Types of revision


Checking the foundations. Comparing the translation and the original side by side to guarantee the translation is fit for its intended audience and purpose and free of translation errors.


A translation spring clean. Revising the translated text as a standalone to dust the cobwebs (spelling, grammar, punctuation, typing and layout slips) and ensure it flows like a stream. It is easier to do this with the original text out of sight and out of mind.

The proofreading and editing of my translations are included in my fees. If you wish to add external editing or proofreading and you don’t have that service in-house, I can collaborate with a colleague from my professional network for an additional fee.

How important is revision?

Translators are humans. A second pair of eyes is a reputation gatekeeper worth paying for. If your translator is self-revising, you want to give them a few extra days to let the translation “breathe”, so they can revise it with fresh eyes and energy. Detaching from the source text takes time.

Below are ten problems I encountered revising translations. Admittedly, this was revising for an NGO; it could have been inexperienced or unqualified translators or careless because it’s free work. But, in paid work, it could be a translator who does not care, because the fees are too low. Qualified professional translators care about their reputation and take care with their work. But… they’re still human, and can have slips.

  • Accidental omission of words
  • Use of English punctuation
  • Use of English sentence order
  • Incorrect use of grammar 
  • Unnatural unimaginative translations akin to machine translation
  • Mistranslations: lack of understanding of the source text
  • Mistranslations: the translator did not spot a problem in the source text
  • Lack of adherence to the set company’s glossaries
  • Lazy language: “they looked for researchers to research…”
  • Wrong tone: too colloquial for an academic article


I think this is the first time that someone understands this sentence properly and, above all, translates it well, including the sense, the tone, everything. YOU DESERVE A TEN! (Feedback for my translation of a highly creative restaurant critique written by an award-winning food critic.)

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