Does my translation need proof-reading?

11th April 2015

While it may, initially, seem to be an additional and added expense, proof-reading can make the difference between effectively engaging your audience and losing all credibility in foreign markets. Poorly translated signs and menus regularly appear in humorous social media posts and, whilst amusing to read, are no doubt highly embarrassing for the company responsible for producing such inadequately researched translations, not to mention the negative impact it has on the business’ reputation.

Can this be avoided? It most certainly must!

What is Proof-reading?

Proof-reading requires the revision of your translated text by a second, qualified, proof-reader; who will check for any inconsistencies with meaning, grammar, style, spelling and punctuation.

Defects in translation are commonly of 5 types, as follows:

“I went for a walk”

Defect type:Example:
Spelling mistakeI bent for a walk
Grammatical mistakeI went a walk
Stylistic variationI went for a stroll
Content modificationI walked up hill and dale
Missing translationI walk

Professional translators will review their work before submission and Foreign Tongues’ quality assurance checks will also ensure the formatting of the file is correct. However, similar to any process involving the creation of public facing text or representation of highly technical, legal or medical material, ‘another pair of eyes’ can be most useful in the offering of potential improvements to the translated copy and / or suggestions for alternatives – possibly to the ‘original’ source material also!

One small error can have a significant impact on the reputation and credibility of your business, particularly in a new foreign market.

Can I use Google to do the proof-reading for me?

Never opt for Google translate, or other machine translation tools, to proof-read the content produced by a professional linguist! Whist it might seem like an easy and inexpensive way to double-check your files … machine translation will create more problems than it solves, as well as unnecessarily undermining your confidence in the ‘original’ translation.

10 Inexplicable Google Translate Fails

The reason for this? Google translate and other machine translation services only translate word by word, or sentence by sentence and cannot take into account the overall structure or meaning of your document. As with the amusing menu translations, social media is also full of examples of where Google has translated text so badly, as to produce the comically awful, to inexplicably and entirely changed names and locations!?!

Do I need additional proof-reading?

It is important to remember that having a document proof-read does not mean that the ‘original’ translation was inaccurate. Proof-reading is the discipline and exercise of employing an independent, qualified third party linguist to review the translated text against the ‘original’ source text and provide you with any suggested corrections and amendments for potential improvement – in a similar way that a colleague may be asked to review a proposal, prior to sending to the Client.

While your company’s internal departments may have foreign language speakers that can find time away from their work description, to give a translation a quick read through, Foreign Tongues recommends enabling a professional linguist to review and proof-read any public facing documents or highly technical, legal or medical texts. In addition, this helps to avoid the use of any in-house corporate terms that might not be recognised by an outsider, as well and providing an un-biased overview of the translated document.

The proof-reading service is available as an add-on or incorporation to any translation request from Foreign Tongues or as a stand-alone service for any other translated materials you would want reviewed.

Contact us now on 0800 032 5939 or to see how we can help you with your next project.

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