Many translation companies give their customers the opportunity of having their translations proofread. Some customers always include it, others do not, but what does it really mean and how do you know if you need it?
What is additional proofreading?
Additional proofreading is carried out after your document has been translated from the source language into the target language. The first translator will always proofread their own work to make sure the translation is accurate and free from errors, but additional proofreading goes that bit further and consolidates the first review.
Importantly, additional proofreading is carried out by a second skilled translator, which brings a different perspective and a fresh pair of eyes. Whilst translators take every care to deliver translations of the highest quality, they are human and errors can happen. Furthermore, a proofreader can help to polish a document to make it more targeted to its intended audience.
Are proofreaders also translators?
In order for a proofreader to accurately review a translation, they need to have a detailed understanding of both source and target languages and have the skills and experience to render the source language into their native tongue. Typically proofreaders are very experienced translators, well rehearsed at both language translation and proofreading.
Do I need additional proofreading?
The answer to this question is simple: it depends. In some situations it is strongly recommended that additional proofreading is included as part of your translation project. For example marketing documents, brochures, websites, leaflets and press releases are often intended to increase sales and raise awareness. A highly-polished proofread translation will have been reviewed by a second translator thus ensuring it is stylistically appropriate, error-free and with maximum return on investment potential.
Conversely, in other situations it is not necessary for a document to be reviewed by an additional linguist. It is very important to stress that a translation can still be of high quality, even without additional proofreading (unless of course the original translator was bad at what they do). The initial translator will always thoroughly review their work and in many situations this is perfectly adequate. It is also worth remembering that a professional translation agency employs highly-skilled translators with formal linguistic education and many years of experience.
In summary, additional proofreading can add value to a translation but it is not always necessary. If you are unsure whether you need it for your next translation project, speak to your translation agency project manager as they will seek to understand your requirements and draw on their experience to ensure you get exactly what you need.