editing of technical documents - is there a definition?
Thread poster: Ildiko Santana

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:54
Member (2002)
Hungarian to English
+ ...

Aug 5, 2002

I would be grateful if someone could explain what exactly is meant by \"editing\" in the context of a technical document (e.g. users manual) or point to a URL where this is outlined. Is there a definition at all or is it perhaps subject to the agreement of the client/editor?




Cecilia Vela Segovia-Frund, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:54
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
Consistent & accurate Aug 5, 2002

Besides the regular editing considerations(grammar, style, syntax, semantics, even typos)I believe it is important to assure:

Consistency: one term in source text should have ONLY one corresponding term in target text when it is used in the same context. This is the most important rule for technical texts.

Accuracy: vagueness should be rectified.

Cultural considerations: for instance, in the case of user manuals, English tends to repeat words and to state the obvious (the insurance market is frequently involved in such understatements). A literal translation may be annoying for other cultures. You will have to adapt it if the translator has not done it.

Coherence: the way selected to address the user, the structure of the elements in a list (\"bullets\" beginning with infinitive verbs, for instance) should keep their coherence through the target text.

Finally, you shall arrive to an idiomatic translation that will not sound \"foreign\" to the end user.


Cecilia Frund

Eng>Spa ATA accredited & degreed translator


Lia Fail (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
URLs Aug 5, 2002



How to Proofread and Edit Your Writing

A Guide for Student Writers



Some refs from:


Hope these help.


Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:54
Member (2002)
Hungarian to English
+ ...

thank you Cecilia, Aug 5, 2002

you tackle some valid points, however, the majority of these guidelines apply to existing translations, hence the improvements you suggest here fall more likely in the proof-reading category.

What if the client asked for the editing first, and only then for the translation?... Is it possible that the client had no idea what s/he was talking about?? icon_wink.gif


Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:54
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
proofreading vs editing Aug 6, 2002

In my experience there is no clear-cut distinction between these two concepts. Strictly speaking, proofreading may mean the correction of typos, wording, spelling mistakes. In broader terms, editing may mean what was described above.

I tend to beleive that most translation agencies use these two phrases interchangeably.


Maria Eugenia Farre  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:54
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Editing, proofing, quality assurance and client review Aug 6, 2002

Hi there,

In my experience, editing usually refers to a complete review of the translation, achieved by side by side comparison of source and target texts. When working as an editor you pick at everything the previous posters have mentioned: consistency, grammar, typos, compliance with agency-provided style manuals, and also improve on readability to make the translation more fluent. This often involves rephrasing of sentences.

Proofreading is usually done after editing and doesn\'t always include rephrasing of sentences and side by side comparison. When proofreading the idea is to read the target text and keep your eyes peeled to spot minor mistakes, layout problems and other issues that may have been overlooked during the editing phase. If the editing was performed by a good professional, you will only need to spot check against the source text if your antenna picks something strange in the target text. You\'d be better off not changing any terminology at the proofreading stage because the later you introduce terminology changes, the higher the probability of introducing inconsistencies in relation to other pieces of your project.

In some cases, the edited and proofread target text will still undergo quality assurance at the agency (usually performed by in-house linguists and/or techie people to ensure technical and linguistic integrity) and then client review. After client review, there may be requests for changes in terminology or other issues, which are then resubmitted to the translator for approval and surgically inserted into the proofread text.

This is usually the workflow at most of the agencies I work with.



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-08-06 13:14 ]


Local time: 05:54
German to English
+ ...
Definitions from book on revising and editing Sep 3, 2002

Hi there,

Brian Mossop defines editing and proofreading as follows in \"Revising and Editing for Translators\" (2001):

Editing: The process of checking a non-translational text for error and making appropriate amendments, with special attention to making the text suitable for its readers and intended use.


(1) In editing, comparison of the printer\'s proof with the manuscript.

(2) In revision, somteimes used as a synonym for unilingual re-reading, especially when this is limited to corrections (i.e. no improvements are made).

Good night,



Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:54
German to English
+ ...
Ildiko, Sep 8, 2002

Are you saying that the client wants you to edit the source language document before it\'s translated?? I don\'t think that\'s a translator\'s job.



Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:54
English to German
+ ...
Editing before translating: Dec 3, 2005

Dear ildiko,

Here are my thoughts on this.
I think # 2 below might apply to your questions.

1. It is possible that a client is looking for a person who can edit a (previously translated) text in the sense that its understanding by the readers is improved, or, would like the format of the text to be improved - meaning the layout (especially important for texts that are published on the web, and for texts including graphs or pictures).
The first task would also fall under the category "proofreading" and could be done by a translator, if the text has previously been translated from another language. The second task would fall into the category "editing" whereby the "editor" would change the layout of, for example, the webpage or website (or file). This task is probably best carried out by a web designer, or, a translator who also has experience in designing websites/desktop publishing, especially, as I mentioned above, if the text has previously been translated.
The client might look for both, a checking of the translation, and an improvement of the layout.

2. A client might ask to first "edit" an original text (webpage/website/file) to improve the layout or to "create" a great looking webpage/website/file from an original text file. Such a client might have an international audience/appeal in mind. The client might target several other cultures and will ask to also translate the webpage/website/file. Many translators do have experience in designing webpages/websites/files, and if the client has a future translation in mind, a translator with that experience(= guarantees understanding (text) and appeal (layout)in both or more cultures) might be the best person for the job.

In any case, I would always try to find out exactly what the client wants. It never hurts to ask.


Bernhard Sulzer

ildiko wrote:

you tackle some valid points, however, the majority of these guidelines apply to existing translations, hence the improvements you suggest here fall more likely in the proof-reading category.

What if the client asked for the editing first, and only then for the translation?... Is it possible that the client had no idea what s/he was talking about??icon_wink.gif


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