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Basic Proofreading Guidelines
Everybody makes mistakes (including proofreaders). The object of the proofreading exercise is to detect the mistakes of others while avoiding errors in the process.
You don't have to understand or be fluent in the languages of the documents that you are verifying in order to perform basic proofreading. The first order of business is to determine whether or not all of the content appears to be present in the target language translation.
Compare and count the obvious in both the source and target languages
– Count the number of paragraphs
– Compare sections with lists and count the bullet points
It's far easier to compare documents that have been printed than comparing them on a computer screen. Comparing printed documents will reduce the number of missed errors.
Any count that doesn't match should be double-checked. The same rule applies to text. Although there are variations in length from one language to another, if the word count variation appears high, it may be because there's an error.
If the document contains graphics or text embedded in tables, verify that the text has been translated and that none of it is hidden from view. Don't forget to check headers and footers; translators often miss these, invariably assuming that translating them was not required.
Most translators do a "Save As" of a document and work from the duplicate copy. They then translate text as they obliterate the source language text. It's not unusual for source language text to be left behind.
Punctuation and Capitalization
The rules vary from one language to another. Here are some that are easy to spot:
– French uses Guillemets (« ») instead of quotation marks (“ ”)
– There is always a space in front of a colon in French text
– There is an inverted question mark (¿)at the beginning of question in Spanish
– Nouns are capitalized in German
You can't go wrong relying on your instincts. Trust them. If something doesn't look or feel right, it's well worth checking into.
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ENGLISH PROOFREADING & EDITING RESOURCE STORE
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|Additional Information Content in Translation Guides
Proofreaders' Marks as illustrated in/excerpted from the
Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition
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∞ Directory of Open Source and Machine Translation Software
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