Professional Translation Services | To Proof or Not to Proof

Affinity Translation’s standard policy is to provide post-translation editing/proofing by a second translator for all projects. Sometimes we make exceptions to this policy, with the client’s knowledge and approval. When exceptions are made it’s usually for reasons including:

1) Budget limitations. The client has a tight budget and is willing to go without post-translation proofing by a second translator to save money. In cases like this we advise the client that at least statistically, there is a higher possibility that an undetected error will occur. This can be an acceptable approach when the client has in-house language expertise and can proof the project themselves.

The tolerance for error in the project is also a factor, i.e., what are the implications if a translation error should occur? In cases where error tolerance is more lenient then saving the additional expense of proofing by a second translator might be considered acceptable. There are levels of service that exist in most commercial products available in other industries, and these service levels correlate with pricing. The same arguably applies with translation.

2) Specialized subject matter. When translation source material is of a highly specialized nature then giving authority to a second translator to edit the initial translation carries some risks. The knowledge of the specialized field may not be equivalent in both the first translator and the editing/proofing second translator. In such cases it might not be desirable to give the second translator complete authority on making changes. Alternatively the second translator might have a limited instruction, e.g., editing only typos, punctuation, etc. and do not change word choices without consultation.

In cases where highly specialized knowledge by the translator is necessary then it can be preferable for the specialist translator to proof their own work, perhaps with a day’s separation between translation and proofing. Using this approach can be acceptable, and perhaps the best approach for some projects.