|Article Title: The Importance of Proofreading|
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Proofreading is a frequently overlooked aspect of writing and translating content. Not to be confused with editing, proofreading is the process of reviewing your work for spelling, grammar, punctuation and format errors. Many people will work for hours writing a long document, and then briefly glance at it hoping to catch obvious mistakes. As professional translators we can’t afford to make that mistake. There is nothing worse than sending a document to a client and realizing that it contained mistakes, or worse, having the client return it for that reason.
To successfully proofread your work, take your time and have a well laid out plan. Before proofreading a document you’ve just translated, take a break for at least 30 minutes. This allows you to have a fresh perspective. Break up your proofreading tasks into more than one proofreading session in which you check for spelling, grammar, formatting, etc., separately.
Depending on the elements contained in the document there are several things you want to check for:
Table of Contents:
• Titles should be translated consistently in the document and table of contents.
• Page numbers should match.
• Check for missing titles or sections.
• The format should be consistent with the source document.
• The numbering system should be consistent.
• Compare with the source document for skipped items.
While checking that the source document is accurately translated, check that the target language document flows well, and doesn't read like a translation. It’s also important to keep terminology in mind. Unfamiliar words that were translated should be double checked for correct spelling and use. Check for term consistency, particularly frequently used technical terms or phrases. When proofreading for spelling keep in mind that while tools such as a spell check can be useful, they have limitations. For example a spellchecker can’t catch if you wrote “meat” instead of “meet”.
Finally, check the document’s formatting. This involves checking the general appearance of the document such as spacing, fonts and ensuring tabs are consistent from one page to another. There are features in word processing programs that you can take advantage of to check the format of a document. Most have settings to place tabs for the entire page or document, and many other properties can be set using a user-defined style.
Proofreading does take time, but as you develop a routine it will go faster. You’ll notice there are certain mistakes you tend to make more frequently, those are your weak points. Make sure you get to know and keep an eye out for them while proofreading. The time taken to proofread is well worth it when you’ve delivered a quality translation to your client.