Copyediting and proofreading are two of the translation QA processes to ensure that the translation conforms to client’s requested style. The style guides the flow and nature of the entire translation. It is determined by the style of the original author, which the translation team has to consider while preparing the initial draft of the material the translator is rewriting.
Some people are more familiar with proofreading than copyediting while some think the two terms are the same. Maybe it is because the two are steps in the editing process. Each step is important in translation work. There are companies that offer this type of services either individually or together.
In the language services business, quality and accuracy ensure that the company is on the path to business success and better standing in the community. If a translation project does not go through QA processes, it is inevitable that the quality of translation will suffer. This has a direct effect on the brand image of the company and a low customer impression that can take years to erase. Thus, the role of editing is on the same level of importance as the translation work.
Proofreading and copyediting have some similarities although there are differences as well. While the requirements of the document translation dictate which type of services is more applicable, reputable language services company like Day Translations, Inc. use both services to ensure high quality and accuracy in every translation project they do.
What is proofreading?
For the sake of defining and differentiating the two processes, proofreading is often used for planning or business documents that normally do not need specific references or formatting. The proofreader reviews the document in order to optimize it for readability and accuracy. It’s a step to polish the translated document.
Proofreading sees to it that the intended message is clearly communicated to the intended users. The proofreader looks at the entire document and checks the word usage, punctuation, grammar and spelling. The proofreader makes sure that there are no errors in the translation and that no words or passages from the original are deleted.
What is copyediting?
Copyediting is a more in-depth phase that a finished translation goes through. The copy editor closely examines the documents for all issues, such as flow, consistency, semantics, jargon, syntax, terminology, punctuation and grammar. The copy editor will follow the requested style (Harvard, Chicago or APA) while editing the work.
Documents or manuscripts the require copyediting include materials that require a specific style format, in most cases those that will be used for publication. Most of these types of documents include a number of cited materials, a bibliography or various references. At times, the unique house style of the publisher must be followed. The references and in-text citations will be reviewed by the copy editor to see to it that the translator has maintained consistency.
The job of the copy editor
Copy editors must be meticulous in checking the translated document in its entirety. This is very important for translation as this determines the accuracy and quality of the translation. The work should conform not only to the guidelines of the language services company but also to the guidelines given by the client.
The copy editor examines the text with the goal of improving its flow. It is also the aim of the copy editor to ensure the quality of the translation. He or she looks for inconsistencies and contextual mistakes. The editor has to check all the facts and ensure that the terminology used is appropriate and correct.
It is the job of the copy editor to search corporate and industry terminology glossaries, specialized dictionaries and counter check relevant websites of institutions, organizations and related companies to ensure the veracity of facts and terminologies.
Recommending corrections is part of the copy editor’s work. If necessary, the editor can also change the style used in the translation and go as far as rewriting whole paragraphs.
Normally, the factual and terminology changes are not actually done by the editor. Instead the correction recommendations and comments are sent to the translator who did the translation and have the translator either decides on what changes should be done or follow all of the editor’s recommendation regarding changes.
Importance of copyediting in today’s interconnected world
It is almost common knowledge that despite globalization, the language gap is as strong as ever. This is the reason why translation itself plays a great role in bridging that gap. Translation is of tremendous help in international communication. Which is why there are specialized translation services such as internationalization, localization and creative adaptation or transcreation.
It is imperative for political, financial and business strategies to deliver their messages clearly to their target audiences. So today, it is no longer enough to just transcribe written text from one language to another. Now it is crucial that cultural barriers are overcome and culturally logical and consistent message is transmitted seamlessly.
This is the reason why copyediting is extremely important in translation. It is a means to avoid mistakes, identify and correct whatever inconsistencies are present in the document and adapt the text to make it relevant and meaningful to the target user or market.
Copyediting is the next step after translation. It is a bilingual review of the source text and the translated work. It aims to verify that the translation is true to the original text. It gives continuity and makes sure that the use of the language is correct. It sees to it that the message is adapted and relayed to the target user as originally intended.
Proofreading should not be forgotten
The quality assurance (QA) process of a professional translation company consists of copyediting and proofreading. It is important to know that the two are different. After editing, the work is sent back to the translator so that the changes can be implemented. The last step in the QA process is proofreading.
Proofreading looks at different aspects in the translation. It compares the source and translated document. Proofreading is more focused on the texts’ correctness. It is more concerned with spelling, punctuation, style and grammar. On the other hand, copyediting is focused on facts, terminology and context.
The proofreader can also make suggestions and corrections. He or she can also ask questions relevant to the content. However, the proofreader does not apply the corrections but instead sends the document back to the copy editor.
Preparing for copyediting – defining specific style sheet
There is a methodical process that copy editors might find very helpful when they prepare to edit a translated document. It resembles a checklist of the things a copy editor should do to ensure that the translation is of the highest quality and consistent throughout.
- Get the big picture
The copy editor must understand the aim of the document’s content. Define the content’s particular purpose and give it a one-sentence description. If the editor cannot find the goal, it is important to consult the client to avoid copyediting issues later.
At this stage, the copy editor should define the target audience. Ability, age, educational level and professional status define the word choices, the structure of the arguments and the length of sentences.
- Specify the preference of clients
The second reading of the source document allows the copy editor to see and take note of the patterns, such as different sentence lengths, structural features, section headings, lists and the tone and mood of the content. The editor should also look for the author’s choice of words and the use of punctuations.
- Look for other needs
Authors may be conscious of their intent and the style he or she wants to use. However, many may disregard language as they write their piece. Clients may be using several idioms, which are difficult to translate, as these are traditionally culture-dependent. Does the client want a literal translation? Is it all right to use an equivalent? Translating idioms from one language to another often change the intent and meaning of the idiom, so this aspect should be discussed with client as early as possible. It is advantageous for the editor to have a thorough understanding of other cultures.
Organization is important in copyediting. It can save time and energy when the editor has a general style sheet. It helps the editor to remain consistent from the first to the last sentence of the translation.
Rest assured that all the translation work we do at Day Translations, Inc. pass through our stringent QA processes. Our teams of copy editors and proofreaders ensure that each piece of translation work is thoroughly checked and re-checked before it is approved by the project manager for submission to client. We always aim to be 100 % accurate, employing only native speakers with years of experience in different fields and subject matter expertise. Day Translations operate 24/7, each day of the year to provide you with high quality, fast and efficient translation services any time you need it, wherever you are in the world. You can get in touch with use by calling 1-800-969-6853 or sending us an email at Contact us.
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