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Poll: Is it possible to proofread a document while translating it?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 10:44
SITE STAFF
Aug 15, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Is it possible to proofread a document while translating it?".

This poll was originally submitted by Susanna Martoni. View the poll results »



 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:44
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Aug 15, 2012

As a "general rule" the proofreading should be done after the completion of the translation.

However, sometimes when I get stuck, I start to proofread the text to clear my head. It did happen that, after proofreading the unfinished text, the term I was stuck with pretty much clarified itself.icon_smile.gif This might be a case of "Can't see the forest for all the trees"icon_biggrin.gif

[Edited at 2012-08-15 08:22 GMT]


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:44
Hebrew to English
Yes Aug 15, 2012

It's also possible to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time as you're "proof-translating" it too.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Perhaps, it depends Aug 15, 2012

Everyone has their own preferred working method/s.
I have colleagues who touch type and then spends ages cleaning up all the mistakes etc., while others go more slowly, but their finished drafts need less correction. Myself, I tend to go quite slowly, checking each segment, so the finished draft usually calls for only minor rejigging, although sometimes I might revise/proof a draft several times to get it right. Usually, when the deadline permits, I'd say a finished draft needs what I call a "once-over" with a fresh pair of eyes - either my own, or someone else's - before delivering it.

So maybe I should really have answered "no"... but I'm feeling flexible today!

NB: (Pax Stanislaw) I never proofread source documents, although I do point out mistakes in the original to the client if I notice any while translating.



[Edited at 2012-08-15 09:23 GMT]


 

Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:44
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
The question is rather vague Aug 15, 2012

The way it is phrased suggests that it is the source document which could be potentially proofread, but from what I see some of us understand it as target document.

Cheers
S


 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:44
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Possible, maybe, but undesirable Aug 15, 2012

I wouldn't like to say it's impossible, but there are issues of flow between sentences and paragraphs, or even sections in larger texts, that I find difficult to address while translating. Additionally, proof-reading is best done with a fresh mind (I've heard that professional proof-readers at publishing houses take breaks every 20 minutes or so), which is less achievable during translation. When reading the mind has a tendency to skip words or strings of letters within words, so concentration levels need to be high for good proof-reading. I'm sure there are some translators out there who have the mental agility required to do this while translating but I certainly don't.

[Edited at 2012-08-15 09:29 GMT]


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 02:44
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Each to his/her own Aug 15, 2012

Yep, we each have our own review and proofing preferences -- even if that means patting your head and rubbing your belly while humming God Save the Queen at the same time. icon_smile.gif

Since this is all about our own, personal modus operandi...

Mine is to devote more time to scanning/proofing my initial draft as I go along so that there are (hopefully) fewer wrinkles to iron out in the final, thorough proof before delivery. This means a minimal cleanup when the clock is painfully ticking away.

So, my answer is Yes since I, in effect, proof everything twice. And, with only 12.1% of pollsters voting Yes today, I'm in the elite, it seems. icon_biggrin.gif


 

Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:44
Italian to English
+ ...
It sounds highly inadvisable Aug 15, 2012

If you don't read through the final translation as a whole, you will miss errors.

 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:44
Hebrew to English
Agree with Simon Aug 15, 2012

100%.

Humans have a great tendency not to be able to see their own failings. I couldn't proof it while still translating, there's no distance from the text whatsoever, temporal, emotional, physical etc, no detachment at all. I have to literally walk away from a text and detach myself from it completely before I can come back to it with objective eyes.

If I do pour over part of the translation again whilst still translating it I don't really consider this proofing it, just checking/re-checking.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Conventional proofreading...or not Aug 15, 2012

Thayenga wrote:

As a "general rule" the proofreading should be done after the completion of the translation.

However, sometimes when I get stuck, I start to proofread the text to clear my head. It did happen that, after proofreading the unfinished text, the term I was stuck with pretty much clarified itself.icon_smile.gif This might be a case of "Can't see the forest for all the trees"icon_biggrin.gif

[Edited at 2012-08-15 08:22 GMT]


The example above would not be proofreading but terminology research of sorts. In publishing, proofreading means checking for typos, punctuation and missing text and using the appropriate marks.

Naturally, most translators use a slightly different variation, where proofreading is a mixture of editing (i.e., checking for text integrity, stylistic issues, etc.), proper terminology use, text length (conciseness) and other elements.

This reminds me of what many translation agencies have come to call "review," a hybrid of proofreading and editing practices, just to save themselves some money.

As others have pointed out, maybe we should agree on one definition of proofreading for the next poll.

icon_smile.gif


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 02:44
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Proofreading - one definition Aug 15, 2012

Mario Chavez wrote:As others have pointed out, maybe we should agree on one definition of proofreading for the next poll.icon_smile.gif


Different clients/customers have varying expectations and quality requirements, so I suggest the following universally applicable definition:

"Doing everything that is needed to make your translation deliverable to the client while not compromising your standards and theirs."


 

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 18:44
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
No, highly undesirable Aug 15, 2012

I check as I translate but always read through at least once when "finished". This is the real proofreading for me which looks for typos, checks punctuation and terminology.

Sometimes when translating I have put several possible translations for a word or phrase so now is the time to make the final decision on which is best.

I also rephrase sentences or reposition them to achieve better flow and style.

I really can't believe that so many think it's possible to proofread when translating.


 

Andrea Munhoz  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:44
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Voted "No" Aug 15, 2012

In my experience, there's always something left behind. Or maybe, just a sentence or expression you might wanna change or improve.

In any case, why not reading the thing again?


 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:44
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
always at completion Aug 15, 2012

even if they are using another reviser.
In the case of a larger document, like the one I am doing now about 25k words, I revise as I go along, after translating a few pages. Then of course, do the whole thing and go over it several times.


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:44
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Separate processes Aug 15, 2012

I've found it impossible to adequately carry out the following two processes simultaneously:

1.
Capturing the meaning of the source text in English that doesn't read like a translation.

2.
Making sure that the flow of the text is completely natural and grammatical, and free of typographical errors.

So I see these as two separate processes, although it is also true that the better the job I do on the first, the easier things will go on the second.


 
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