Editing vs. Proofreading – What’s the difference?

When we undertake a translation project, ensuring that the work we produce is of the highest quality possible is always a top priority. In order to achieve this, every document is put through a rigorous process, made up of translating, editing and proofreading. To help you distinguish between these 3 very distinct steps, we’ve put together a quick guide on the differences between the often-confused roles of an editor and a proofreader, and why both are integral to a successful translation.

The role of an editor

Once a document has been translated, the editing phase begins. This is usually done by the same linguist that has carried out the translation, but as a defined separate phase. The translated text is reviewed against the original to check for any mistranslations, misinterpretations, vocabulary inconsistencies or linguistic errors; as well as to ensure overall consistency.

The role of a proofreader

Once the editor is satisfied that the translation cannot be further improved, the document is passed on to a proofreader. The proofreader also has access to the original text and is also able to speak the language that the document was originally written in. This stage is especially important if the translation has been carried out by more than one person or as part of a wider translation project.

A proofreader’s job is split into 3 main tasks. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, a proofreader must make certain that the translated text can be clearly understood. If there is something that the proofreader cannot follow, they can liaise with the original translator and editor, to discuss translational choices and ensure and confusions are dealt with. Next, the proofreader must check the text for grammatical errors and typos that may have been missed by the editor. Finally, they ensure that the document is formatted correctly and meets the requirements of the brief.

Why is proofreading so important?

The proofreading process is undertaken to ensure that the translation is completely correct and reads as naturally as possible in the target language.

It forms a crucial part of the translation process and is therefore something which we offer as standard. We’re also here to help if you’ve already had documents translated and want to have them independently checked.

For a real-life example of why proofreading is essential, have a look at why the makers of the hit TV show ‘Homeland’ are kicking themselves for not taking it more seriously while creating Arabic graffiti for the show.

Proofreading as a standalone service

As we know just how important it is that your translated document sounds natural in the target language, we also offer proofreading as a standalone service, and we are able to independently check previously translated documents. We can carry out both monolingual proofreading, where just the translated content is checked to ensure it is understandable in that language, or bilingual proofreading, where we check the translated document against the source text and review the level of translation.


Share this story

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up