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The revision of translations
12 February 2019

The revision of translations: that great stranger (II)

Types of revision and profiles of reviewer

All reviewer is (or he has been) translator: correct. All translator is good reviewer: incorrect. All reviewer is good translator: incorrect.

At first sight, it is possible to be thought about a profile of standard reviewer: translator with experience and linguistic expert in its mother tongue, great capacity of retail, methodical attention, high capacity of concentration, etc.

In addition to this profile of experienced reviewer, we were with a totally opposite profile: translators novate without low experience and tariffs to them that the translation agencies use as reviewers. It is this practice very extended and shows the importance (or absence of her) that, sometimes, one occurs to the revision process.

The majority of the translation agencies has reviewers in its network of contacts, not in group. The great multinational companies can only be allowed the luxury to have reviewers (publishers or correctors) in their offices.

The explained thing in the previous paragraphs corresponds to a part of the reality in the sector. Next, we indicated the other part, extended and utopianer less.

Although linguists exist that speaks of up to four types of revision (based on the parameters which they are due to consider), basing us on the real practices, we can speak of two types clearly differentiated:

The revision of the content, in which the emphasis is put in trying to guarantee the correct translation of the content. This type of revision corresponds normally with specialized texts (medicine, engineering), where the participation of an expert in the matter is necessary. Thus, we will speak here of a thematic reviewer.

The linguistic revision, in which the emphasis is put in trying to guarantee all the aspects related to the use of the language. This type of revision corresponds normally with texts of general character where a specialized knowledge of the subject is not necessary. Thus, we will speak here of a linguistic reviewer.

They don't exist revisory with a double profile? Yes, few and very asked for. What happens in the reality?

  • The nonrecommendable thing: The revision realises it a nonexpert translator in the subject that treats the document and that, nevertheless, can count on deep linguistic knowledge of its native language. Result: quality in the writing of the translated text and high probability of errors of content and terminology.
  • The usual thing: The revision realises it an expert professional in the matter (a doctor or an engineer, for example) without the suitable linguistic knowledge, or a nonexpert translator in the matter. Result: based on the profile of employed reviewer, the quality of the translation will be seen reduces in the aspects regarding the content or those merely linguistic.
  • The ideal: The revision realises it a professional of double, expert profile in the field and with high linguistic knowledge. Result: maximum quality.

It is necessary to remember that the phase of revision it must follow the one of correction, in which the possible linguistic errors must be corrected (or improve). An extended alternative consists of realising a thematic revision and a linguistic correction.

The alternatives are many and will depend on factors as the resources available, the requirements of the client, the terms, the budget, etc. Some agencies prefer the sequence translator-reviewer thematic linguistic-corrector, whereas others prefer the one of translator-reviewer linguistic thematic-corrector.

Degrees of revision

When by reasons for term, budget, etc., the complete phase of revision cannot be taken to end, the agency can obvious decide on several alternatives, assuming great risks:

  • Complete reading of the translated text: this way it is possible completely to be guaranteed the fluidity and correction of the translated text, but it is guaranteed that translation errors are detected, omissions, etc.  
  • Partial revision: or reviewing a part of the translated text (samples) or concentrating only in the part of the content (thematic revision) or in the linguistic part (linguistic revision).

Conclusions

Since we have shown in the article, the great ignorance of the practice of the revision between the actors exists who take part in the sector of the translation.

Through these lines we have tried to shed a little light on the importance of this phase to guarantee the quality in the translations, especially in projects of translation of great volume.

The implementation of the phase of revision, in addition to the one of correction, will depend on many factors, among them: the availability of professionals preparations, the requirements of the client, the order of translation, the terms and the budget.  Also, an enormous diversity concerning the systems of quality exists used by the translation agencies.

From here, we defend and we supported the use of the phase of revision as inherent part of the translation process, without losing of view the specific requirements of each client or project.