Proofreading, a guarantee of quality

The aim of the proofreading process is to compare a text that has been translated into a target language (English, for example) with the original text in the source language (let’s say French). This is a crucial step of the translation process as a whole.

All of our translations are proofread by professional linguists, which means the text is examined with a new perspective and in-depth quality control carried out (an integral part of the linguistic process at Tradissima). This step is also known as an “auto-check” and differs from a revision in the sense that the latter is carried out by someone other than the translator.

This correction service is essential in guaranteeing linguistic quality, terminological consistency, compliance with spelling guidelines and rules, as well as proper layout. The proofreading step is a real safety net and enables us to guarantee that the text has been fully translated and that no mistakes, mistranslations, omissions or imprecisions are left unnoticed. It also enables us to rephrase any awkward expressions while guaranteeing the terminological consistency of the translation as a whole.

Even though translation and revision are highly subjective processes by definition, proofreading is essential for documents destined to be published or addressed to clients, prospects and shareholders. A perfect translation is a direct reflection of the reliability and professionalism of your company.

The price, complexity and time to be devoted to proofreading are extremely difficult to estimate. These depend on the topic (technical/literary, for example), the difficulty and scope of the project, the terminology involved, the necessary research as well as the skills of the initial service provider. When faced with a poor quality translation, it may be preferable to translate the text again from scratch in order to avoid the pitfalls of preconceptions that can lead to mistakes.

Skills required for quality proofreading

It all starts with perfect knowledge of the languages, followed by an in-depth study and analysis of the source document. The key attribute during this step is close attention to detail, in order to spot typos, unsuitable wording, oversights, typographical and punctuation errors.

Moreover, organisation and precision are key to guaranteeing standardisation and consistency. Time-management is also a major skill, as proofreading often involves large volumes and short deadlines, while maintaining the highest level of quality.

Rigour is also needed, particularly in complying with possible guidelines and procedures provided by the client, as well as applying glossaries or other rules. Most of the time, several types of software are involved in the process: from computer assisted translation tools to word processing software to spell-checkers and layout programs. This enables the delivery of a target document that perfectly matches the source file provided by the client.

Lastly, proofreaders must be highly adaptable in order to step back from the translator’s choice as much as possible and to stay true to the source text when making changes. They also need to practice diplomacy: finding the right words to explain their changes to the linguist without “upsetting” them, while helping them progress in an ongoing drive for improvement.