In writing and translating, it is vital to edit and proofread the document before submission. It is a mark of professionalism. Editing and proofreading are parts of the quality control process, ensuring that the document does not have mistakes in punctuation and grammar, misspellings, and errors in names, dates, addresses, and numbers.
Are proofreading and editing the same?
Proofreading and editing are part of the editing process. But editing and proofreading are different stages in checking the translation work for errors. These stages are done once the translator has finished writing the first draft. One thing to keep in mind is that editing is the first step. Once you have edited the document, the proofreader does the final check.
The editor corrects the issues at the writing’s core, such as language clarity and sentence construction. Editing helps improve the clarity, tone, and readability of the translated text. The editor’s job is to ensure there is a smooth narration in the writing.
What the proofreader does is surface-level checking. The person looks for numerical, textual, and other inconsistencies in the text, as well as missed or incorrect punctuation and misspellings.
How to edit content effectively
Within a professional translation company, a translation project is assigned to a project manager, who forms a team with a translator (or more depending on the job’s size), an editor, and a proofreader. The team members are briefed about the project. While the translator does minor editing of their translation work, they will give the finished first draft to the editor.
If you want to learn the work of a content editor and do the work effectively, here are some vital things you should do.
Upon receipt of the document, the editor’s first task is to reread the draft. This step checks if the document is well-organized, and there are smooth transitions between paragraphs. The editing process can be done at different levels, as follows:
The editor checks if the writer has done everything that is required. You have to make sure that the claims are accurate. If there is an argument, check if it is complete, and the claims are consistent. Enough evidence should support each point. Likewise, the information included in the text should be relevant to the purpose of the writing.
You should check if the document has a suitable introduction and conclusion. See if the intent of the document is clearly mentioned in the introduction and that each paragraph is related to the topic and arranged in the right sequence, and the transitions between paragraphs are clear.
There should be a definite structure within paragraphs, with each one having a topic sentence clearly stated. Each paragraph should have one primary idea, so check if there are missing, or extraneous sentences in each one.
Each vital term should be clear. Every sentence should have a clear meaning. You should also check that that pronouns refer to something, and the writer used the right words to convey the ideas. It is better to use simple words with clear meanings, which are easier to understand than profound words that only a few people know.
See if the document maintains the right tone — persuasive, informal, formal, etc. and the use of gendered language such a feminine and masculine pronouns are correct. Sentences should vary in length. The writer should use active voice as often as possible. Further, check for unnecessary phrases that only make the sentence longer.
You should check if the citations are appropriate, and used correctly.
How to effectively proofread content
You only proofread after all the editing revisions are accomplished. Proofreading is the last look over the document, to check for details that the editor missed. The process polishes the document further to improve its quality.
- While you may use a spelling checker, keep in mind that it has a limited dictionary, thus it can fail to catch some words that are misspelt. You should read the document to know the correlation between each word.
- A grammar checker has limited rules and cannot identify other grammar errors. They will not give you the full explanation as to why you should revise a sentence. You should use your training and skills to be an effective proofreader.
- Be systematic and concentrate on one kind of mistake at a time. It is more effective to focus on one thing first. So, if you are checking spelling errors, check the entire document for this error, before moving on to punctuations and other issues, so that you can spot each one better.
- Read every word slowly. You’ll be more effective in your proofreading task when you read the sentences aloud. It makes you say each work and hear how the combination of the words sounds. Reading slowly allows you to discover an error and avoid the chances of unconsciously correcting it.
- Separate the paragraphs into individual sentences. This technique helps you to read each sentence carefully so that you can easily look for spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors.
- Encircle each punctuation mark. The technique helps you distinguish whether the punctuation is correct.
- One effective way to check spelling errors is to read the document backwards. This means starting at the last word of the last page and reading backwards until you reach the document’s first sentence. You will be forced to read each word separately without focusing on punctuation.
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