3 Feb /15

What Proofreading Involves

Join us in this series of 4 articles focusing on the proofreading process at EVS Translations.

Each article will cover a different aspect of proofreading so that the reader understands:

– What proofreading involves A look at the different definitions of proofreading. Who does it? What it means at EVS Translations.

The industry standards for proofreading Not all Translation Service Providers work to the same standards. EVS Translations works to translation industry standard EN 15038 – see how this helps to differentiate us from other Translation Service Providers.

–  Why it’s important to use proofreaders Expert proofreaders have an excellent eye for detail. Think it’s easy? Here are some examples that highlight the level of accuracy required.

– How in-house proofreaders spend their day at EVS Translations Our in-house proofreader Emma tells us about her day.


What proofreading involves

Scenario: Your boss is planning a trip to Germany to meet with buyers and has asked you to get his materials translated into German. After a brief check on the Internet for a translation agency, you come across EVS Translations and make a call. You envisaged a chat about price and turnaround time, but our sales guy is asking you all sorts of questions about “terminology management”, “quality assurance processes”, and “bilingual proofreading”. I just want a translation, you think; can’t you just stick the data in special software and click “Translate”?

The process of translation is sometimes misunderstood, so comparing translation quotes can be difficult.

High-quality translation demands:

  • High level of competence in a foreign language

  • Professional writing ability in the native language

  • The above skills to be maintained under time pressure

  • A solid understanding of the subject matter

But it also demands the support of equally well-qualified proofreaders who form an essential part of the quality assurance process.

Bilingual proofreading

The term proofreading can mean something as simple as performing a spell check and checking for typos. It may also mean that another person reviews the text to check for typos. But in translation, there are always two texts (original and translated) and therefore a greater scope for error. At EVS Translations, our translations are reviewed by a separate professional who understands the original text. Bilingual proofreaders are able to compare the original and translated text to find any translation, formatting and terminology errors.

Translation errors

  • Missing text

  • Incorrect understanding of the original text, so that the translation does not reflect the intended meaning of the original

Hours of translating can be tiring and sometimes parts of sentences can be missed. The proofreader checks for this and flags up any missing text. Occasionally, certain expressions or meaning in the foreign language might be misinterpreted, or new words that have recently come into the language misunderstood causing the translator to produce an inaccurate translation. These are also corrected by the proofreader.

Formatting errors

In addition to this bilingual check, the proofreader checks the following small details that make a huge difference to the overall quality of the text:

  • Format of the translated text is identical to the format of original (bullet points, capitalisation of headings, layout). Or, any changes to the format are appropriate to the conventions of the target language.
  • Numbers (including currency conversions), dates, official titles of people and names of organisations. Conventions may differ for UK or US English.

Terminology errors

Problem: A specific term occurs many times in the original document, yet multiple different translations of the term have been used throughout the translation. At best, the material looks sloppy, at worst the information being presented is unclear.

Solution: The proofreader ensures that the translator has adhered to industry-specific terminology or client-specific glossaries and style guides by referring to these during the proofreading process. This guarantees accurate and consistent terminology.

The proofreading process has to be more than a simple re-read of the translated text because there is more than one text involved. Asking a separate person to review the translated text makes sense, too – it’s a fresh pair of eyes and a second opinion. Our proofreaders support our translators to produce a high-quality text and they form an important part of the quality assurance process.

Take a look at our next blog in this series to see how the quality assurance process at EVS Translations conforms to the international standard EN 15038:2006.