Tag Archives: Proofreading

The difference between proofreading and editing

As the name indicates it, there is quite a difference between both process

Editing requires a very thorough check of the target text against the original source document to ensure that nothing was missing, that the translation is accurate and does not differ from the original text. Editing normally may involve some rewriting and adjustments to fix stylistic and other problems as well.

Proofreading is normally a much faster process and in most cases it shouldn’t be necessary to go back to the source language. Basically involves minor checks and adjustments. 

We always do a through QA process before sending out a translation to our clients 

Wow, those must be rich clients. If I were to edit something, as you described it, I think I’d want practically the same price as a full translation. The way I usually do it is if a proofreader understands the source language they can refer to it when something seems odd. Otherwise I like to believe I’ve chosen quality enough translators to be able to trust them. Rather than hire a second person to comb through everything so meticulously. This sounds like some sort of ISO bureaucracy that only bloats the end price significantly. After the proofreader I like to have a vetting stage, which is to make sure that nothing is missing and that the formatting is correct. Much cheaper than the proofread.

Anyway, I understand ISO requirements and corporate thinking, and I’m flexible.

Correspondence: Importance of proofreading your own translation before delivering

Sending you what I proofread so far.

My proofread file shows my changes (you may have to turn on the View Revisions feature to see them), and the cleaned file is what I’d like you to make further changes to, so that I in turn can see your changes.

Several points:

– it seems that you did not proofread your own work. Just because someone is expected to proofread after you does not mean you do not have to proofread your own translation. A professional translator should always proofread their own work. Some of the mistakes I’ve seen you could have easily corrected if you proofread your own work, and as a proofreader I am only supposed to polish up the translation – not make major surgery, because I do not know the original language.

– I do not believe you performed a spellcheck either. For your information, google docs is able to spellcheck in many languages and it is a free service.

– you can find my comments by searching (ctrl f) for the < character. <? means I do not understand it and always refers to the word, phrase or sentence to the LEFT. < by itself means that it should be looked at more closely. If < is to the right of a word, it means only that word or nearby words. If it is to the right of a comma or period, it means the entire phrase or sentence does not make much sense to me.

Excluding these points, the translation was good overall, and I can see that it was a difficult text. I’ve asked if the Slovakian translator can forward your document for consultation with her doctor. If this will be necessary and the doctor charges something, I may have to deduct it from your amount. When we agree on a job I expect a finalised document. It seemed that in some places you were guessing and and just pulled words out of a dictionary.

This is a new client for me so I’m just trying to do a good job (which I try all the time anyway).


I’ll look at your file and try to put this project together.

Like I already said, I think you did good work overall, yet there were some issues I felt I needed to bring up.

I sent you two files, and the proofread one is twice the size in kb. It should therefore have all the revisions in it. Open the Revisions toolbar and you should see a Show icon, depending on what version of Word you have.

Here are some examples:

we have decided on therapy viw Apilepsin,

What is “viw”? Did you mean “with”?

I remember several examples where it appeared you did not proofread the translation after yourself. Did you? If not I consider that unprofessional, and what I was addressing. This would be absolutely unacceptable to many of my customers and for me to retain work I must control stuff like this.

There were also some painfully blatant spelling errors.

I have attached the file with my responses to your comments. Unfortunately I could not see  the changes you’ve made to the document apart from the comments, even if I turned on showing mark up and all revisors.

All the words you have marked I’ve double checked online, in comments I’ve only given one or two links, but I have checked more of them, as well as the frequency of a certain phrase (so that it is not just a one time occurence online).

I do have spell-check installed on word, however, spellcheck often underlines words which are unusual, and especially scientific words. Admittedly I’ve found two mistakes I haven’t seen before. All other underlined (“misspelled”) words I’ve checked.

Also some sentences or phrases did not make sense to me either, but because it is a highly specific text I’ve translated them literally, an (intermediary heart axis can be only that, even if to me it does not fit in the context)  those that you have marked i’ve checked and that’s what it said in the original. If the doctor finds my translation to be bad, and he charges you, of course deduce it from my amount, since I’ve taken over a translation in an area completely out of my expertise. I know very little about medicine and it is possible that the phrases I’ve used are unsuitable, however I have done my research and did not just make them up. As you might see in the comments, some expressions are very widely used, even described in wikipedia and medical sites. I would be grateful if you could enter the expression into google next time before charging me of being unprofessional and making up words.   

They said they could pay by Moneybookers so I can do the same.

I sent your translation to the other translator and she agreed with all the points I marked for her. As I said, I was overall happy with the translation, but after seeing a few areas where it seemed obvious to me that you did not proofread your own work and several areas which did not make sense to me, I became a bit worried. For future reference, the way I like to work is, if you do not understand something, rather than just do a nonsensical word-for-word translation I prefer you point out those areas to me so that I could try to find someone to take a second look at them. I always try to provide the best quality, which is how I can ensure repeated work for myself and my translators.

Thank you and looking forward to working together again.

Proofreading Suggestion for Customer

A suggestion to your client just occurred to me. I’ve never actually translated before without proofreading my own work, but when I do proofread it I often find areas which do not make the greatest sense. For example, as probably most professional translators with long experience, I read the original text while I type the translation, without actually looking at what I am typing. So when I later proofread it I’ll find sentences where I may have left out a crucial word etc. I usually deduce it but sometimes I have to refer to the original sentence to make better sense of it. Usually the proofreading is tougher in the beginning, which is why I plan to proofread the beginning part of this document.

Anyway, my suggestion was that if the customer stumbles on the occasional sentence that does not make much sense, they can send it to me, and if it is not a great volume, I can proofread and correct it for free. Because I am using a CAT tool, and if I search for the relevant text in the translation, I immediately see the original segment on the monitor. This would make such corrections rather effortless.

Negotiating for a Proofreading Job

I checked it out and it looks like very high quality, translated by a native English translator. I actually regularly set up online and offline databases as well, so I’m pretty familiar with the technology. You want me to turn on Tracking so that you can see my changes? I’m afraid though that I probably wont make too many, but to compensate I can focus on the concept more and research some on the internet for specific terminology to make it an ultra quality translation. Then I can do more spot checks (against the original) at the end than I initially planned, and be more scrutinising while proofreading and compare against the original when things look only slightly out of place.

One problem though is it turns out to be 256 pages (of 1800 characters, considered a standard page in Czech), so it will be substantially more than the 173 I originally anticipated. I usually do not proofread (except my own translations), so I’m not even sure what my pace is. Furthermore, it is Sunday now and the only day of the week I actually do not work (otherwise I work practically all the time), and also for religious reasons I generally do not work, although I have made exceptions when I’ve had to. So I’m wondering how rigid the deadline is. Preferably, I’d rather start Monday morning and work nonstop right to every evening.

You wrote:

I am planning delivery to the client for the 19th, so I would like to have by the 18th affernoon Japan time. Can you please describe what you mean by proofreading.

I gather you are located in Japan? I’m in Europe so 5pm Japan time would be 9am my time, which would technically only give me two days if I started Monday morning. If I have to I can sacrifice my Sunday today, as it is morning now (8:17), but I’d really prefer not to. What would you suggest?

I am attaching the source and translated file as well as a note file from the translator. Can you please review the translated document and provide me with a quote for proofreading this document. I would like to know how good the translation is right away ! I am also including comments from the translator below for your reference.


when you ask someone for a quote, it doesn’t really make sense to speak in terms of printed pages, because this can be easily skewed based on the size of the font, or if there are a lot of tables and pictures. I can see the number of printable pages myself, whether it is for US letterhead size or European A4, but that is rather irrelevant information for quoting purposes. The translated text turns out to be more than 64000 words (about 256 pages of full text at 1800 characters a page). It’s simply a lot.

Thank you for the extension and I’ll shoot for early evening on the 19th. By what time in the evening? You are 8 hours behind me.

I’d prefer to stick to my original quote of 0.022 USD/word, but I can round it down to 0.02 and focus more on terminology search, overall research and more spot checks. Hope this is okay.

When i open the file here. I see 180 pages. The translater is using standard American page sizes, which is fine for our client. I have to deliver to the client on March 20th morning Japan time. Therefore I can extend to thursday the 19th afternoon/early evening if you need more time. I cannot do better than that. I think that you still have to provide me with a quote on this. I require a reasonable fixed cost per English word based on the fact that the translation is of high quality as you mention. Yes, I would like you to turn on track changes for any changes. I am in Osaka Japan, please calculate the time difference accordingly such that I get the file on March 19th late afternoon Japan time.

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