Editors in the Translation Process

Translation Editors 

Translation can be pictured as the conversion of one language with another. In the translation process, editing is an integral aspect. Most people do entry-level editing throughout their lives when writing reports, papers, articles, emails, etc.

A refined editor makes the difference in readability, style and quality within translated documents.

Even the best translators do not catch every error in their translated documents, which is why proofreaders and editors are needed in the translation process.

If a company is in need of translating information or any kind of document, a professional translation editor will significantly enhance the production of a polished translation.

The Job of an Editor

So, what exactly does an editor in the translation process do? Editing is often thought of as the “big picture process.”

This is the part of the translation process when the translated documents are compared to the original (source) text, and the translated (target) text is assessed in full. The editor typically looks for details like:

  • Wording
  • Clarity
  • Succinctness
  • Consistency
  • Terminology and
  • Register

Editors often keep a few simple questions in mind when going through this process:

  • Does the original meaning of the source text still exist?
  • Is the terminology and style accurate for the target audience?
  • Has the translated text and terms remained consistent? (This is especially crucial when more than one translator works on a translation.)

Differences Between Editing and Proofreading

While editing is thought of as the big picture, proofreading is similar to using a magnifying glass to do a thorough examination. During the proofreading part of the translation process, the goal is to clean up the text. This means that, unlike editing, the source text is irrelevant and the target text must be able to stand on its own.

The key distinction between what an editor does and what a proofreader does is that the proofreader only deals with the target version of the documents.

This is not to say that if errors are found, proofreaders don’t look back upon the original text to try and fix it. Proofreaders view the text as if they were the target audience, while editors check back and forth from the source text to the target text.

The editing process is often more intense than the proofreading process. This is because it involves a more comprehensive analysis of the text.

A professional editor must have significant knowledge of the subject matter.

Having an amateur editor is bound to waste money for a company, as the produced translations would likely contain errors introduced in the revision stage.

This is different from proofreaders as they may or may not be experts on the subject (but must be experts on the writing style of the target language).

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