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Proofreading... What for?

This is a question that has been more and more discussed when managing a translation job. Well, let's talk about the purposes of translating this or any text. It all depends on the client's goals and available investment resources towards achieving these goals. So this is not what WE, language service providers, want, but rather what our potential or existing clients want. The QUALITY factor is the question here. Who wants to pay for better quality? So, the first step is to get to know better the whole context and then expose the adequate offer or offers for the client to choose. In case the language service provider comes to two or three offers to take into consideration, it means the client can choose the best approach to achieve Value for Money. One step of a complete language service is the proofreading. I cannot say it is the second or third step, because it all depends on the whole purpose and work process of the text in question. There are different kinds of proofreading:

- Language proofreading: Only language aspects, such as grammar, punctuation and orthography are proofread. No style changes should be implemented.

- Style proofreading: Context is needed to localize text in order to adjust it to the correct environment.

- Language and style proofreading: Both proofreading options above are merged.

- Technical proofreading: Normally it regards specific terms and at some point also expressions that are most used within the respective area (industry sector or other).

- Layout proofreading: Many target texts are submitted to a DTP department that will work on the respective layout. Target language is proofread within design, so proofreader should be aware of the text appearance within columns, tables, figures, line breaks, etc.

- Final proofreading (Validation process): This is the final step when included in the language service process. It is usually the client that uses a specialist to validate target text after it has been translated and proofread (see above proofreading steps). Language service providers can also use third parties to conduct validation. A good example of this is the book manufacturing process. The author writes the source text, but this text is not published before it goes through a work and time consuming process of a team. There are people who will proofread this text in its source format. After this step, the text will be inserted in a graphic design and then the first language/layout proofreading takes place. After a number of such proofreadings, the book is ready to be published. Of course I skipped the graphic design process here... my experience involved a team composed of author(s), editing manager, language proofreader, DTP, final print and binding. Imagine this being done only and solely by the author... what product quality would you expect?

So, why proofreading?

Because a team works better than just one person. Any way, mind the context first, and then make a decision!