Translation Corner: 7 tips for effective self-review
A first-draft translation cannot make a perfect translation. There certainly will have a number of errors, which can be typos, mistranslation, over-translation, etc. Finding errors in other translator’s work is easy, but finding errors in your own translation is a different matter. As you translate the text yourself, you are likely to miss an error by oversight. Thus, peer-review is also a required step in ISO 17100. However, your peers may not always available to help you perform peer-review. Here are some practical tips that help you conduct self-review more effectively.
As a natural mechanism, the details about the translation you just finished are remained in your brain for a while. This blocks you from closely review what you have translated, even when you really want to do so. Waiting for exactly 24 hours isn’t always feasible, but if time allows it’s a good idea to take a nap and start proofreading then.
Print it out
This is a technique preferred by many translators, as printed texts are more friendly to your eyes. A print will help you easily detect errors such as typos and numbering. Your eyes are much more relaxed when looking at a paper than at a computer screen. And your view is also not affected by mouse scrolling. The only problem of this tip is that printing may be expensive if you do not have your own printer (at office or at home). Not to mention that the use of papers may be not environmentally friendly. For such reasons, you should only consider printing for quality-critical projects, e.g. medical research papers where 1 number error can cause one’s death, or when you are specifically requested to do so by your Clients.
This tip can help when you do not have a printer but still having to conduct a extensive self-review. By using a text-to-speech tool, you can greatly focus on the translation while leaving the source for the speech engine. Effectiveness is much increased as you do not have to look both at the source and then the translation. A lot of text-to-speech tools are available today. You can try Google Docs, which supports multiple languages and multipage documents.
Try different font types
This can hardly a tip, you can think so. But believe me, it is just simple but effective. You may probably be familiar with typical fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial. As mentioned in Tip No. 1, the main goal of an effective technique for self-review is to remove your brain’s impression for your own translation. A font change can also help bringing this effect. Furthermore, a proper font may help you distinguish between similar characters, such as I (capitalized “i”) and l (normal “L”), which may cause confusing in certain cases.
The ultimate goal of self-review is to identify hidden errors in your translation and correct them all (if possible). You may choose to apply one of the above techniques depending on your need or combine 2 or more. Reading and reading again without looking at the source text also can help, not only to find the errors, but also your use of language and style. It is still the result that matters.