What’s the difference between editing and proofreading? And translating for that matter?

There are various levels of “perfection” between the processes of translating, editing and proofreading.

The client who understands the differences will be the client who is satisfied with the product he receives.

A document that is translated is NEVER ready to go directly from the translator to the publisher, and woe to he that believes so. It is virtually impossible for a translator to edit his own work, because translating is, for all intents and purposes, writing. No writer can edit his own work. Of course, the translator strives to deliver a perfect document, but don’t count on it!

The next stage is editing, where the foremost job is to make sure that the writer’s prose is flowing and coherent, and may often include suggestions regarding changes in the content or order of the text. The editor looks for errors in logic or holes in the story that the writer may not have realized exist. Additionally, grammar is checked, style sheets are produced (addressing style issues such as serial commas, spellings of unconventional or foreign words), spelling of names and places are checked, and data is confirmed for accuracy (were thermoses actually used in 1829?), styles of heading levels are determined and much more. Furthermore, the editors job is

This is usually done on the manuscript using track changes.

Finally, proofreading is usually to check for typographical errors. In “old times” proofreading was actually done on a proof of the printed document (hence the name) using all those funny squiggly marks. Today it may be done on a pdf file.

For a full explanation of the differences between editing and proofreading, please go here to Daily Writing Tips. 


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