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Some Tips on Proofreading

A translation cycle is comprised of translation, editing and proofreading. As the last step, proofreading plays a vital role in quality assurance, so the proofreader should be reliable, picky and conscientious. To meet the increasingly higher requirements on high quality but fast turnover translation, the proofreaders are required to proofread above 10,000 source words per day. Along with trying to pick out the errors as many as possible in the translation, the proofreaders are also required to improve their speed to meet the deadline. To help proofreaders to fulfill their work in an efficient and effective way, there are some useful tips: 1)      Pay more attention to easily wrongly written words In Chinese characters, there are many easily wrongly written words (such as wrongly written 作朋友 for 做朋友), and we are likely to make such mistakes, especially when doing a rush work. So the proofreaders shall open their eyes wide to pick out and correct them. 2)      Check whether the punctuation marks are correct When proofreading, the punctuation marks are another main aspect the proofreaders need to check. The proofreaders shall check for the type and position of punctuation marks, as well as for completeness when the punctuation marks come in pair (such as “”, 《》). For example, the quotation marks are composed of two parts, i.e. “ and ”, but if one is missing, the proofreader shall add the missing one accordingly. 3)      Pay more attention to those mistakes that the editor tends to easily overlook in the document The editor tends to easily ignore checking the number, time, data, currency unit, measurement unit, geographical name, telephone number and other proper nouns while focusing on correcting the misunderstanding errors in the document. In their opinion, it requires few or even no technical skills when translating the said data, and sometimes what the translator needs to do is just to copy the source text into the translation line. However, the fact is that those data are rather error-prone. Once an error occurs in those data, the error will be major or critical one, resulting in client’s complaint, financial loss or even legal case. Fuzzy matches are text segments that do not perfectly match the previously translated segments in the translation memory. For Trados, a fuzzy match translation will be automatically populated into the translation line, with the unmatched text highlighted. For seeking for high output, some translators are likely to directly jump to the next segment without carefully checking the variations and making the corrections accordingly. 4)      Carefully check those sentences containing the word “not” or negative words with negative prefixes If the meaning between the source text and translation is contrary, the error is undoubtedly a critical one. So the proofreaders shall pay more attention to those negative sentences which contain the word “not” or negative words with negative prefixes including un-, dis-, mis-, in-, il-, im-, ir-, un-, non-, etc. 5)      Pay more attention to similar looking words Similar looking words are characters that look similar. They are easily confused with each other, but their pronunciations and meanings are very different. For example, “update” is easily confused with “upgrade”, “date” with “data”, “import” with “export”, and more. The proofreaders shall carefully check those words during proofreading. 6)      Doing a thorough check When a translation seems to be of good quality, never attempt to delivery the job without checking it thoroughly, because every man is liable to error. You need do a thorough check for any potential error. 7)      Avoid any unnecessary subjective corrections Translation could be very subjective. One sentence can be translated into this way or another and different translators have different styles of their own. Avoid any unnecessary subjective corrections unless your correction can really enhance the quality of the document. 8)      Be open to learn from others Proofreading is a great opportunity to learn from others. For example, you may always translate one term in a particular way. Through proofreading the other translator’s translation, you may find another expression in a different or even better way. In other hand, you can also avoid repeating their mistakes. In a word, proofreading is a key process to correct any existing errors made by other translators, as well as a great chance for you to improve your skills and build on your experience.

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