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The revision of translations
04 February 2019

The revision of translations: that great stranger

The objective of this series of articles is to shed a little light on a task so unknown as essential within the process of work of a translation project: the revision. One is an ambiguous and surprising indefinite term even for the professionals of the sector.


Definition of the term revision


Of brief form, with revision (in English: editing, checking or reviewing) make reference to the phase of the translation process in which the errors are corrected and/or the quality of the translation improves, comparing the original text with the text puts. This phase is realised by a professional different from whom takes care of the translation. On the contrary, in the phase of correction (in English: proofreading), denominated €revision uniling¼e€ by Horguelin and Brunette in its Pratique book of the revision (1998), reviews the text translated without comparing at no moment the translation with the original text.

No of these two concepts must be confused with the €autorrevisi³n€ (of which our companion Isabel Cutillas in the revision speaks: yang of the translation), that corresponds with the forced task that each translator must realise after his own translations.

The general sequence is or would have to be: translation, revision and correction.

Once known the concepts, we asked ourselves: Is the revision of the translation a complementary service offered by the companies as added value to the product? Or it is an inherent part of the translation?


Paper of the revision in the quality processes


The paper of the revision as standard procedure to guarantee the quality in the translation processes is doubtless.

Nevertheless, its importance varies according to what quality system is. In some cases (for example, the German norm 2345 DIN or SMOOTH norm QA Model), its use is obligatory within the quality process. In others (for example, the Center of Translation of the Organs of the EU), it is not it always.

Other procedures exist to guarantee the quality of the translation. The most used they are: the partial revision (revision of at random selected samples) and the complete reading of the translated text. Without a doubt, the revision offers the best reduction and quality assurances of risks.


Phases of the revision process


In all process of translation a revision order must exist in which the instructions settle down that the reviewer must follow at any moment (type and degree of revision, parameters, etc.). This order does not respond to a standard typology, but it varies enormously according to the case.

Before coming with the revision in himself, it is essential to realise a partial reading of the translation to know relevance and yield to take it to end. In case of not being profitable (by the low quality of the translation), it would be necessary to retraducir the original text.

Once it is decided to realise the revision, this would have to include the following tasks, at least:

Revision of the content: with the help of the TAO programs (computer-assisted translation), the reviewer must guarantee the correct translation of all the content. He must make sure that his changes or improvements they respond to the instructions of the revision order at any moment.

Terminological homogenization: since in many cases the translation has been realised by several translators simultaneously, the reviewer will have to take to end the terminological homogenization, in strict fulfillment of the order of revision and the possible glossaries, guides of style or any other indicated reference material in the order. This task sometimes is relegated to the phase following of correction.

Final reading of verification: after the revision and the terminological homogenization, the reviewer will have to realise (preferably on paper) a final reading of the translated text to guarantee the correct fluidity in the writing. This task sometimes is relegated to the phase following of correction.  

We did not include here those basic tasks that the reviewer must realise: orthographic correction, of double spaces, etc., as well as the use of any other computer science tool that could be of help in the revision.

The objective of the revision must be to correct the errors. If the number of errors is too high or the reviewer is too much €bold€, the revision happens to become €retraducci³n€, which implies more time, more work and more money, as much for the agency of translation as for the client.