The Biggest Little Problem in Translation

The Biggest Little Problem in Translation

You’ve just poured hours and hours into a complicated and specialized translation, one that probably contains intricate document formatting, technical vocabulary and even some minor work in marketing. And then you send it off.


Where to? That all depends on how you approach your translations. When I finish my translation stage, I, for obvious reasons, don’t send the document directly to the client, but rather to a colleague to be proofread, a task that I used to prefer to do myself until it occurred to me that this was the least productive activity possible.


Because let’s be serious for one second: your work has errors in it after the first draft, and if you proofread by yourself you run into a few problems:


1) Your brain is shut off.

I am the only one thinking getting ahead of myself the moment I type the final character of the initial draft? That moment you go back to the top and start to proofread, it’s as if the words are going in one ear and out the other. How many times have you heard the phrase “I can’t wait to start proofreading!”? Do yourself a favor and let someone else handle it.


2) You’re translating a broken record.

Even when you go over your own translation, doesn’t it always sound good no matter what? The hardest thing about translating is swaying from the source language, in our case Italian to English translation. If your translation’s first draft is too literal and you proofread your own work, you likely won’t find any reason to change your original work for the better. A proofreader, on the other hand, will notice these strange Google translator-like translation constructions that need to be changed.


3) A fresh perspective.

Aside from being too literal, sometimes your creativity is just lacking. Maybe today you are a little distracted and lost that creative edge, or perhaps the given translation is not one of your specialties. Either way, gaining a fresh perspective through translation proofreading is as good as saying “two heads are better than one.”


4) Keep the creative juices flowing.

When you play Tetris too long, you see the pieces move even when you’re not playing. When you do too many Italian to English translations, you start translating everything in sight. Or am I alone in that one?


At any rate, if you’re in the translating zone and don’t want to stop pumping out those unique and creative translations, why go backwards? Find a new project and keep it up.


Some of you might think that we’ve got it easy here at Scrambled Eggs, being a team of qualified native English translators that can readily pass one document to another, where having someone else proofread is not only logical but easy and super effective. This is certainly a contrast when compared to the typical independent translator that has no other choice. But why should it stop there? With all the job boards and translator communities out there, smaller translators should try to build relationships with others in the industry, hiring others for proofreading or even asking a translator you know to proofread in exchange for you proofreading theirs. The sky’s the limit, especially when you’ve got two brains on one translation.


This blog post was proofread by another Scrambled Eggs team member.