Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Revising and Editing for Translators
It can happen that we translators sometimes have to work with editors. But before we get to that stage, we have to edit ourselves. Brian Mossop’s book Revising and Editing for Translators is about what it means for a translator to be a proofreader and/or editor him- or herself, and the book explains it all in an easily understood and interesting way.
Sometimes translators hire other translators and have to check their work before the customer gets it, and sometimes a translator is employed by a company to proofread someone else’s translation. But despite translators proofreading our own work (we should do that anyway, but I know not everyone does) before sending it to the customer, we do not know always how to work with someone else’s texts.
Mossop discuss why a proofreader may be needed (there may be errors in the text, for example, or text style is not appropriate for the subject) and the types of proofreaders/editors available (subject-matter reviewers, copy editors, etc.) and various types of proofreading (scanning, spot-checking, etc.). Then he explains what it means to look for and fix typographical errors, grammatical mistakes, idiomatic errors, typos, punctuation mistakes, logic errors, factual errors, problems with the structure, among other things, and how to think about how a writer/translator uses language and style, and how readers influence a text (their background, for example, and why they read the text).
Mossop also provides issues to consider (such as when and where a translation is to be read or what errors a particular translator usually makes), and he gives advice on how to work with the translator whose texts you are proofreading (it is important to explain why changes are being made, rather than simply pointing out that they are necessary, so that the translator learns). So there is useful information in this book, although much of what he discusses is not actually that specific to translation.
The book also includes exercises, questions for discussion, suggestions for further reading and a glossary, so it is particularly suitable for students and new translators. But it is also worth reading for advanced translators. It contains information that is useful for both translators who are proofreading texts translated by others but also for translators who want to be better at editing their own texts.