The art of editing is not just confined to improve the technicalities of language (grammar, punctuation, syntax, and so forth) but also to improve the coherence and impact of the text itself. This latter aspect of editing is quite subjective and takes on its own nuances.


The situation becomes even more complex when translation enters the mix. 


As the English language is becoming more and more relevant as the emerging ‘lingua franca’, local businesses and organizations find themselves having a requirement of translation texts into English to increase their global reach. 


So, what goes into editing a document that has been translated into English from another language? What are the considerations to be made while working on such a document? It’s these sorts of questions that we will be exploring in this article today. 


When does the translation happen? 

A document should go through a round of editing it its native language. It’s advised that this round of editing and proofreading take place before the translation so that there are no inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the original text. 


How does the translation happen? 

Translating any document has a two-pronged approach. You can enlist the help of a professional translator or you can opt for a translation software. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks: a software translator can give you quick results, but it may not account for local or nuanced context, whereas a human translator can be more meticulous about the translation itself, but at the cost of a slower turnaround time. 

So employing both methods in measure could give you a swift and cost-effective solution. 


With that said, machine translators are becoming increasingly advanced in recognizing context and can produce a readable translation in less amount of time. 


Post-editing the translated document 


Post-editing is the act of making a document (usually machine-translated) more readable and accurate in the translated language. This is often dependent on the quality of the source text, the accuracy of the translator, and the target audience intended for the text. 


At PaperTrue, we use three rounds of editing for any document: 

  1. Proofreading for technical and syntactical errors, 
  2. Copy-editing for clarity and coherence 
  3. An in-depth round of editing for overall readability and clarity. 


Depending on the quality of the translated documents, the same parameters are applied to make the text impactful and accurate. 


If the quality of the text is already coherent, then the editor simply focusses on grammar and lexical coherence to make it sound like it was written in native English. If the crux and the core ideas of the document already translate well, then no further steps are required. 


However, if the translated text doesn’t convey its core ideas properly in English, additional steps have to be considered in finding equivalent expressions, idioms and ideas in the original language.