7 tips for effective proofreading

1. If time allows, try this method: translate, proofread against the original, proofread the translation as a standalone document. This method ensures that you don’t forget to translate anything in the source text, makes sure you spot anything you may have mistranslated and ensures that the target text is coherent and cohesive.

2. Check figures and dates separately: it is definitely worth scanning through your translation and the source text and cross-checking dates and figures.

3. If you have time, leave the translation overnight and proofread the next day. This gives you time to distance yourself from the text and makes it easier to spot typos and other mistakes.

4. If you don’t have the luxury of waiting until the next day, try proofreading your translation backwards, either sentence for sentence or paragraph for paragraph. When we have been working on a text for a long time, our brains becomes blind to mistakes. Reading the text backwards breaks the pattern.

5. Probably not the most environmentally-friendly tip but printing and proofreading on paper definitely works for me.

6. Don’t forget to run the spell check! Quickly entering last minute changes can be the main cause of typos left uncorrected.

7. If you are tired and finding it difficult to concentrate, try reading the translation aloud. Your ear may pick up on mistakes your eye may have missed.


2 thoughts on “7 tips for effective proofreading

  1. Pingback: Weekly favorites (Nov 22-28) | Adventures in Freelance Translation

  2. I use all of these tricks all the time! So useful! I also like to change the size of the text on my screen—either zooming in, or changing the font size itself. It’s especially great for catching errors in punctuation, spacing, and doubled-up words.

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