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December 7, 2020By legaltranslationsTranslations Tips

Some Ideas for Proofreading a Translation

Proofreading is an integral part of any freshly written text including translations. A proof-reader’s job is to locate and correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. This ensures that the reader that s/he is getting the best exposure to a translated text. Even if the translated text seems to be correct grammatically proofreader could still make some adjustments which improve the text’s flow and therefore the quality of the document.

Here are some straight forwards tips on the right way to proofread a translated text.


    1. Always make sure any revisions consider the broader features of the text. You shouldn’t be too quick to make corrections at the word and sentence level if the overall focus of the translation still needs to be improved. As you study the sentences make sure the theme flows throughout the text
    2. Don’t make corrections if they are not really required. Proofreading doesn’t always mean corrections are required. Just rewording a part of a sentence for the sake of it is a waste of time.
    3. As you work progressively through the translation if it is a long job you will lose concentration if you don’t take a break. Anybody who knows how to proofread a document well will know that it is stressful sitting in one place and concentrating for a long period of time.
    4. When proofreading a translation most proofreaders find that many words can be translated in several different ways so that makes some proofreading quite difficult. However, it is essential that the proofreader checks the words first to ensure the right meaning comes out in the translation and in the right context.
    5. Reading out loud is a technique that is useful when proofreading as it helps to pick up the occasional mistake in word usage in the translation.
    6. A better proofreading job is done if a printout of the translation is used instead of a computer. This will enable the use of “blank paper techniques.” This is when the proofreader tends to skip ahead while missing mistakes but can avoid this by using a blank piece of paper which conceals the line below while the proofreader is reading the line above.
    7. Using software to polish up text and eliminate all minor errors that could be missed. There are many of these tools available online which are free to use and can detect spelling or punctuation errors.

    It is important to get a professional proofreader to proofread any translated text as the translator when going over the final translation may not be able to see his/her mistakes as easily as the fresh pair of eyes of a proofreader. The person chosen to proofread a translated text should be able to read it from the perspective of the person who is expected to make use of the translation.


    • Look out for inconsistencies in formatting and style like font size or type.
    • Take breaks frequently so that concentration is not lost.
    • Read the translated text out loud because this might help in the spotting of poor grammar.
    • Read one line at a time and use a ruler to help guide you from skimming through the text.
    • Leave the translated text for several hours at least, so that you view the text with a new perspective.
    • Get another person to do a final proof of your own work.
    • Avoid distractions. Find a quiet spot to do it.
    • Always do final proofreading on the hard copy. Have you noticed how some typos, grammatical and spelling errors can only be picked up when printed? It is much harder to proofread on the screen.


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