Linguistic Review or Proofreading?


We are often requested to translate highly complex and difficult texts. Since they are rather complicated our clients want to make sure that the final translation matches in every way the original so they ask us to review the translated material. There are two different ways of reviewing and both – linguistic reviewing and the proofreading – are to check if the translation meets the required professional standards and it is consistent in content, style and terminology.
Linguistic Reviewing literally means ‘seeing again’. The reviewer reads between the lines of the document and looks for the overall context. The translated text is reviewed from a linguistic aspect. Technically, the reviewer checks for and corrects inconsistencies and mistakes in terms of grammar, language use, spelling, etc. reviewing also includes ensuring that all the pictures, illustrations and diagrams are positioned in alignment with those of the original document.
Considering the above, reviewing only suggests that there is a ‘human element’ in the translation process: no matter how good the translator may be they are liable to make mistakes. Time can also be a hindering factor.

Proofreading is the reading of a document in order to detect and correct errors of text or art. Proofreaders are expected to be consistently accurate by default and to be familiar with the linguistic terms and jargon of the specific environment in which the translated document will be used.
Proofreaders compare the source language document to the target language one in terms of content, linguistic accuracy, language use, wording and style. The proofreader also ensures that the text is consistent in its terminology.

How can you reduce the need for linguistic reviewing or proofreading in the translated document?

At the outset, it is essential to determine the environment in which the text will be used e.g. whether a text in English will be applied in the US, the UK, Australia or India, or a French leaflet will target Canadian or French citizens, or a Spanish commercial will air in Toledo, Caracas or Buenos Aires.
The following can all support providing sufficient context for high quality translation as well as reduce the time and costs of reviewing or proofreading:
  • Informing the translation agency about the specific terminology required.
  • Making relevant material, e.g. dictionaries, glossaries, available, providing as many reference materials as you can including glossaries of terms, technical descriptions, sample documents such as annual reports, marketing materials, and handbooks; (The reference material that you hand over to the agency will greatly help improve the quality of the translation). Please note that, in case of long technical translations, if a glossary of terms is not available prior to the translation, the translation agency can prepare one for you.
  • It may enable parties to define the terminology in a relatively early stage of the translation process and reduce the risk of running into surprises and disputes shortly before the deadline.
  • The reference material that you hand over to the translation agency will help to improve the quality of work. Translation agencies hired for a technical translation may find it useful to have access to earlier technical descriptions, drawings and product specifications.
  • Informing the translation agency of any stylistic guidelines.
  • Handing over graphs or captions included in the original text.
  • Appointing an employee as a point of contact for the translation agency to answer specific technical questions.