By Hagen Weiss
Something that isn’t necessarily top of mind for clients looking for a translation agency is the importance of asking your potential business partner if your translation will be reviewed by a proofreader once completed.
This can make all the difference between ending up with a translation that is just acceptable versus one that is grammatically correct and that sounds natural to a native speaker of your target language.
What’s the Difference Between Hire a Translator and a Proofreader?
The professional translator is the person that will actually translate the text from its original language to your target language; these individuals are proficient in at least two languages and often hold a translation degree and a professional certification.
Think of the proofreader as a walking and talking autocorrect feature; they will review the translation and ensure that there are no spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, typos or bad punctuation. Because yes, even the best translators are human and can make inattentive mistakes.
Having your translated content reviewed by a proofreader is a bit like holding an insurance policy. After all, you wouldn’t want a misplaced comma changing the whole meaning of your text.
Can Someone Be Both the Translator and the Proofreader?
Sure – but ideally they should be two different people.
Why? Well, if you have ever spent hours writing hunched over a laptop, you know that, after a while, the lines seem to blur together and spotting mistakes gets harder. Which is when having a second pair of eyes looking over your text becomes essential.
Moreover, the proofreader is usually a native speaker of the target language and will be able to review more than just the text, but also the expressions and local lingo used. Working with a bilingual proofreader provides quality assurance and will ensure that the translated text sounds as good as if it was originally written in the target language.
Do You Always Need To Hire A Translator and a Proofreader?
At the end of the day, this decision comes down to you, the client.
In our opinion, hiring in-house both a translator and a proofreader is a great investment, especially if you value your organization’s reputation, as nothing is more frustrating to a native speaker than spotting spelling mistakes in a translation.
You have already allocated budget to content writing and translating; proofreading should be considered to ensure that you have a perfect translation every time.
Some situations in which we would consider having both to be essential:
● Industry-specific or technical subject
If you’re having a legally binding contract translated, for example, retaining the services of a proofreader and hire a translator with a legal background will guarantee that the proper terminology is used. Same goes for other more specialized industries such as healthcare, science, patents, or technology, in which specific terms are used that a regular translator may not be fully familiar with.
A proofreader masters the target language but, more importantly, can have the educational or professional background necessary to ensure the quality and veracity of your translation.
● Product labels and packaging
Having a flawless translation of your product’s ingredients and user manual is essential for your brand’s image but also to protect you from customers potentially misusing your product, which could obviously have serious consequences.
● Sales or marketing material
If your translation will be used to sell products or services, you want to make sure that your message comes across the way you want it to, as your credibility is at stake.
A simple literal translation is not enough – your ads or sales page needs to be localized so that it is understood by your target market: this applies as much to your company’s slogan as to your promotional emails, as you want your text to have the same effect in your target language. Ideally, this type of translation would be reviewed by both an editor and a proofreader.
● Long-term or large-scale translation project
Numerous translators usually work on these types of projects, which is why we would consider a proofreader essential to ensure that the text is not only error-free but that the style is coherent and the tone of voice respected. Your corporate documents should be consistent over time. This is especially true if you have a company glossary and terminology that needs to be respected.
Of course, an experienced and competent translator will always proofread their final translation before submitting it to a client; in some cases, this might be good enough for your purposes.
At iGlobe, we work with both translators and proofreaders and will coordinate the whole process on your behalf. Moreover, if you have already had a text translated and want to make sure that it is accurate, we can have one of our proofreaders review it.
Contact us today to get a free quote for your translation or proofreading project – no job is too small or complicated when you hire a translator from our team.
Tel：+1 604 355 3023