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The Proofreading Phase in Translation: Importance and Best Practices for Quality Assurance

The proofreading phase in translation is an opportunity to perfect translated content and transcend boundaries, conveying the same message and intent to the target audience.

It is a phase that goes beyond the simple revision carried out by the translators themselves and ensures the highest quality. It is, therefore, necessary to understand what this quality control is when it is applied, and what steps it entails.


What is the proofreading phase and why is it so important in translation?

The proofreading phase is the final stage of the translation process, where a second expert translator conducts a critical review of the translated text. This phase follows the basic revision carried out by the translator of the text, and its main objective is to improve the quality of the final work.

Basically, it consists of correcting any grammatical, spelling, or consistency errors that may have been overlooked by the translator of the content. In addition, the goal is to review and correct the style to ensure the flow and comprehensibility of the text in the target language, taking into account the linguistic and cultural context of the target audience.

The proofreading phase in translation is not just about checking the spelling. It is a type of analytical review that yields a high-quality result. This phase ensures that the native audience for whom the translation is intended will be able to understand the translated text fluently without losing interest. As this is one of the key purposes a translation serves, it demonstrates the importance of the proofreading phase.


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Steps for ensuring high-quality translations

One of the main considerations to take into account is that the quality review should be carried out by a professional translator other than the one who carried out the translation work. In addition, for translation correction to be optimal, the following steps must be performed:

  • Before the correction of translations:
    • Step 1. Establish the deadline for delivery of the translation work together with the professional translation provider. The date must be notified to the reviewer who will carry out the quality control. The deadline for the proofreading work must also be set.

    • Step 2. Inform the original translator that their work will undergo a proofreading phase.

    • Step 3. Hand over the original document to the professional translator responsible for the translation and to the expert who will proofread the translations. The reviewer can thus familiarize themselves with the content, vocabulary, and context beforehand.

    • Step 4. It is very useful for the translator to make notes on the decisions they have made and any doubts that have arisen during the work.

  • During the proofreading phase:

    • Step 5. The professional quality reviewer should correct content, spelling, grammar, and terminology in order to ensure that the information is conveyed in a truthful and natural way.

    • Step 6. To check for fluency, the proofreader must read the translated text. It is also advisable to do a back-translation (translate the content back into its original language).

    • Step 7. All changes made during the proofreading should be recorded together with their justification.

  • After the proofreading:

    • Step 8. The corrected translation is returned to the original translator, together with the explanations and notes made by the reviewer.

    • Step 9. The original translator must accept or reject the changes proposed during the proofreading phase. In case of rejection, they must provide a justification.

Depending on the complexity of the project, the process from steps 5 to 9 can be repeated until maximum quality is achieved.


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When should a translation be proofread?

It is advisable that the proofreading phase of translation be carried out in all circumstances. However, it is essential in some cases, such as:

  • Literary or journalistic translations.

  • Legal translations, such as contracts.

  • Translations of a large amount of content, especially when the work is divided between several translators.

  • Translations for e-commerce and websites.

  • Translations of old documents.

  • Complex translations that require technical or specialized knowledge.

  • Translations of any content, text, or document requiring a high level of quality.


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The differences between proofreading and editing

Both proofreading and editing are procedures that seek to ensure accuracy and increase the quality of the product. But these are very different terms.

After the translation is completed, the content in the target language is subjected to the first revision, by the same translator who carried out the work. It is a basic level of quality control, which mainly ensures that there are no spelling or grammatical errors and that the result meets the client’s expectations.

There is also proofreading and editing, actions that are differentiated by the following:

  • Proofreading is a higher level of control that, in addition to correcting grammar and spelling, also analyses the format, cohesion, syntax, and style of the translated content.

  • Editing is an activity in which changes to the original text are suggested, both in form and in substance. For example, a change in the structure or style.

Pangeanic, experts in translation proofreading

At Pangeanic, we have an extensive network of thousands of professional translators with experience in quality control, proofreading, and editing of specialized content and technical documents from diverse sectors.

In our proofreading services, an expert native translator will perform an exhaustive review and deliver a quality translation that takes into account the context and the cultural, political, or social factors of the audience and ensures the tone and style of the text.

Contact us if you would like to verify the translation of your website and technical documents. At Pangeanic, we want to help you. FIFA, Microsoft, Amazon, and the European Commission have already trusted us with their translation needs. Are you next?


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