I’ve been doing quite a bit of proofreading and editing recently. I like it, it trains me to better proofread my own work and it’s interesting to see the work of colleagues and compare their style with mine. I’ve learned that it is crucial to make sure my clients and I agree on what these two activities entail:
Proofreading = checking a translation for grammatical and spelling errors, typos and bad punctuation.
Editing = comparing a translation with the source text to make sure everything has been properly translated, improving the flow of the text and then checking for grammatical and spelling errors, typos and bad punctuation.
Another lesson learned is not to accept a proofreading or editing job without first seeing the translation to get a feel for the quality of work. We all make mistakes (and that’s why editing and proofreading are crucial stages of the translation process), but I would never dream of sending a translation without having run a spell-check, for example. Recently, I was sent a text to edit that was full of typos, spelling errors, and was badly written. I felt really awful about calling my client to tell them that their translator had done a poor job, but I thought that was the professional thing to do: I didn’t want to spend hours rewriting the whole translation and I didn’t think they should employ someone who clearly wasn’t very proficient.
I’m absolutely snowed under at the moment and I can almost smell sun-tan lotion wafting from the beach. However, how am I meant to resist taking on documents with such enticing titles as "The electronic potato revolution"? And am I supposed to say no to subtitling two episodes of Columbo?
To the people who have sent me emails through the website:
I am very sorry if you haven’t had a reply, but as I said in this entry, I’ve been spending 10 hours a days working at my computer for the past few weeks and I just haven’t had the time and energy to reply to everyone. I promise I will get in touch as soon as things slow down.