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Why translators need editors

Translate, edit, proofread. This trilogy of steps is familiar to most, an anachronism to some, and misunderstood by many.

While translation is fairly obvious – the conversion of one language to another – and proofreading is something we all do (hopefully) when we write our reports and emails, editing is often a mystery. Yet it may well make the difference in readability, style, and quality in translated documents.

So, what is editing and why is it so important? One of our own editors has prepared a white paper that talks about this all-important step. Download it from our web site.

After reading our white paper, take a look at these related articles:
ForeignExchange pioneered Multilingual Compliance while working with pharmaceutical and medical device companies. It's based on the proposition that quality does not exist without rigorous systems—systems that are not merely effective, but are documented, measurable and auditable.


  1. Eileen Hennessy said...
    Emphasis on the "misunderstood." Too many project managers and too many translators who are being used as editors don't know how to edit--they think it means "to rewrite." There also seems to be a confusion between the work of the editor and the work of the proofreader.

    [Via LinkedIn]
    Patricia Carlin said...
    Somebody I have a lot of respect for told me last year that the industry should consider hiring translators that can do a great job, and cutting out the time and expense of multiple layers of correction. He further said that editors often introduce error. While he supplied no statistics, I have to say that I too am tired of all the delay. In what other industry does it take 3 or more people to compose one correct sentence? Would you go to any supplier for any other service where you would see this much overhead? Where else in the world are there three layers of work in addition to QA and some sort of testing? I can't think of a single example. Here's to getting right the first time!! How about glossaries, style guides and a single translation as the new trilogy?

    [Via LinkedIn]
    Livia Florensa said...
    Also, I think translators relax a little bit because they know that if they make a mistake, there will be a second person reviewing the text they have translated and therefore, many times they do not perform a proper QA. I have even seen cases in which they do not run the spell checker. Having said this, in my experience, it is necessary in most of the cases to have a second review and a final QA. If not, you take the risk of ending up with a non quality translation. Some translators are able, however, to deliver a perfect job which does not need further revision but these cases are rare.

    [Via LinkedIn]
    Elena Iglio Woontner said...
    In the seminar, there was an interesting take on editing, or reviewing - often editors make preferential changes - it's absolutely true, we're all been there, both as translators and as editors. It was stressed that even if you have what would universally be considered a better translation, if the one you're editing is decent, you must not change it, because, unless the client instructed the translator to specifically use a certain terminology or follow a house glossary, all that is needed is a decent, understandable sentence or term.

    I have never, ever seen a translation that could be considered "perfect" the first time around. This because our field is not maths: There are many arbitrary possible choices and correct ways of saying things. This is also why the concept of translation test as a measure of a translator's skill is idiotic, since editors may hypercorrect, make unnecessary changes and so on.

    [Via LinkedIn]
    Interpretation equipment said...
    Language translation is very responsible work. Each and every word changes your complete theme. After each and every translation it is necessary to check translated document with experienced senior person, who rectify your errors and suggest you better solution.

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