Editing and Revising in the Translation Process

Introduction: the Secrets of Translation Process Revealed

Being a translator is not an easy task – it requires that one must have an excellent command of at least two languages and be able to search for an appropriate means of rendering a particular message from the source language into the target one within a relatively short amount of time (Millan & Bartina 2013, p. 312).

Translation: defining the indefinable

It is hard to nail down the essence of translation. Some believe that it means finding the exact equivalents for particular expressions in the target language; others think that it presupposes rendering a specific message. According to the existing definition, translation is the process of rendering a specific idea of conveying a particular message from the source language into the target language (Malmkjær 2005, p. 25). Though seemingly simple, the given process involves several stages and requires specific skills; moreover, the plausibility of translation is often doubted (Grewendorf & Rathert 2009, p. 353).

Translation process: rendering the idea

As a rule, the translation process involves several basic stages known as the recognition of the message created by the sender in the source language, the definition of the means used to convey the message in question in the source language, search for the corresponding means in the target language, rendering the message into the target language, editing the result and providing the result to the message recipient (Sager 1994, p. 88). Therefore, editing is a crucial stage in the translation process (Shastri 2011, p. 17).

Thesis statement

Although editing makes only a part of the translation and comes as the closing stage of the entire process, it has a huge significance for the final result, since, in the course of editing, not only grammar but also style and even meaning of the text can be reconsidered completely; yet it is crucial at the same time to keep the number of edited elements to a minimum to retain the unique air of the source material and to avoid vagueness in the text (Dollerup, Lindegaard & Lindegaard 1994, p. 313).

Editing and Context

Editing as the Means to Optimize the Key Message of the Text

As a rule, even the most skilled professional may not be able to provide an impeccable translation of a particular message once in a while. Being under a pressure of several factors, such as time restrictions, personal issues, little background knowledge on a particular topic (Patterson 2006, p. 51), etc., a translator is prone to making the message of the text to be translated rather vague. Editing, in its turn, allows for correcting the specified issues (Gambier, Schlezenger & Stolze 2007, p. 116).

Editing: making the message more palatable

Editing, in general, is used in translation as the means to make the meaning of the translated text clearer, at the same time retaining the stylistic specifics of the original text (Munday 2013, p. 149). Moreover, it is believed that editing helps adapt the message behind the source text so that it could align with the worldview of the recipient of the message. Not only does editing help make the text more palatable and the message clearer, but it also provides an opportunity for avoiding the possible misunderstanding when it comes to transmitting the message to the recipient. Thus, the key goal of translation, which is the representation of the information to the recipient most accurately and understandably possible, is achieved, and editing plays a major part in the given process.

When editing does not help: counterargument

It should be noted, though, that editing does not necessarily help the translation process. For instance, in the cases when the meaning of the initial message in the source language has been misunderstood completely, the entire process of editing becomes pointless. Likewise, the cases when the raw translation can – and, quite honestly, should – be used by the recipient of the message also do not presuppose that editing should be included in the translation process. Though admittedly rare, these cases include instances when the translation is used solely as a source of information and reference (Newton, 2002, p. 4).

Making the key idea more explicit

Editing often allows for picking a more appropriate lexeme that will help render the key idea of the message in a more accurate manner. In other words, editing helps notice the inconsistencies within the translation of the source text and correct them so that the recipient should be able to understand the author’s intent.

Editing as a Tool for Correcting Grammatical, Lexical and Stylistic Inconsistencies

Unfortunately, neither translators nor the programs created for translating texts are capable of providing the consistently flawless results. Quite on the contrary, slips, and mistakes often occur in translation, especially when time is an issue. Consequently, the translated text is more than likely to contain several mistakes, including misprints, grammatical issues, syntax inconsistencies, logical fallacies, wrong stylistic choices, etc. (Robinson 2003, p. 103). In the process of editing, these issues will be noticed and corrected accordingly (Depraetere 2011, p. 127).

It should be noted, though, that the key idea of editing concerns addressing the misrepresentation of the meaning of the original text and not the minor misprints. At this point, one might argue that defining editing as correcting punctuation and grammar-related mistakes would be quite a stretch (Bielsa & Bassnett 2008, p. 87). Nevertheless, one must admit that there are instances when a grammatical or orthographic mistake changes the entire meaning of the sentence. Thus, correcting such mistakes can be considered as a part of the editing process (Baker 2004, p. 127).

Source language and target language: taking cultural specifics into account

As it has been mentioned above, editing concerns the reconsideration of some of the linguistic choices made in the course of translation. The factors that predetermine the necessity for the editing procedure, however, are rarely taken into account. Despite the supposedly common origin of languages, as well as their openness to adoption of loanwords, the instances of encountering the so-called “faux amis” (Rosenthal 2009, p. 44), or false friends., are not rare; as a result, the accuracy of the resulting text may suffer.

While the use of a faux ami may pass unnoticed in the process of translation, in the course of editing, which is focused on checking the meaning of the words, phrases, and sentences, such lexemes will be spotted immediately and switched with an appropriate equivalent of the term used in the source text (Rosenthal 2009, p. 44).

Editing and Technical Issues

Editing as the Means to Maintain the Required Quality Levels: Postediting

Apart from the traditional editing, the phenomenon of post-editing is usually distinguished (Plitt & Masselot 2010, p. 8). As it has been specified above, translation is not necessarily carried out by people – in the cases when the text is simple enough and follows a particular pattern, it can be translated with the help of a computer program (Risku 2007, p. 85). Unfortunately, machines are not yet flexible enough to replace regular translators in that out of several possible translation options, a machine cannot choose the most appropriate one (Nino 2008, p. 30). Hence, a text translated with the help of a machine must be checked manually (Mansoor 2007, p. 412).

Known as post-editing, the given process is rather important. In the given situation, editing serves as the means to check whether the message is rendered correctly, as well as to make this message more palatable for the recipients in the target language (Garcia 2010, p. 7).

When striving for perfection turns into nitpicking

There is no need to stress that editing is a crucial part of the translation process (Mossop 2007, p. 71). It helps make sure that the idea behind the text is palatable and that the text meaning meets the original intent of the message sender. However, it should be kept in mind that, with the options available for a professional in the process of translation, the editing stage can take more than required, especially in manual editing (Martinez 2003, p. 10). No matter how well the message is translated into the target language, there will always be some room for more changes and adjustments. Therefore, it is important to know when to stop the editing process and take responsibility for the result.

Giving a paper a thorough check: the importance of postediting

The significance of postediting, however, must not be underestimated, either. It helps make the text look well organized and often contributed to lending the unique air of the original to the translation (Mossop 2007, p. 11). While translation, the focus is on rendering the big idea behind the text and keeping the stylistic changes to the minimum, in the course of postediting, one can take time to make the minor changes that will later have the major impression, such as the choice of a more suitable word, the reconsideration of the punctuation, etc.

Editing, Revising, and Proofreading: Keeping the Difference in Mind

Weirdly enough, editing is often confused with revising and proofreading, though the three have very little in common (Kunzli 2007, p. 117). True, each process presupposes that the result of the translation process should be read and that the flaws and mistakes of the translation should be spotted, yet the similarities between the three processes do not go any further than that (Matea 2007, p. 170).

In contrast to editing, which presupposes that the paper should be checked for the correct use of the terminology, revising means that the translation should be checked from the possible typos, syntax, and spelling. While it has been stressed above that editing has a lot to do with spotting grammatical and syntactical mistakes, an editor is still concerned more with the use of the terminology rather than with the inconsistencies regarding grammar and syntax (Dimitrova 2005, p. 32).

However, some sources claim that editing means addressing all types of mistakes. Indeed, it would be unreasonable to have the text checked for the connotation and denotation of the words and have the basic punctuation and grammar flaws left out of the picture completely. Therefore, it would be reasonable to define editing as the process of checking both the context (Denver 2007, p. 224) and the writing technique and consider revising an integral part of editing (Gouadec 2007, p. 24).

Correcting mistakes as the primary goal: editing and its specifics

Traditionally, editing involves correcting the mistakes that have been noticed in the course of revising. Though editing usually concerns correcting the logical mistakes that affect the meaning of the translated text, the process of editing often boils down to dealing with grammatical and lexical inconsistencies, since they often predetermine the meaning of the sentence (Diaz-Cintas 2009, p. 9).

Spotting mistakes as the main objective: revising at its best

As it has been stressed above, revising is limited to solely seeking out mistakes. Revising does not even presuppose that these mistakes should be corrected, whereas editing means that each of the mistakes should be corrected and that every single inconsistency, whether lexical or grammatical, should be replaced with a verified alternative (Hervey & Higgins 2012, p. 8).

Conclusion: Editing and Its Role in Translation

Editing as the second most important process

Judging by the effect that editing has on the translated text, the significance of the procedure is truly huge. Editing defines the quality of translation (Mossop 2007, p. 62). Editing helps make sure that no misunderstanding should occur after the message is delivered to the recipient (Stripp 2002, p. 19). Consequently, editing not only constitutes a major part of the translation process but also helps shape the ideas and emotions that the translated text will stir in the target audience.

Key stages and their significance

As a rule, editing involves several basic stages. These are reading the translated text to understand the general idea, reading it again to spot the possible inconsistencies, marking the issues that will possibly require editing, analyzing the aforementioned issues, replacing the inconsistencies with the adequate translation where needed, and reading the text again for the possible mistakes (Shastri 2011, p. 24).

Recommendations: making any text flawless

Editing is a very complicated process. Nevertheless, editing must be included in the translation process so that the quality of the translation should be up to the notch (Bielsa & Bassnett 2008, p. 14). As long as there is a possibility of correcting the mistakes made in the course of translation, high-quality standards will be maintained in the translation.

Reference List

Baker, M 2004, Routledge encyclopedia of translation studies, Taylor & Francis, New York, NY.

Bielsa, E & Bassnett, S 2008, translation in global news, Taylor & Francis, New York, NY.

Denver, L 2007, ‘Translating the implicit: on the inferensing and transfer of semantic relations,’ in Y Gambier, M Schlezenger & R Stolze (eds), Doubts and directions in translation studies, John Benjamin Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, pp. 223–236.

Depraetere, I 2011, Perspectives on translation quality, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, DE.

Diaz-Cintas, J 2009, The didactics of audiovisual translation, John Benjamin Publishing, Philadelphia, PA.

Dimitrova, B E 2005, Expertise and explicitation in the translation process, John Benjamin Publishing, Philadelphia, PA.

Dollerup, C, Lindegaard, A & Lindegaard, A 1994, Teaching Translation and Interpreting 2: Insights, Aims, Visions : Papers from the Second Language International Conference, Elsinore, Denmark, 4-6 June 1993, John Benjamins Publishing, Philadelphia, PA.

Gambier, Y, Schlezenger, M & Stolze, R 2007, Doubts and directions in translation studies, John Benjamin Publishing, Philadelphia, PA.

Garcia, M 2010, ‘Is machine translation ready yet?,’ Target, vol. 22 no. 1, pp. 7–29.

Gouadec, D 2007, Translation as a profession, John Benjamin Publishing, Philadelphia, PA.

Grewendorf, G & Rathert, M 2009, Formal linguistics and law, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, DE.

Hervey, S & Higgins, I 2012, Thinking French translation, Routledge, New York, NY.

Kunzli, A 2007, ‘Translation revision: a study of the performance of ten professional translators revising a legal text,’ ’ in Y Gambier, M Schlezenger & R Stolze (eds), Doubts and directions in translation studies, John Benjamin Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, pp. 115–126.

Malmkjær, K 2005, Linguistics and the language of translation, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press.

Mansoor, A-A 2007, ‘Pre-editing and recursive-phrase composites for a better English-to-Arabic machine translation,’ Journal of Computer Science, vol. 3 no. 6, pp. 410–418.

Martinez, L G 2003, Human translation versus machine translation and full post-editing of raw machine translation output, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland.

Matea M 2007, ‘Reception, text and context in the study of opera surtitles,’ in Y Gambier, M Schlezenger & R Stolze (eds), Doubts and directions in translation studies, John Benjamin Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, pp. 169–182.

Millan, C & Bartina, F 2013, The Routledge book of translation studies, Routledge, New York, NY.

Mossop, B 2007, Revising and editing for translators, 2nd ed., St. Jerome Publishing, Brooklands.

Munday, J 2013, Style and ideology in translation, Routledge, New York, NY.

Newton, J 2002, Computers in translation: a practical appraisal, Taylor & Francis, New York, NY.

Nino, A 2008, ‘Evaluating the use of machine translation post-editing in the foreign language class,’ Computer Assisted Language Learning, vol. 21 no. 1, pp. 29–49.

Patterson, A 2006, ‘Translation as editing?,’ World Literature Today, vol. 80 no. 5, pp. 51–54.

Plitt, M & Masselot, F 2010, ‘A productivity test of statistical machine translation post-editing in a typical localisation context,’ The Prague Bulletin of Mathematical Linguistics, vol. 91 no. 1, pp. 7–16.

Risku, A 2007, ‘The role of technology in translation management,’ in Y Gambier, M.

Robinson, D 2003, becoming a translator: an accelerated course, Taylor & Francis, New York, NY.

Rosenthal, S H 2009, French faux amis: The combined book, Wheatmark, Tucson, AZ.

Sager, J C 1994, Language engineering and translation: consequences of automation, John Benjamins Publishing, Philadelphia, PA.

Schlezenger & R Stolze (eds), Doubts and directions in translation studies, John Benjamin Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, pp. 85–98.

Shastri, P D 2011, Fundamental aspects of translation, PHI Learning, New Delhi, India.

Stripp, A 2002, Codebreaker in the Far East, OUP, Oxford, UK.