Translations are a language’s conversion to another language. In the process, editing plays an important role. Translation editing requires refined work, skill, and knowledge, and skilled editors must pay attention to many variables to bring the text they have to perfection. Style and readability are critical to the quality of the end product.
Sometimes, regardless of their knowledge and experience, translators will still lose sight of small details. The job of an editor and proofreader is to ensure that the small mistakes are fixed. Their job is to enhance the final product and deliver a polished translation.
What does a translation editor do?
Many think of the editing process as the “big picture process.” And to get a better overview of the translated piece, editors generally look for the following:
In the process, editors guide their work based on the answers to a series of questions:
- Does the translation preserve the meaning of the original text?
- Will the target audience understand the terminology and style?
- Is the text consistent?
Paying attention to those details is the cornerstone of impeccable translations. Especially in bigger translation agencies, where multiple translators work on a single text, editors work to ensure the translation’s consistency.
Core values of translation editing
A stellar translation editor has a series of characteristics that allow them to deliver impeccable services.
- A good editor is an editor with a perfect understanding of the source and translated language. Editing goes beyond fixing spelling and grammatical errors. It touches sensitive aspects like meaning, accuracy, and consistency. Without a proper understanding of both languages, editors can’t ensure a high standard of the text.
- Translation editors do more than comparing the two texts; they must be able to multitask. They pay attention if there are any stylistic or paraphrasing issues and dissonances between languages, punctuation, spelling, and more.
- Concentration makes a difference in this type of work. The team at The Word Point, a professional translation and editing agency, says the ability to remain focused for hours is a basic demand of their job. Translation editors have to correct errors that are usually overlooked and missed by the translator. Usually, these errors are of finesse.
- Attention to detail is paramount. The very essence of professional translation editing services is attention to context, meaning, and essence details. When editors overlook a minor translation issue, the results can be dramatic. It can change completely the meaning of the translation.
Different types of translations need different types of editors
Just as literature translations are not the same as legal or technical translations, translation editing also comes in different shapes and forms. For example, translation editors for legal translations need a good understanding of the terminology of both the source and converted text. There are multiple types of translations, and each of them requires experienced editors working on polishing the converted text.
- Science translations: Because science translations deal with translating research papers, theses, and articles in the field, the translation editors need a good understanding of the domain, terminology, and processes described by the paper.
- Technical translations: These translation services are very targeted and are focused on translating user manuals, financial reports, and administrative paperwork. In this case, translation editors with experience in the field are more valuable.
- Financial translations: As a financial translation editor, you must have a perfect understanding of the financial environment, terms, and definitions. This helps you ensure that you don’t miss important aspects of the overall meaning of the text.
- Legal translations: As a legal translation editor, you should have previous interactions with legal documents such as summonses and warrants in both the language of origin and conversion language.
- Judicial translations: These translations are focused on depositions, judgments, minutes proceedings and so on. Judicial translation editors should have a degree or deep knowledge of the judicial field.
- Literary translations: These may be the most difficult type of translations to edit. First, the editor must fully understand the semantics of the original text to make sure the translator transposes it in the conversion language with accuracy. But they should also pay attention to other details such as polysemic words, the author’s style, the translator’s style and if it matches with the author’s, and the rhythm of both texts.
Editing plays a huge role in the translation process. To preserve the characteristics, meaning, and essence of the original text, translating editors have to work for years to master all these aspects.
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