No one’s perfect. An extra pair of eyes is essential to catching any errors possibly missed by the translator. The proofreader’s first job is to check that there are no omissions, additions or mistranslations. Secondly, the proofreader should examine the resulting text, looking for spelling mistakes, naturalness, discourse and genre issues as well as the overall flow of the text. Translators frequently feel too tightly bound to the source text and don’t realize that the sentence they just wrote doesn’t sound good. Consequently, it is absolutely essential that the proofreader be a native speaker of the target language in order to avoid grammar mistakes and awkward phrasing. The general principle is that the proofreader/editor should be focusing on real errors and problems with naturalness, not making changes that are merely stylistic or preferential in nature. It is the translator’s job to do the hard work of correctly identifying the correct terminology and choosing the style of translation that suits the receptor audience and the requirements specified by the stakeholder who is paying for the translation.
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