18 November 2022

Proofreading: how it works and all the benefits

Categoria: Linguistic Services

Proofreading is one of the services that is essential for a perfect translation, which is why we want to explain how it works and its benefits.

Proofreading is the checking stage that follows the translation and other revision stages relating to the content. It involves linguistic correction of the text from a formal standpoint: grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and formatting.

It is the standard itself, ISO 17100, which requires proofreading to be part of a translation agency’s work cycle. Its presence is a guarantee of the quality of the final result, so this step should not be overlooked.

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How it is performed

Proofreading is done by a translator independent of the person who produced the translation. This practice stems from an awareness that working on the same text for a long time makes it more difficult to notice typos and errors, so there is a preference for entrusting the task to someone who will reread the text with fresh eyes and will therefore be able to spot oversights more easily.

However, a proofreader’s work requires a wide range of skills. The first are purely linguistic, namely mastery of the document’s source and target languages, and possession of advanced translation skills. Although these are obvious requirements, it is always worth bearing them in mind, since it is the presence of both that distinguishes a professional translator from an amateur.

Attention to detail is another indispensable factor in proofreading. This job requires a keen eye able to detect all kinds of imperfections, from the most obvious (such as grammatical errors) to the most subtle (such as a double spaces or missing capitals).

Proofreaders must not only be equipped with these personal skills, but must also work methodically, which in this case means focusing on one problem at a time. Grammar, syntax, and punctuation… Although related, these are different areas, so ideally proofreading should involve several readings, focusing on a single aspect each time.

Such an elaborate procedure may seem more time-consuming, but in fact this method is faster than performing different types of checks in a single read. Although every job, including proofreading, seems to involve a high degree of multitasking, scientific studies show that the human brain can work more efficiently when it focuses on one task at a time. In this particular case, therefore, focusing on one language area at a time enables more rapid identification and correction of oversights and errors.

Advantages

Proofreading is not only a step required by ISO Standard 17100, but it also brings valuable benefits.

Disseminating a linguistically correct translation gives a more professional image to those who produce it. Encountering an error while reading is always unappealing, especially if the error is serious and if the document relates to a respected subject, such as finance, law, or technology. This inconvenience can be easily avoided through proofreading, which aims to deliver an error-free text.

This aspect also offers a second benefit: enhancing brand identity. Reading a flawless translation automatically generates respect for the person who produced it. Conversely, reading a document full of imperfections makes the reader think that the author is not well-versed in the subject matter, tarnishing their credibility and reputation. Errors and oversights in a document make one assume that the person who wrote it worked rapidly and carelessly, but this assumption can be immediately avoided if the text is proofread.

The third and final benefit of this service is perhaps the most tangible: an increase in customers and conversions. Let’s take the example of a billboard. A missing accent or two inverted letters could be very costly for those funding the campaign. The advertising message itself may be overshadowed by such errors, resulting in the loss of potential customers. The outcome would be similar if the error or oversight were on a landing page. Users will certainly not be encouraged to give their personal information to those who make mistakes in the call to action.

Proofreading is therefore a necessary step to achieving your goals, both in terms of customer acquisition and conversion. A professional translation agency is all that is required to achieve these results.

Way2Global is a translation agency with headquarters in Milan, Italy, and an international presence. With our three certifications (including ISO 17100), we guarantee the quality of the translations entrusted to us through a complete work cycle of proofreading and other types of checks.

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    Laura Gori is the Founder and CEO of Way2Global, a women-led translation agency startup with a Benefit ethos. After 30 years at the helm of a small multinational localization company, Laura decided to make a fresh start and founded Way2Global to conduct business in a way that benefits society and the environment, while promoting corporate growth. A fervent advocate of Benefit Corporations and women’s empowerment, Laura takes every opportunity to spread awareness on these issues and contribute to a fairer, more egalitarian and sustainable economy for all.
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