How to Easily Spot Typos and Other Errors in Your Translation

spot your mistakes when proofreadingTranslation, aside from dealing with source and target languages, involves a lot of writing. And speaking of writing, it cannot be helped that there will be some typo errors, grammatical errors and other writing errors that can happen. That is all right, since these errors can be remedied through editing and proofreading. While editing and proofreading your work require patience and test your writing skills, these are necessary to prevent mistakes. The latter processes ensure that the final translation you deliver to your client is of the highest quality and proof of your skills as a top-caliber translator.

The two tasks, proofreading and editing, are both crucial in coming up with high quality translation work. Editing comes before proofreading. Editing is focused on the construction of the content. Proofreading is concentrated on the language, layout and the details of the content. It is concerned with spelling, typography, grammar, use of language, punctuation, and format and style. As you are so used to your own work, you tend to breeze through the editing and proofreading, which could leave room for errors. Make your translation work error free by learning how to spot those errors effectively.

Here are some tips:

  • Read your finished work aloud. This is one of the most effective ways to spot mistakes in grammar and spelling. It also aids you in checking the sentence flow. Just remember that you have to read the content slowly.
  • While you are used to editing your translation work from the beginning sentence down to the last word on the page, it could be quite helpful to do it in the reverse. Start editing from the bottom of the page and work your way up. This method allows you to focus on the words individually instead of looking at the sentences as a whole.
  • Do not rely on a spellchecker. While a spellchecker can be useful for checking the spelling of some common words, it oftentimes flag only those words that it fails to recognize.  For one thing, most spellcheckers recognize American English spellings unless you have already taught it to recognize foreign words and alternative spellings. Some of the typo errors occur because the spellchecker will not make any distinction among genuine words thus it fails to check the syntax. For it, the words two, too and to are acceptable but one of these may not be the word you want to use in the content.
  • Microsoft Word had a built in grammar checker which you can customize. Use it regularly although just like the spell checker, manually checking the grammar is still the best method.
  • Wait a few hours or even days, if time permits, before you do the proofreading. If you proofread your work right after you have finished writing it, chances are you will only skim through the whole piece. This is because the content is still fresh in your mind so you will not focus on the words but on the sentences.
  • Make sure that you double check the facts, such as events, names and dates.
  • Most writers (translators are writers as well) believe that it is best to know the typo errors they constantly commit. When you are aware of them, you would be inclined to be more careful in typing them.


DayTranslations-logoThis is a guest blog from Day Translations, a translations and interpreting services provider with headquarters in Tampa, Florida, and offices worldwide. Our team of experienced and devoted translators and interpreters are available 24/7 and ready to deliver accurate, perfect and timely translations and interpretations in any language pair in the world.

5 thoughts on “How to Easily Spot Typos and Other Errors in Your Translation”

  1. Good tips, and there is at least one more. Have somebody (or something) read the source text aloud while you follow reading the target. An acquaintance told me that he and his partner do this for critical translations. They even do it when they are in separate countries, thanks to tools such as Skype, Vonage, Messenger …

    A variation is to have the machine “read” to you. Two weeks ago I tried this for the first time, and it worked amazingly well. Other apps are available, but Voxdox for Android was my choice. And its “speaker” for Latin American Spanish was realistic and pleasant enough to listen to all day, much better than any computer-synthesized English I ever heard.

    It works by sending the text over the Internet to its own servers and receiving an audio file in return. So privacy should be a concern. (My trial consisted of a manual that is available online and mentions no names of companies, products, services, or individuals.) By the way, that is how Apple’s Siri and other online voice recognition tools work.

    Other downsides? None. The program is free, supported by inobtrusive ads. Best feature: it just works, letting you focus on the task. You read just one screen, or paper; no more darting back and forth. I can start and stop the playback with the little finger on my left hand, with my tablet next to the desktop keyboard. The voice stumbled a few times; that is when you can switch back to viewing the source.

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