So, what is the role of the reviewer?
The scope of the reviewer’s work is considerably broader than one might grasp at first glance.
The proofreader must, of course, detect translation, spelling, and grammatical errors, but it’s also essential to check the assessed text at various stages to ensure its correctness, accuracy, and appropriateness.
It’s important to check that the translator has correctly used any glossaries and style guides, and that the customer’s instructions have been strictly followed.
Without a careful and critical eye, it would be easy for us to assume that translators were 100% correct in their interpretation of the original text. Nevertheless, at times, a skilled translator might work absent-mindedly, leading to automatisms, and multitasking can also impair efficiency.
Another very important aspect of the reviewer’s role is to ensure, in projects with a massive wordcount, usually assigned to several translators, that the various sections translated by different people are coherent and the terminology is consistent.
There are also several types of revision that can be requested:
- comparative revision
- complete overhaul
- quick revision
- selective revision (only parts of the text)
- style adaptation
- introduction of updates
- maintain coherence and consistency in the case of multiple translators being assigned to a project, etc.
The quality of the reviewer
The main mission of a proofreader is to review the entire text and make any necessary changes to correct any problems detected during the assessment.
Obviously, like the translator, the reviewer must also have specific qualifications and skills.
Each professional has their own individual set of skills, abilities, and knowledge.
In reviewing work produced by others, unlike self-review, two totally different individual sets of skills, abilities, and knowledge come into play!
Not being an exact science, where there is a stipulated method according to which everyone performs a task in precisely the same way, two translators are very unlikely to produce an identical sentence, let alone an entire text! The same thing happens in the translator-reviewer dichotomy.
These potentially different parameters between the reviewer and the translator can pose challenges if contradictory; or enrich the process and the end-result when both professionals respect and complement each other.
The quality of the changes
Proofreading and editing are both tasks prone to subjectivity. There are strategies for making them more efficient, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of the translation, rather than the opposite.
In practice, a correction can be identified as an improvement, a deterioration or simply unnecessary, considering that:
- improvement isn’t always the perfect solution;
- deterioration happens when a part of the text clearly turns out worse after being corrected; and
- unnecessary indicates that no change was needed, or that the change was needed but the correction proposed by the reviewer isn’t better.
The goal of proofreading is to improve the target text, so any changes that aren’t improvements should be considered unnecessary.
The quality of the changes depends on determining what has really been changed for the better and which changes we should discard.
Obviously, this is a dimension prone to subjective evaluations. However, the decision as to whether the final version is better or worse than the original should always be supported by rational arguments. Rational reasoning ensures reviewers will be able to defend their choices if it comes to that.
Another useful tool for ensuring the quality of changes is feedback and discussion between the proofreader and the translator, working collaboratively as a team.
The ideal proofreader
In our translation boutique, a small, cohesive group of specialized professionals work collaboratively, based on a three-step quality management procedure, each assigned to a separate professional: translation, revision, and final quality assessment.
Thus, we guarantee a high-quality result that always meets the customer’s needs.
Internally, in line with our working methods and company procedures, we believe an ideal reviewer should show:
- willingness to learn and flexibility;
- good attention to detail;
- good understanding of spelling, grammar, and punctuation;
- good writing skills;
- good communication and teamwork skills;
- good comprehension, whether for technical or scientific texts, or more creative ones (marketing, for example);
- ability to interpret and understand both the original and the translation;
- ability to determine whether the changes made make sense, overall—not making isolated corrections without considering the bigger picture; and
- ability to maintain consistency and coherence between changes and the existing text (specific terminology).
Having said this, it’s reasonable to infer that revision, despite being a secondary process in the translation market, is a fundamental and indispensable service.
At Verbarium – Luso Translation Boutique, we have experienced and dedicated reviewers to provide you with the best possible revision or translation + revision service. If that’s what you’re looking for, be sure to contact us!