Many people perceive translation as the final form of the translated text. But there’s more to the process than meets the eye. A quality translation involves not only rendering meaning into another language, but also a lot of editing, post-editing and proofreading.
Proofreading is a very important element of the translation process, allowing to sieve through any errors and make the text sound more coherent and cohesive – simply, more natural. In big corporations or agencies, professional proofreaders are important members of the team. But what if you’re supposed to proofread for yourself? Here’s a handful of tips that might come in handy.
Useful proofreading tips
Take a break.
If the deadline isn’t too tight and the time permits it, it might be a good idea to let your text sit for some time, before proofreading it, allowing you to clear your head and see your work from a different perspective. That way you are more likely to notice mistakes that otherwise might have been overlooked.
Print out the text you’re proofreading.
For many people it’s easier to spot errors, if they proofread on paper. If that’s not an option for you (e.g. because of the volume of the document), perhaps you could change the format of the text for proofreading? After you’ve changed the typeface or size of characters, it might be easier to notice flaws and errors.
Pay extra attention to numbers, dates, addresses, etc.
These are especially easy to mistype. Make sure to review them carefully, especially if you’re converting units or currencies, etc.
Don’t just glance over the text.
Read it thoroughly, focusing on both the meaning and sentence structure. Do this more than once to make sure you won’t overlook anything.
Read the text aloud.
Sometimes it’s much easier to spot mistakes when you hear them, instead of just looking at them. This can also help you find any misplaced or missing punctuation marks. As an alternative option, you can ask someone else to read it for you or resort to some text-to-speech software.
Don’t over-rely on spell-checkers.
Most people are familiar with spell-checkers and if you’re using a CAT tool, it most probably comes with one, too. They’re great at catching misspelt words, as long as they are not words on their own. For instance, if you misuse the words ‘meet’ and ‘meat’, the app won’t count it as a mistake. That’s why a human proofreader is difficult to underrate.
Use apps and tools for help.
While too much reliance on spell-checkers might be ineffective, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t embrace technology. In addition to the text-to-speech software I’ve mentioned before, there are other apps you might want to try out.
What seems great about this app, is that it can find all sorts of mistakes, not only misprints. It can easily spot misused words, grammatical errors or incorrect use of punctuation. What’s more, it can be used not only for documents, but also e-mails.
A simple proofreading app that can review your grammar and spelling. What makes it stand out from regular spell-checkers is that it’s context-specific. It can notice commonly confused words that often get misused. The app scans your text for punctuation mistakes, too.
What’s makes it especially worth trying out, is the readability feature. It identifies the portions of the text that might be difficult to comprehend, highlighting overly complex or long sentences, or instances of too complicated sentence structure. It also draws your attention to the overuse of passive voice, which can also hinder readability. Each type of mistake is highlighted in different colour. As a result, the tool is very intuitive and easy to use.