Every translation project is different. Some translations will need to be certified, some will come along with some sort of surprise request and will have to be finalized and delivered ASAP, and others will be part of an extensive project, or part of the company’s regular activity.
Every time we are delivered a text (or web page, video or educational presentation) to be translated, we have the task of choosing and defining the process that will transform it from its original language into its target language. The strategy of procedures that each agency follows will be different, but we can mainly distinguish these three steps, regarding the handling of the content:
- Translation: Being the most obvious and essential step in the chain. It is carried out by a professional translator, or a team of translators, depending on the length and difficulty of the project.
- Editing: Occurs after finishing the translation. The editor is in charge of polishing the text, and corrects any errors, comparing the translation and the original text, making sure that no part of the text has been omitted or misinterpreted.
- Proofreading: This step is reserved for projects that cannot have a single stray comma. Certified projects, books that are to be published, and all legal documents, or documents of this nature, will pass through this final step, without fail.
So when do I need proofreading and when do I not? This will always depend on the purpose of the translation. If the case is a work email, sent in French by a colleague of the European division of the company, possibly, this last step is expendable and we can save the time and cost that would come along with a proofreading step. If, however, it is the presentation of a new product at an industry conference, or certified documents that will later be sent to an embassy, it is essential that all three steps be carried out.