Author: Sebastian Scheplitz
Many professional translators, or us here at Translation Royale, will be familiar with this situation: where a client requests a “proofreading” (or proof-editing) job for their previously machine or human-translated source files, often for pennies on the dollar – at a rate of 1 to 3 cents a word – only to find out that the source files need a complete and total re-translation from scratch.
Because the AI translation or the fly-by-night translators did that bad a job.
We totally get why translation clients might misconstrue – or for some, willfully misuse or misrepresent the term “proofreading.”
Because it allows them to pay less for a job that may very well involve more work and time than a straightforward quality translation will.
We get it – in this business, it can be a race to the bottom. Let’s not make any bones about the prevailing state of the industry. Pay peanuts, get monkeys.
It doesn’t matter what industry translators operate in – from casino and gambling translations to IT, medical and legal niches, many will be familiar with the aforementioned situation.
Proofreading has, in essence, become a euphemism for re-translation. Many translators have had to learn this misrepresentation the hard way. That is, upon reviewing the source texts and target texts, they discover that the proofreading job involved a hell of a lot more than just the aforementioned “proofreading” – and often after having already accepted the job.
Therefore, one thing clients need to learn when looking for iGaming translation and localization services is to realize the subtle nuances involved when working with texts, such as proofreading or reworking iGaming content writing, sportsbook affiliate content, online casino affiliate marketing content, and online slot review translations.
Clients need to be clear with the expectations and what they are willing to pay for in exchange for meeting them. Likewise, translators need to ask clients the right questions to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Therefore, it’s important to lay down some definitions to distinguish between proofreading and re-translation for clients and translators alike.
What Is Proofreading?
Proofreading involves checking a translated document’s spelling, grammar, and punctuation, reviewing the syntax and verifying that there were no errors or omissions that flew under the radar after the source text had been translated.
Proofreading typically involves three tasks as follows:
- The proofreader reads through a document to make sure that the target text is understandable. They will then proceed to report any discrepancies to the translator and editor to settle any confusion and address any translation issues that might have slipped through the cracks.
- Once these issues have been settled and overall readability is improved, the proofreader then proceeds to review the translated text for any other typographical, grammatical, or syntax errors.
- Lastly, they check whether the translator followed the formatting standards as required by the client and that the layout corresponds with the client’s brief.
During this process, proofreaders may make suggestions with regard to the content. They aren’t automatically applied but instead given as comments for the original translator’s (or editor’s, which can also be an extra step) review and discretion on whether to implement or otherwise.
The Nuances – and Importance – of Proofreading
Proofreading is technically done on a copy of the translated work, such as a website or a magazine. However, proofreading a document using a word processor is technically known as copyediting.
There’s no need to conflate one thing for another, considering both tasks are largely the same.
The main purpose of proofreading is to ultimately ensure that the translated texts are free from repetition, misuse, error, or omission. No massive changes are done to the document at this point in time – it’s all about checking for inconsistencies and spelling/grammar errors.
When translators work with foreign language pairs, such as Spanish, it’s their responsibility to make sure that they use accents, cedillas, and regional variations in punctuation, words, and colloquialisms (if necessary).
Proofreading takes on a whole new level of importance whenever translators localize content tailored to a variety of cultural contexts. After all, many words sharing the same meaning may require slight variations in spelling depending on their target audience.
Therefore, it’s of paramount importance that translations should be proofread for optimal accuracy and translation quality.
What Is Re-Translation?
Re-translation is real – and a prime example of scope creep in the translation/localization industry. What may look like a quick editing, revising, or proofreading task can lead to an entire reworking of the translation, especially if the source file is of abysmal quality.
Ask any translator worth their salt and many will agree that proofreading a poor-quality translation – whether human or AI-translated – can take oodles and oodles of time and bother more than simply redoing the translation from scratch.
Translations can be so bad that retranslating them from scratch would be cheaper and even quicker than doing a full editing and proofreading job.
Clients, on the other hand, risk losing out on the revenues they might otherwise make by putting out poor translations representative of the corners they cut by going for the absolute cheapest option every single time – and burn bridges with translators who will obviously never work for them again.
Talk about reputational risk.
Proofreading vs. Re-Translation
It is for this reason why many translators refuse proofreading or revision jobs. In the translation and localization world, time is money, and taking on such time-consuming, tedious work has burned many a translator in the past.
Understandably, clients hate to hear that they paid for a shitty translation.
However, this problem is becoming more and more prevalent in the translation business, as agencies and clients discover the beauty of free machine and AI translations and try to get human editors to bail their crappiest aspects out.
The fact that many complete re-translation jobs are masquerading as proofreading jobs isn’t escaping the watchful eye of professional translators.
And the reason why such work gets offered – often for a pittance – is because the original translator did such a poor job. The poor sap that ends up taking what’s a re-translation job ends up holding the bag because the compensation is often an insult to the time and effort it takes to clean up the original mess slapdash human or machine translations made.
Why Does Cheap Translation Cost Clients More Over the Long Run?
Using machine or AI translations without a competent, professional translator overseeing things will ensure that the quality will not be anywhere near the expected standards.
Errors and inaccuracies might cost clients more by having to have a retranslation performed by expert translators or a more legitimate translation agency. That’s paying twice to do the same job.
Asking machine translators or the same translator that did the piss-poor job in the first place to redo the job will never solve the problem. If any of these options were capable of doing a competent job, they would have gotten it right the first time – every time.
Besides the time, effort, and resources wasted, your translation job will most likely end up lagging behind schedule. Your clients – if you are an agency – won’t exactly take that lying down. You might lose your current clients for cutting corners and investing in the wrong translator. You might be able to save money over the short term, but you will always lose in the long run – in the form of losing future clients.
Problems with Public Image
Translation is representative of corporate values – yours as an agency, and that of your clients. Poor-quality translations aren’t a good look for your corporate optics. It doesn’t make sense to scrimp on translation and localization at the expense of your company or your clients’ respective corporate images.
Why Should You Hire Professionals to Do Your Translation and Localization?
Professionals in the iGaming translation and localization space – like us at Translation Royale – have spent over lifetimes in combined skill, experience, and know-how.
Professionals know all about the industry and the value they bring to the table. There’s no reason they should take in low-paid work and time-consuming re-translation misrepresented as “proofreading” jobs.
Likewise, translation and localization agencies – regardless of industry, not just iGaming – should also learn how to discern the difference between a proofreading job and a total rework so that they can set expectations and explain the difference between both to their clients.
More importantly, it is up to the clients to know the difference between proofreading and re-translation in order to avoid wasted time, effort, and resources. Because there is a difference, and that difference matters.
There will always be bad clients, poor rates, and desperate individuals willing to do the real hard work of translation for pennies on the dollar – but buyer beware.
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “Like Night and Day: How Proofreading Differs From Re-Translation”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂