Revision: the holy grail

Revision is the most important element in the translation process. It is also where things usually go wrong.

According to the dictionary definition, revision is the checking and possible correcting of documents, texts, etc.

In the case of a translation, revision means that a second translator, who has the target language as a mother tongue and is experienced in the subject of the text, compares target and source language, sentence by sentence.

He verifies whether everything has been translated correctly, not only linguistically but also with respect to the content. Since even the world’s best translators can make a mistake.

The possible errors are quite diverse: spelling errors, grammatical errors, interpretation mistakes, wrong numbers, wrong punctuation marks, and much more.

Translation agencies deal very differently with revisions. Various agencies do perform a revision as described above. Others however, only do a spot check or use some superficial software. Still, others do not do any revision at all, but they do charge you for it. They are mere middlemen who offer no added value whatsoever.

Having ISO certificates is absolutely no guarantee for quality work. For ISO, it suffices to open a document and immediately close it again to have done a ‘revision’.

If you work with a translation agency or a freelance translator, check very carefully whether a real revision is being carried out. Do not take the agency or translator for their word alone.