are then updated accordingly. Proofreaders finalise the content based on all feedback and deliver to the project manager. (Read a real example of this process in our health and safety app translation project feature, here.)

QA checks like this are an essential element of good content management. Accurate and consistent terminology and style ensures good readability and user-friendly content.

Not all language service providers include translation proofreading services in a quote, so it’s important to check this with your provider. If they’re not included, consider whether the content would benefit from additional QA checks.

What is ‘Post-editing’ or ‘MTPE’?

Machine translation post-editing is also known as MTPE.  Machine translation quality can vary depending on a number of factors, including the quality of the training data that was used to develop the engine. Read more on that here. So, during editing process, human post-editors work to improve the quality of raw machine translation output. That is, to enhance the readability of the text and to fix errors.

The level of MTPE needed depends on a businesses’ objectives for the final content:

– For documents that will only be used internally within a company, it may only be necessary to fix basic errors (‘Light post-editing‘).

– For content going into the public domain, more in-depth post-editing may be required.

It’s important to note that not all translators are experienced in working with MT output and to a client brief on quality requirements (e.g. what types of errors to focus editing time on, etc.). A ‘traditional‘ translation proofreader may also not understand the typical errors of MT and how to spot these quickly.

EVS Translations is certified for ISO 18587:2017 Translation services — Post-editing of machine translation output. This is the latest standard relating to MT post-editing services and post-editors’ competences. Our translator teams, which consist of translators, proofreaders (senior translators) and post-editors, help businesses to keep global stakeholders accurately informed in their languages.  Contact our team today to discuss upcoming projects.

EVS Translations UK Ltd.
+44 (0)115 964 4288

EVS Translations USA Inc.
+1 404-523-5560

EVS Translations GmbH
+49 69/82 97 99-99

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