Inaccuracies or mistakes of grammar and language in business communications are embarrassing. No matter the language, errors are unprofessional. Even in your own language, you need to proofread and edit your documents. When communicating in another language, the services are even more critical to your communications.
Even a native speaker can make errors when writing. Typos and common grammatical errors can happen in any language. When translating text into another language, or perhaps even multiple languages, a small error can turn into a glaring mistake. Editing and proofreading can help filter these mistakes and prevent them from appearing in your final drafts.
Many people use the terms “editing” and “proofreading” interchangeably but they are two separate jobs serving different functions. Particularly when discussing translation services, they are not at all the same.
Think of editing as serving the “big picture” of your text or documents. An editor will look at the overall meaning of the document and its components, the intended statements and the words used to convey them in the source language and in the translated text. He will consider and correct things like word choice and the use of jargon and technical terms. He looks to improve the clarity and consistency of the document.
If editing is looking at the big picture, then proofreading is the examination of each pixel that comprises that picture. Proofreading is the careful examination of the text for errors. Misspellings, punctuation errors, issues of verb tense, typographical mistakes, and other small but important details will be corrected by a proofreader.
Now that you know these jobs are not one in the same, you can consider who will be performing them whether you hire a translation service or have an in-house team. An editor should be fluent in both the source and target languages. He will need a thorough knowledge of both languages to ensure consistency, especially if multiple translators were used, and accuracy.
A proofreader, unlike the editor, can be monolingual. As long as the person understands the linguistic rules (like punctuation and spelling, for example) of the particular document, he can proofread it. He does not need to understand the source language, only the resulting translated document.
Both of these tasks are important to the creation of your translated documents and text. Regardless of the skill of your translator, a few tweaks and corrections may still be required to ensure the final product is as perfect as possible. When it comes to your message, no detail is too small.