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QUALITY ASSURANCE IN TRANSLATION

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When a text is sent to be translated, translation itself is only a part of the whole service ordered. Translation may come with revision, review, and proofreading, or any of those can be ordered separately. You may wonder, though, what do these terms mean? They sound near-synonymous, after all.

Today we’ll clarify this somewhat confusing terminology and describe the particular stages of the translation quality assurance process.

NEED FOR QUALITY

With the growth of translation industry, translation agencies started offering additional services to assure the highest quality of translated texts. Such services included reading the source text and the target text followed by correcting any deficiencies, reading the target text only, or reading the target text prior the publication or print.

To avoid discrepancies in the quality of such additional services and achieve standardisation of the whole translation process, the International Organization for Standardization has prepared a standard covering this topic. Its official number and title is ISO 17100:2015 Translation Services-Requirements for Translation Services. It covers many different areas concerning translation services and clarifies many terms in a systematic way. In this post, I’ll focus only on check, revision, review, and proofreading.

Before we start analysing these terms, however, I must make it clear: we are not an ISO 17100:2015-certified business (as of yet).

CHECK

According to the standard, check is simply the examination of the target text carried out by the translator. So, a translator performs a check if they read the text once they’ve translated it to correct any errors and mistakes: typos, grammatical and spelling mistakes, wrong translation, omissions, etc.

REVISION

Revision is an examination carried out by a person (reviser) other than the translator. The reviser examines the target text against the source text for any errors and its suitability. If there are any issues, the reviser corrects them even if that means retranslating parts of the text. Sometimes the reviser recommends corrections to be made by the translator.

Revision can be made either in target file formats (e.g. in .docx, .pdf, .xlsx, etc.) or in CAT software. Revision made in a CAT allows the instantaneous update of a Translation Memory, the use of Quality Assurance tools, and all the other features supported by the software. However, revision made directly in target file formats gives wider context of paragraphs, graphic elements, layout, etc., so the reviser can escape the tunnel vision of individual segments displayed in a CAT. Yet I venture to say that it may boil down to individual preferences of the reviser or the revised text itself.

REVIEW

Review is an examination only of the target text, so the reviewer does not look at the source text. The reviewer assesses the suitability of the text for its purpose and recommends corrections or may correct the text themselves. For instance, the reviewer may adjust the style of a product description that is too technical for a catalogue and make it more advertising.

Many Polish translation agencies employ native speakers for this task in the belief that native speakers are best suited for this task. This is not always the case, though, and non-native speakers also perform review quite frequently and successfully.

PROOFREADING

Proofreading is similar to review, although it is carried out at a later stage. Proofreading is performed on a revised target text to apply final corrections before printing or publishing. The corrections concern any possible defects: typos, language mistakes, style, etc.

It should be noted that the reviser, reviewer, and proofreader should be persons other than the translator. However, revision, review, and/or proofreading are often performed by the same person.

CHECK, REVISION, REVIEW, AND PROOFREADING AT TRANSLATORION

An important question arises: what do we implement at Translatorion and what do we offer?

First and foremost, we perform check. Every text we translate is thoroughly checked. If the deadline is long enough, the text is checked after one or two days as it allows us to look at the translation with a fresh eye.

Also, we always perform revision. Martyna revises Paweł’s translations and vice-versa.

We review texts occasionally. Sometimes we feel that the text requires another examination, but this time in the target language only. This mostly concerns marketing texts, press releases, tourist publications, etc. Of course, if the client needs reviewing too, we can arrange this service as well.

Proofreading in the strict sense, i.e. examining proofs, is done on rare occasions. Most of our translation projects don’t get published to wider audiences as they are done for the in-company needs of our client, so proofreading in this sense, well, makes little sense. However, in the case of texts meant for publishing, such as exhibition catalogues, booklets, or other print publications, we always perform proofreading. Sometimes due to time constraints, clients aren’t able to send us the proofs for one last look, but we believe it is a necessary step if the text is to printed and publicised.

catalogue translation Polish English
Some of our translations in print – proofreading is indispensable in the case of printed publications!

It should be noted here that we also offer revision, review, and proofreading as separate services. We can perform an independent revision, review, or proofreading of translations prepared by the client. Moreover, we can review or proofread original texts, i.e. written directly in English or Polish.

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I hope I’ve clarified those confusing terms, so you know exactly what to expect from us when you send us your text. Remember: if you want to learn more about this topic, if you have specific needs with regard to revision, review, or proofreading of your text, feel free to mail us. We’ll do our best to help you.

Paweł

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