Friday, February 1, 2013

9 Difference between editing and proofreading

cartoon difference between editing and proofreading
Click image to enlarge


  1. I learned some time ago there is also another name for this pleasant activity: QA, which has even become a verb. As in : "I really wonder who QAed this translation, I hade to retranslate it again myself".
    People who QA are called "QA persons" or, when they are lucky, QA linguists...

  2. Some of the people whose QA/Reviewing/Proofreading/Revision/Editing work has resulted in translations coming back to me have not been fit to lick my boots as a translator and often, to add insult to injury, their alterations make me thing they have received the material and decided to make some points that I can immediately batter back down and prove wrong, because they felt they were being paid for it and had to do something.

    A good reviewer will know that reading through it bit by bit is the job. That is the basis of the job. If there are no alterations needed, they still had to read through and cross-reference it with the original text.

    Any alterations that are necessary are not 'extra' - they are also part of it but if there are none, then the reviewer should be honest, they should praise it and leave it standing as-is.

    It is also very subjective.

    The worst thing about it is that often they are fellow translators, even if they don't know me, can cynically make a translation out to be poor in order to put themselves in the picture as a supposedly more knowledgeable and more skilled translator.

    Finally, some agencies will use proofreaders' comments as a way of hitting on less confident translators to get reductions in instances where there is no justification for it. Proofreading part of the cost and should never unjustifiably be passed on. If I am ever put in this position, I ask to be sent the comments, with Track Changes visible and offer to go through it, returning it with my own comments.

    Most of the time, the agency knows I will expose their rip-off and backs down or in some other instances, I have returned a job having witheringly reduced their proof-reader's criticisms to a tiny handful, admitting it wherever I thought they were right and I've successfully managed to fend off disgraceful suggestions like a 40% reduction to a mere 5% or 10% or even just to be paid as agreed.

    Don't fall for dirty tricks! It is usually a tactic of talentless faceless project managers whose job is to prey on the talent that makes them their money in order to get a bigger commission on the final profit made by the project they are managing. Vultures, some of them. Beware!

    1. I was going to say something, but you have said it all. Good job!

    2. This is why proofreading should be paid by the hour and not by the word, and also why this hourly rate should be the same as what you would otherwise earn if you were translating. Thus, if you actually had to retranslate the document, you could get paid fairly for this effort.

      Of course, this way of thinking sticks the translation agency, and not the proofreader, with the bad consequences of getting an initial bad translation. (The agency might have to pay twice as much money).

  3. Excellent comments above.
    This is precisely why I don't touch any proofreading/editing/whatever (with a very few exceptions) and I am happy to tell agencies the reason, i.e. I'm not going to do re-translations on the cheap.

  4. Good comments. If someone is checking/reviewing the translation, he/she should have at least the same level of competency. Otherwise, instead of improving the text, they just drive the translator crazy :) The second/third reader's job is to filter any error/problems in the text. Not to create problems.
    In a logical arrangement, on the road from the "raw" translation to the "final" text there should be a more knowledgeable person at every level. The system is based on the premise that everyone at every level do their jobs as they are supposed to be. And everyone should trust people they are working with, which is not something very easy. Usually personal relations and perceptions come into play and make everything even more complicated.

  5. I always find it odd when I get proofreading requests without the original. How can I determine if it has been translated correctly? Sometimes I see that it has not, but I cannot correct it without the original.


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