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Poll: Which do you prefer - translating or proofreading?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 21:44
SITE STAFF
Sep 23, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Which do you prefer - translating or proofreading?".

This poll was originally submitted by Roberto Cavalcanti. View the poll results »



 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Define proofreading Sep 23, 2013

I answered no preference, but after thinking about it a bit, I’d have to say translating, if “proofreading” means re-working a text practically from zero because some skanky smart-a** thinks they can run a text through Google and then ask for it to be “proofread” at a fraction of the cost of translating it properly from the start.

 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 07:44
Turkish to English
+ ...
Translating Sep 23, 2013

In fact, I have not offered proofreading services for some time.

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 13:44
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Preference? Sep 23, 2013

I hate proofreading fullstop! So, to me, this question is like compariing apples and oranges.

The last job I proofread, that I innocently agreed to accept as an opening gesture to get on good terms with a new customer, was a complete clustermess and just re-affirmed my utter dislike and aversion to proofreading. Very much like Dracula's fondness of crucifixes. icon_rolleyes.gif

Small edit

[Edited at 2013-09-23 13:24 GMT]


 

Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 06:44
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
other Sep 23, 2013

I like both, as it depends on the deadline and other projects. Translation takes much longer than proofreading. Sometimes clients give the option of either translating or proofreading a text. And when you have very little time, it's better to accept the proofreading.

When you proofread, you can learn something from other translators. How do they translate the term I used to translate as "xyz" etc.

I agree that you get really bad translations. I also agree that sometimes clients expect you to do a lot more than just proofreading for grammar and punctuation.

When I proofread, I used to correct grammar, punctuation AND style. Now I only correct stylistic terms if they sound too English or if the word is not typical for a certain "setting".


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:44
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No preference Sep 23, 2013

Though, it often happens, like John says, that the translation is such a nightmare (mainly thanks to Google translate) that you have to completely rewrite the whole text and almost start from scratch. I have just completed this morning one of those "marvellous" projects...

 

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 05:44
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Translating mostly... Sep 23, 2013

I've answered "translation" because it is usually better to translate from scratch rather than try to correct others' mistakes. Proofreading should be just that but rarely is. Most times it becomes copy editing.

Though I have been lucky enough to come across some very well translated work which just required a bit of "polishing". In fact, I don't like using Track changes as it makes the translator look incompetent when that is not always the case so with one agency who employs good translators I never use track changes but merely highlight any errors I find. And this type of proofing or editing is actually quite enjoyable!

[Edited at 2013-09-23 09:21 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:44
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No preference Sep 23, 2013

Either one is welcome and gets done with the appropriate attention to details.

Proofreading a "real" translation (not MT or my "beloved"icon_frown.gif Google translate) provides me, as Carmen has stated, with an insight on how colleagues translate certain terms.icon_smile.gif

Although proofreading pays but a fraction of my translating rate, I do enjoy it, not the least because it oftentimes results in an editing job (more payicon_wink.gif ). I always try to maintain a certain balance between translations and revision projects.icon_smile.gif


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:44
English to Polish
+ ...
Translating Sep 23, 2013

I don't like proofing others because they get credit while I was the person who brought their stuff into shape; I just don't have the humility to bear that. On the other hand, I don't like proofing myself because I'm simply more enthusiastic about the concept work and the ploughing-through work than about checks, controls and diligences.

This said, I used to teach languages, and sometimes this awakens me when I revise translations or even just proof them, which is good. The educational kind I take, as well as the whipping into shape of rookies, but not the standard process of making somewhat bad translations excellent.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:44
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Translation any day Sep 23, 2013

I do prefer translation but I feel that it's good to proofread other people's work from time to time. When all you do is translate, you can get into a rut, and seeing how other people go about translating can help you out of it, opening up new perspectives and discovering a slew of synonyms.

Of course, I prefer proofreading colleagues whose work I admire. I have been lucky to have the opportunity to proofread some really great translators where the main danger is being lulled into a false sense of security and failing to spot the one tiny but crucial howler (I nearly missed hog instead of log once!)


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:44
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Translating Sep 23, 2013

I definitely prefer translating as I know it is all my own work and I know where I stand. Proof-reading, though, is such a grey area and could mean just about anything. Occasionally it can be a joy, when the translation has been done well by a good translator - I might even learn a thing or two along the way. More often, though, it is easier to start from scratch and re-translate the whole thing, so I either avoid these jobs or offer to do them at translation rates.

 

pgschreier  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 06:44
German to English
I don't do any proofing Sep 23, 2013

It pays half and you end up cleaning up other people's s**t. No thanks!

 

Koshinokinsho  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:44
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Definitely translating Sep 23, 2013

I always end up proofreading the English of non-native speakers, which takes ages (admittedly not as long as translating the original) and isn't as profitable (or as satisfying) as translating text myself.

It does depend on the subject a little, though. I've recently started working freelance for a former employer and I've found the proofreading for that client not as time-consuming or as frustrating as other proofreading jobs, perhaps because I'm very familiar with the subject matter and did that kind of proofreading as part of my job there for over five years.


 

Lucy Williams  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:44
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
It depends Sep 23, 2013

I've proofread some really interesting stuff that has been produced by excellent translators, but it's awful when it's just total rubbish, I usually offer to retranslate in that case.

 

Callum Walker  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:44
Member (2010)
Russian to English
+ ...
I tend to avoid proofreading now Sep 23, 2013

I've been asked to proofread some texts which were an utter omnishambles in the past, so now (unless it's one of a few selected clients or agencies) I tend to avoid proofreading, as I'm tired of 're-translating' texts for proofreading rates!

 
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