As a reviewer, you play a critical role in shaping the content that gets sent to our clients and, in many cases, ends up being read by huge audiences on the web. Your expertise and experience must shape the work that’s already been done by our community into a polished, refined piece that communicates effectively and is a perfect rendition of the source text. If you’ve been revising for a while, you’ll already know what a reviewer needs to do to ensure the quality of the translation before it is sent to our clients.
The standards we expect from reviews are high, and it’s why you get more time to complete them. We expect you to use that time to scrutinize the text with an extremely high level of attention to detail.
For example, failing to miss a machine translation hallucination would be a mistake in a post-edition task. In a review, though, it’s a really critical error precisely because the level expected is higher, but also because it’s likely to end up being published immediately after you submit the review.
As a side note, we advise you to give preference to editing reviews on desktop browsers over mobile, whenever possible. This will allow you to work easier and spot mistakes that otherwise you might miss. Working on a reduced-size screen can compromise your visualization and the quality of the final work and in time it can actually harm your eyes.
Having said this, there are always ways in which you can enhance the quality of your work, and we’re always looking to find new ways to help with this. After reviewing clients’ feedback, we’ve gathered some insights which can help you avoid the most common mistakes. In this article, we'll explore some practical ideas for enhancing your work, building on the strengths you already possess to make sure your skills are the best they can be.
- Before starting to work, please make sure you read the client’s instructions and the glossary. When looking over reviews and issues that customers have raised, one of the most frequent things that come up is where there is a specific client instruction that is not taken into account on the job. This is very easily avoided with a readthrough - after all, it takes less than a minute to read them. Moreover, the instructions may change without warning, as we aim to improve them based on a regular assessment. So please make sure you are aligned with the latest version of them.
- The glossary terms are not optional and they weigh a lot in your evaluation. Please make sure you've read them thoroughly and that they are used accordingly in your translation.
- Try to understand the type of content you are working with and the terminology needed. Terminology-related issues are the second-biggest area of severe errors, after localization. If you are not comfortable with the content, you can consider skipping it and choose one you are more likely to be familiar with, enjoy, and are sure you can deliver at the highest standard. Additionally, if you are not specialized in a specific field, but are curious and want to gain information about it, you can read journals, attend industry events, or talk with people specialized in that area.
- Go to the client’s website to check for commonly used terms. This is especially important if you are working for this client for the very first time. Going to their website to check what terms are more preferred than others will help you gain an overall understanding of what is expected from the translation. It’ll also save you time when you can’t decide what terms you should go for.
- When in doubt, do some research. If checking the client’s website hasn’t made everything clear, we recommend you do additional research on the topic you are revising. This will help you not only now, but also when you’ll encounter the same or similar subject in the future. We allocated plenty of time to revision tasks, so you don’t have to stress about it when doing your research. If you want to learn how to do your research more efficiently, please check this article. It contains three overarching videos, so you can sit back and relax while learning something new.
- Try to be aware of cultural differences and sensitivities. There’s no surefire way to build this knowledge, but a key part of being a translator is that you are expected to understand nuances and work these into your translation.
- Get rid of repetitions, but not at the expense of changing the meaning of the sentence. If you spot a word three times in the same paragraph, check if you can find a synonym to replace one of them. If there are three, it would be preferable to replace the one in the middle. However, if the synonym could change the meaning even slightly, leave them as they are. Please keep in mind that if it’s marketing content, you are encouraged to play around with them, as you have more space for creativity.
- Spot and correct MT hallucinations. This is particularly important as they are often unnoticed and result in the most frequent complaints we get from our customers. The most common types of hallucinations represent numbers, names, dates, and negatives. So please, pay attention even to the terms you would take for granted as correctly translated by the MT. It’s important to check both the source text and the target text and see if you can spot any mistakes.
Ensure Accuracy in Numbers and Dates. One critical aspect often overlooked in the review process is the accuracy of numbers and dates. While machine translation systems are powerful, they might occasionally falter in converting numerical information precisely. Therefore, it's imperative to meticulously inspect and, if necessary, correct any discrepancies in figures, percentages, or dates. Ensure that the translation accurately reflects the intended numerical information, tailored to your target language, maintaining precision and clarity. This meticulous attention to detail ensures a flawless final output and avoids potential misunderstandings arising from inaccuracies in numerical and chronological data.
- Ensure style consistency. Please keep in mind that consistency is key even when it comes to tone of voice. Please make sure the result incorporates only one, especially if it’s a long text on which multiple editors have worked.
- Be aware of formatting tags and how to use them. As a reviewer, it’s likely that you’ll receive tasks with formatting or markup tags, and it’s important that you learn how to use them like a pro. Check out our guide here for more information.
- Check the result multiple times. It’s one of the oldest rules of translation: check your work thoroughly. Chances are you’ll find something on the second read-through. If you have the time, it is recommended that you take a break from the task (even a short one) and then come back to it, so you can look at it with a pair of fresh eyes.
- To keep up with the ever-changing industry, you need to be dedicated to continuous learning and improvement, staying up to date with language trends, technology, and translation best practices. You can join free or paid webinars, conferences, and workshops. ProZ has a monthly calendar listed, where you can find valuable content covering many fields and with different purposes.