Proofreading - do you need qualifications?
Thread poster: Rachel Ward

Rachel Ward  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:11
German to English
+ ...
Oct 31, 2005

People who offer proofreading as well as translation services - do you have separate professional qualifications in proofreading? If so, are there any courses in the UK that you would recommend/avoid, and would you say that it is a worthwhile extra string to your bow?

Many thanks!
Rachel


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 12:11
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
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More experience needed Oct 31, 2005

Hi Rachel

I might not answer directly to your question but you give me the opportunity to talk about a problem.

I think that for proofreading you need to be an experienced translator, beginners should not offer proofreading.

I was very, very surprised when I saw a colleague offering proofreading into a language I didn't know she translated to, so I asked her, saying "I didn't know you translated into (let's say) English". She answered "I don't translate into English, I can just read it, that's why I only do proofreading".

That answer almost killed me, it was so enormous!

Regards

Claudia


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
German to English
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Proofreading - do you need qualifications? Oct 31, 2005

What is proofreading?

Marc


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:11
Spanish to English
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study Oct 31, 2005

Rachel Ward wrote:

People who offer proofreading as well as translation services - do you have separate professional qualifications in proofreading? If so, are there any courses in the UK that you would recommend/avoid, and would you say that it is a worthwhile extra string to your bow?

Many thanks!
Rachel


I would say that, maybe not specific training (I received a bit in proofreading marks, for example), but yes, you do have to read up a lot, about general writing (punctuation, formatting, layout, word breaks, etc), e.g. having a copy of the Oxford Style Manual to hand, and style manuals of various kinds.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
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Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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A little theory can go a long way Oct 31, 2005

Rachel Ward wrote:
People who offer proofreading as well as translation services - do you have separate professional qualifications in proofreading?


First, let's talk about definitions. Some people use the word "proofreading" when in fact they mean some sort of editing. Proofreading means comparing the text to something else (be it another text, a set of typography standards or a brief). Editing means improving the text in terms of spelling, grammar and idiom.

For some jobs (reviewing university students' theses), both editing (changing the language) and proofreading (checking the university's typographic style guide) is at stake.

Second, as for training, well, there are some interesting theories about how one can improve a text to make it more comprehensible without losing any meaning. If you have some training in writing, that would also come in handy. You generally shouldn't do editing in a language which you can't also translate into.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
German to English
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A little theory can go a long way Oct 31, 2005

Samuel Murray wrote:

First, let's talk about definitions.


So there is a God!

Marc


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:11
Dutch to English
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One course to consider .......... Oct 31, 2005

Hi Rachel,

We could all debate for hours on what the differences between editing, revising and proofreading are and how many agencies actually don't know the difference when they give out the jobs...

However, to answer your question, I did a very useful "Postgraduate Certificate in Revising and Editing Technical Texts" through the English department at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Spain). The course was offered via distance-learning.

It's a relatively short course, quite intensive in terms of coursework and assignments but not overly demanding on your time. It also wasn't very expensive. The course fee did not include the course textbook when I did it in 2003.

The course textbook is Revising and Editing for Translators by Brian Mossop, St. Jerome Publishing, http://www.stjerome.co.uk. IBAN number : 1-900650-45-2

It has helped me obtain work (although I prefer translating) and certainly assisted me in brushing-up my own skills.

The details of the course are on the university website under: http://www.ice.urv.es/trans/future/courses/editing.html

Hope this helps
Debbie

[Edited at 2005-10-31 16:05]

[Edited at 2005-10-31 16:20]


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Nora Diaz  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 08:11
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
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At the very least, the willingness to do some research Oct 31, 2005

I agree that an editor/proofreader should be an experienced translator and should in fact be able to translate the very project he is checking with great quality.

I also think he should be willing to do some research if he is not absolutely sure about whether a term is properly used, just as he would if he were translating the text himself.

It bugs me to no end when someone who's proofreading a translation I've done comes back to me asking me to justify my choice of terms or challenging whether something is right or not when it is in fact a standard term used in the field. That tells me they didn't even bother to do a quick web search to verify the use of the terms in context. I've also had editors/proofreaders "correct" things that were in fact right into something else that wasn't quite right (I once had someone change "scissors" into "sissors"!). It makes you wonder what butchery is done to your work that you're not even aware of when you don't have a chance to look at the final, edited version.

In my experience, the worst is when you have a direct client and they appoint someone to "proofread" your translation. More often than not, that person is very experienced in the subject matter of the document, but their language skills are not exactly top-notch (in either language). I once had someone scratch the expression "by far" (as in "this is by far the best option") as incorrect because he'd never heard it, so he was sure it didn't exist in English. And of course, he didn't offer an alternative, just wanted me to come up with the "correct" expression to replace "by far".

On the other hand, a good proofreader/editor can add a lot of value to your work. They catch all the little inconsistencies and suggest corrections for awkward sentences without making unnecessary changes, they give you suggestions and help you improve the quality of your work.

-Nora


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Areknaz  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:11
Spanish to Russian
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Proofreading/editing Oct 31, 2005

As I was reading the comments I noticed that there is a need to differ the revision/checking of the translated text and the proofreading of the text created in the certain language. I differ because I have some experience thar allow do it. If we talk about the first term we will follow the translator´s step and correct, proposing our version (the aim is not only eliminate the incorrections, but also propose the other one instead of it) and trying to improve it. The second work can mean to correct grammatical, stylistic falls or the therminology just workin with one language. Firstly, the proofreader must be specialist in the area (I mean the knowledge of the general concepts as natural professional duty of the proofreader for not to correct "scissors" for "sissors"; normally, the publishers comment the corrections to the author). The proofreader has to have a widest knowledge on the subject. He also needs a lot of dictionaries as references. There are two types of proofreading. The proofreading of the spelling and the proofreading of the style. The differences depends also on the country. For example in Russia the same person does the both proofreadings, while in Spain these proofreading are differed, as I was tought on some proofreading courses, firstly of the spelling and later of the stylistic. Frankly speaking, it is a very hard work. I would prefer the translation.
Hope my experience will be of use for somebody.
Best regards,
Svetlana Dalaloian.


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:11
Spanish to English
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editing/revising OR proofreading? Nov 1, 2005

Deborah do Carmo wrote:


The course textbook is Revising and Editing for Translators by Brian Mossop, St. Jerome Publishing, http://www.stjerome.co.uk. IBAN number : 1-900650-45-2


Debbie

[Edited at 2005-10-31 16:05]

[Edited at 2005-10-31 16:20]


I recommend this book too, very complete.

However, I interepret proofreading as reading 'proofs'-final edited/corrected versions - before they go to publication for stylistic issues, not 'translation revising and editing'.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:11
Dutch to English
+ ...
As I said .... Nov 4, 2005

Lia Fail wrote:

However, I interepret proofreading as reading 'proofs'-final edited/corrected versions - before they go to publication for stylistic issues, not 'translation revising and editing'.


I agree Lia - but the point is agencies often don't distinguish correctly and ask us to "proofread" translations when in fact the job is revision/editing. The course I've suggested covers it all.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:11
French to English
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Is this course still running? Nov 4, 2005

Deborah do Carmo wrote:

The details of the course are on the university website under: http://www.ice.urv.es/trans/future/courses/editing.html


Thanks for posting this Deborah, it looks very useful - do you know whether this course will run again? The website here refers to this year's course which has finished.

Angela

[Edited at 2005-11-04 14:53]


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