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Proofreading in Trados?
Thread poster: Endre Both

Endre Both  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:07
Member (2002)
English to German
Nov 27, 2002

A recent job offer has struck me as slightly odd, but I may be wrong, so I\'d like to hear your opinions.

It is looking for translation reviewers, which in this context I suppose is the same as proofreaders, at least with regard to the technical side of it. By the way, if you could explain any differences you see between editing, proofreading and reviewing, I\'d be grateful.

The offer states \"Trados availabilty/experience highly desirable\". I would think that proofreading in a TM system is ranging from impractical to impossible, depending on the type of text. Am I overlooking something?

The offer then goes on to ask for a \"rate per word or page\". In my experience, the time (and, as a direct consequence, charges) for proofreading can vary immensely, and going for anything else than time-based pricing is a recipe for loosing money, unless you can have a thorough look at the text in advance. So how am I supposed to provide per word charges for \"100,000+ words per month\" in advance?

I understand that for an agency with substantial turnover, stable word prices for both translation and proofreading would be a fine thing to have, but isn\'t this equivalent to passing on all risks from differences in text type (for translation) and quality (for proofreading) to the translator?

A penny for your thoughts .


EB Communications

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-11-27 09:55 ]

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Terry Thatcher Waltz, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:07
Chinese to English
+ ...
I agree Nov 27, 2002

I felt that ad was a bit odd, too. I smell low-quality translators or non-native speakers being used to work into their second (third, fourth...) languages, with native speaking \"reviewers\" cleaning everything up. I wonder if they really had \"proofreading\" in mind (i.e., making sure the meaning was correct as well as the usage) or just cosmetics??

(Apologies to all you honest, upstanding agencies out there, but heck, it DOES sound weird...)

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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:07
English to German
+ ...
Just an idea Nov 27, 2002

Dear Endre,

maybe they provide you with an uncleaned Trados document.

So you actually run that document in Trados by opening each segment and viewing both source and target text. If you make any changes, the complete TU gets changed and the TM can be updated.

I know, this sounds quite cumbersome, since Trados offers such a smart way of extracting TUs from source and target documents.

Just my two cents.



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Daniel Meier  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:07
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Proofreading in Trados Nov 27, 2002

As long as the client provides you with uncleaned files and the TM, there should be no problem proofreading with Trados. You can open the segments, which you want to change and save them, or you can make all necessary changes and then clean up the file (with the option Update TM selected). Also by concordance search you can check consistency of terminology.

Since there is a variety of opinions about what proofreading, editing, reviewing actually means, the client should clearly define the job. The following thread might be very useful (for me only the English text):

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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:07
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
Editing with a CAT Nov 27, 2002


actually, I haven\'t tried with Trados, but I am editing files with SDLX: I have managed to have the source displayed in the left column and the target in the right column. Without SDLX I couldn\'t manage to edit all the words I am editing daily within the same number of hours... If you use a CAT tool you save a lot of time and make sure that same or similar sentences are always formulated the same or similar way (repetitions & fuzzy).

True, a fee per hour is mostly the best rate of all, but not always, especially when you have to deliver a certain number of pages / words per day. Personally, I prefer rates per hour for short texts and rates per word (it could be per page as well) for long texts (all the words, no discounts as to 100% & fuzzy). If the text is translated well, you have anyway to go through all words, but the no. of hours you need to go through it, is generally speaking smaller, therefore wrd rate x no. of wrds makes a higher total than hr rate x no. of hours (rough estimate & generally speaking, of course!)

Have a nice day,


P.S. Proofreading: I understand only typing mistakes et similia;

Editing: any mistakes, terminology especially, but not only;

Reviewing: uhm, no clue, I presume a non-technical definition of editing.


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Judy Rojas  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Careful with reviewing! Nov 27, 2002

In my experience, reviewing is much, much different than proofreading (checking for typos, misspells, etc.)or editing, (comparing the translated document against the original and making sure the translation is OK.

Reviewing involves both of the above, but in addition, the reviewer must provide a list of mistakes, from minor to serious, with an explanation of each mistake. That cannot be charged at the same rate as proofreading or editing.

To avoid having to redo a poorly translated document, I always inform the agency that I will accept the job only if I can look at the material first. I then will have the option of accepting the proofreading/editing job or rejecting it and translating the material from scratch. When the latter is applicable, I always provide sound reasons for doing so.


Ricardo Martinez de la Torre

Santiago, Chile

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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:07
English to Dutch
+ ...
On proofreading, editing,... Nov 27, 2002

About a year ago I copied the following on proofreading and editing. I think Judyth Mermelstein wrote this:

Proofreaders compare the proofs of a typeset work against the text the editor has marked up (see below), check for typesetting errors (including things like bad kerning, wrong fonts, and errors introduced while

correcting previous errors), and may also colour-code author\'s alterations which the author will be billed for, as opposed to staff mistakes which the publisher pays for. Proofreaders are *not* supposed to do copy editing -- in fact, they are usually trained not to read the copy for sense but to

concentrate on word-for-word and letter-for-letter matches between the marked-up copy and the proof. One old trick to prevent oneself from being distracted by the content is to start at the end and check each line from right to left (European languages - I presume the reverse for Hebrew or


The skills required of proofreaders are primarily a sound knowledge of the appropriate symbols for markup, an ability to focus narrowly on the visual aspect (font recognition, spotting typos and wrong-sized bullets, etc.), and the patience to work very meticulously. Given those skills, it is not necessary even to understand the language of the text: in my youth I even

proofed a little Sanskrit and quite a lot of mathematics I couldn\'t understand!

Editors, of course, have a very different sort of job. They need a superlative set of language skills in their own language but don\'t necessarily know any other languages well. They also need to know a lot more about the subject of the text, who will be reading it, what type of vocabulary is appropriate for the style, what the normal conventions are for that type of publication and that particular publisher, etc., etc.

There are usually several editors involved in any given book, each doing a specific type of work -- the acquisitions editor chooses the book for the publisher, the managing editor co-ordinates its publication with the business side (budgeting, sales, etc.), the (project) editor may be involved in structural and substantive editing to improve the work and its chances on the market, the copy editor will deal primarily with issues of style and correct usage, another copy editor or \"line editor\" may go

through the manuscript again to catch any grammatical and spelling mistakes and (one hopes!) spot any lapses of logic or inaccurate facts that slipped by ... and only after all this does it go for layout and typesetting. It is assumed (usually rightly) that most problems will have been corrected before the proofreader sees the proof.

The pay rates for editors and proofreaders vary considerably, which makes sense when you consider the different levels of responsibility and skill, especially when there is also a requirement for real training and expertise in a particular field.

Proofreaders are generally at the low end of the scale and are often really editors-in-training learning the business. At the high end would be an editor in a field like neuroscience or nuclear propulsion, who has probably had a university education in that particular subject area and has proven his/her writing and editing skills for many


As a very rough idea, proofreaders in Quebec are usually in the $15-$20/hour range, while the chief editor of a scientific journal might well command $100-$150/hour. Most experienced but not highly specialized

Canadian editors would be somewhere in the $35-$85/hour range, depending on their clientele and negotiating skills. If you want to know more about what editors do, try and have a look at \"Professional Editorial Standards\".

In the world of translation --as in most of the non-editing world-- there seems to be a very different notion of what is involved. Those of you who read Alex Eames\' Tranfree newsletter may have seen an article a while back which suggested that translators could get away with a lot less editing of their work and actually recommended \"proofreading\" which consists of a simple spot-check before sending the text off to the client. Needless to say, I disagreed with the author\'s method and misuse of the terms and took the time to write and ask for a clarification. I received the reply that the article was following the norms for translators.

Heaven help the profession if that is true! If we routinely sent off unedited, unproofread files to our clients, we would certainly have little basis for our claim to be professionals. Admittedly, our clients often demand we meet unrealistic deadlines, which makes a careful edit impossible, but surely a quick run with the spellchecker is *not* enough.

Some clients don\'t understand the need for time to go over our work at least once or twice before the results are error-free and would hesitate to pay extra for editing and proofreading time. I can understand that but not a translator who thinks a \"more or less\" translation is good enough.

Personally, I think one\'s basic translation rate must surely include that work or one is necessarily providing a translation which will contain errors.

I also think the rationale for an agency taking 30% or more rather than a basic 10%-15% commission is that the agency\'s personnel review and share responsibility for one\'s work. An agency which does not read over the material before submitting it to the client and which moreover makes the

translator financially liable for the dissatisfaction of a client with whom

the translator has no contact should be paying top rates to reflect the translator\'s responsibility for proper editing.

The one agency with which I work does recheck my work thoroughly --

essential since their main client always expects a full week\'s work done between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, and I\'m too cross-eyed by the end not to miss things -- and gets a bit of a discount to reflect that I\'m not spending time on a full edit. On the other hand, where the original

text is unedited and I am expected to produce a translation that makes sense or where I am expected to do something which is not translation (e.g., checking or revising facts or references), I do estimate the

additional editing time required and the hourly rate which will apply.

In any case, I\'m stuffy enough to say flat-out that *every* written document other than a note to oneself probably deserves a re-reading and a correction or two -- in short, at least a light edit. I will flex enough to

accept that \"proofreading\" in most of the world simply means re-reading a text to eliminate spelling and grammatical errors but, old fogey that I am, I insist that means human intervention rather than relying on software to know what an author is trying to say.


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David Sirett
Local time: 13:07
French to English
+ ...
Thankyou Evert... Nov 28, 2002

...for reminding us that \"proofreading\" does not mean what most translators seem to think it means!


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