Proofreading: a pointless cost or an important part of every translation task?

proofreading-last-step-before-finish You probably know the feeling when you are so close to the finish that you just want to run as fast as you can to the finish line. It’s almost impossible to keep the head cold and be patient enough to slow down. In translation projects (and other projects as well) the last steps are often dedicated to quality control and review. The truth is that if the work is done impeccably already in the earlier steps the last step of proofreading may not bring any additional value.   

Thus it might be tempting to skip the proofreading phase or cut the effort as much as possible to minimize the costs. However, you should never underestimate the value of proofreading. Even though you haven’t made a mistake for a while you can’t know if you made one this time. After all, nobody makes mistakes on purpose. Some people write and proofread at the same time what seems like an effective way to work. Unfortunately, to be able to see the big picture one needs to read the complete text, from the start to the end.

People tend to become blind to their own text. Our brains work differently when we write and read. The person who reads our text sees it for the first time, while the writer has gone through the complete creation process. The reader doesn’t know what the writer knows. This is especially important to remember with translations. The translator has read the original text, but the reader only sees the translation. Proofreading is a good way to find the blank spots and inconsistencies.

It’s a challenge to abandon the background knowledge and see only what the reader sees. This is why proofreading is never free. Even if you don’t outsource the proofreading work to an expert, it always takes at least some time and effort to read the content carefully and with concentration. To get the best possible outcome out of the proofreading process, there are few things to consider:

  • First of all, if the proofreader is someone else than the writer, it minimizes the risk of passing totally silly mistakes. A typo or other simple mistake is usually very visible to everyone else than the one who wrote it.
  • Secondly, if you proofread your own content, it’s a good idea to take a break before starting to proofread or leave it to the next day. Even a short pause will freshen up the mind and help to spot the errors.
  • Thirdly, there are professionals who are specialized in proofreading. They have the routine to proofread efficiently. So if you don’t have the time or have any doubts about your proofreading skills consider buying the service.

The most important thing is to remember that proofreading is a very critical task. It is the quality control process for any piece of text. No one wants to look sloppy or unreliable just because of some typos or silly mistakes. From this point of view, the price of proofreading is quite negligible.


localization tools Avoid silly mistakes in software localization. Proofread your translations in the right context. Does the text fit into the free space? Are the word choices correct? With Multilizer it’s easy to proofread your translations and fix the possible mistakes. Test and see it yourself.