Definition and rates of proofreading and editing
Thread poster: Soizic CiFuentes

Soizic CiFuentes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:55
Member (2003)
English to French
Jul 30, 2007

My client wants to email me a French translation to proofread, then read it back to him in English via PC to PC software without knowing the English text.

Also my definition of proofreading differs from my client. I usually just check for correctness of the text not meaning which should have been done in the editing phase. I have the feeling he is calling proofreading what is editing for me. And there is a difference in the rates.

What is your opinion and would charge separately for each task? And what about the reading part? I was not aware this was a common technique for editing.

Thanks in advance.

Below is my client's definition of the two:

I would e-mail the translation as a Word doc. Then, working off of a triple-spaced hard copy, you would read it back to me in English via PC to PC software; without looking at the English text, you would tell me in your own words what the translated text says. I will follow along with the English text; and any area where the meaning seems off, I will stop you; after I explain the English for that area, you will write the correction on the hard copy. After we are finished on the phone, you will type the corrections into the translated Word file using the "tracking."

We usually work for two hours at a time until the entire document has been completed.

After this phase has been completed and all of the changes have been made, then you would proofread the corrected text, focusing on the language aspect, i.e. spelling, grammar, punctuation, native flow, etc, and correct anything that got overlooked when the "meaning" phase was being done.


1. A hard copy of the translation is to be printed out, and all the corrections are to be marked on paper.

2. Then the corrections are to be typed into the computer file in MS Word using the tracking function.

The proofreading is to consist of the following:

1. Making sure the spelling, grammar and punctuation is correct.

2. Make sure the translation is understandable, makes sense, and that the thoughts are properly connected.

3. Make sure the translated language has a native flow and does not sound like a machine did the translation.


Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:55
English to German
+ ...
Please define: PC to PC software Jul 31, 2007

If I got this right, your client wants you to provide a back-translation from French to English to check on the correctness of the text. This is neither editing nor proofreading, this is a.) translating, combined with b.) interpreting.

Regarding the difference between editing and proofreading:

- Proofreading: You check spelling and grammar. That's it. You can do this without having a copy of the source text.

- Editing: You carefully compare the source text with the translation and make any edits necessary (spelling, syntax, terminology, etc.) without imposing your own writing style on the translation. If done right, this is a pretty tough job.

If this is done in Word, triple-spaced or not, with a tag-editor or with felt-tip on a napkin doesn't matter.

However, your client obviously is asking for a back-translation and I would be very careful to offer such things at proofreading / editing rates.

Let's see, what colleagues have to say.

Good luck!

Best regards,



Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:55
German to English
+ ...
agree with Nicole in all respects Jul 31, 2007

and 'PC-to-PC software' sounds like Skype or a similar VoIP scheme

The first item under your client's definition of 'proofreading' is actually proofreading.

The other two are editing.

[Edited at 2007-07-31 10:47]


Soizic CiFuentes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:55
Member (2003)
English to French
Confirming my thoughts Jul 31, 2007

My client seems to want three jobs at the proofread rate.
Thanks for your help.


Diego Gomez Grün  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
charge per hour Jul 31, 2007

I would suggest you proof the doc as usual and then charge per hour for the telephone part and the time you spend editing the word doc in track changes.

Good luck,


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