Editing or proofreading – is there a difference?

The terms ‘proofreading’ and ‘editing’ are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are in fact important differences between them, as follows:

– Editing mainly focuses on making changes so that a document is structured better, easier to read and more suitable for the target audience. This will normally involve reviewing the overall structure, style, clarity, readability and style.

– Proofreading typically focuses on correcting errors in spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation and formatting. This stage normally occurs at the end of the writing process as a final step.

Why are both of these stages important?

Only by carrying out thorough editing and proofreading processes can you be sure that your final translation meets the standards you require. Errors in translation can be commercially costly, cause disastrous misunderstandings, delays and much worse – lawsuits! A simple mistake may have huge implications, which could easily be avoided by these additional steps. It’s right to be proud of what you do, so make sure that your company literature doesn’t let you down.

The services we provide at BLS

At Business Language Services, editing and proofreading are essential components of the whole translation process. With the skill of at least two linguists, not one, you can be confident that they will achieve something that no machine could ever accomplish: a quality-focused, accurate and clear translation in which you can have full confidence.

At Business Language Services, we pride ourselves on the fact that we only ever rely on human translation, and the same process applies with our editing and proofreading services. To provide that all-important failsafe, every text that we translate is, therefore, always reviewed by a second, independent linguist.

The project manager allocated to your assignment will, after the initial translation, send your work to a second linguist; we only ever use trained reviewers with knowledge and expertise in their specific language pair. This linguist will undertake a comprehensive review using the same source and reference material supplied to the initial translator. For the edit and proofreading stages, this review will typically involve the following:

  • Undertaking an assessment of the fluency and style and, in consultation with the customer, making the necessary changes
  • Checking and improving the structure, readability and clarity of the translation
  • Amending spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting mistakes

Any issues that arise during this stage are conveyed to the project manager, who liaises with the translator directly. It may at times be necessary for the translator and reviewer to exchange ideas, in which case the project manager simply facilitates this process. Only after the translation, editing and proofreading processes have been completed, and the customer has had chance to review the work, can the translated content be deemed to be a true and accurate rendition of the source document.

Revision of previously translated work

Business Language Services also offers an editing and proofreading service for documents that have been translated previously, just so that you can double-check the accuracy and authenticity of the previous translation. We are also often asked, as part of the customer’s quality control management procedures, to carry out this service after a translation has been typeset or extensively formatted, or if the translated content is for a website and has been uploaded by a third-party. These quality checks ensure that no errors have appeared after the document has left the hands of the original translator, editor and proofreader.

Monolingual editing and proofreading

At Business Language Services, we are also often asked to review English copy for many companies in different industries to ensure that it is properly edited and proofread. We are often surprised how often we read documents that haven’t been checked before being published, distributed or uploaded to a website. As a general practice at BLS, all of our own internal written material is reviewed by a second linguist for accuracy and style; it doesn’t matter how competent anyone might be at writing, a review by another linguist is always a crucial step for us.

When we are asked to undertake a monolingual review, a close collaboration is necessary between the customer and the reviewer at BLS; the goal is to provide the best possible final version of the document, and this may often involve important discussions about content, in addition to any implications of stylistic or linguistic changes. Above all, we always recognise that the customer is the real expert in the field, and experience has shown us that it is always more productive when we work closely with the customer.

For a quote on our editing and proofreading services, or to discuss your whole translation project, please call 00 (44) 2920 667 666 or email us at info@businesslanguageservices.co.uk

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