Focusing on Review, Collaboration, and Additional Resources
While it’s tempting to quickly submit your translation in order to begin another project, we encourage you to take the extra time to carefully review. We have outlined below a few points to consider:
- Shift into editor mode: Once you have your draft, shift into editor mode. Does the translation read well as an independent text? Put some time between your readings - the more, the merrier. The best professional translators read through their work multiple times, but space these readings out, in order to review the translation with a fresh mind.
- Should translators be responsible for revising and proofreading? There is a lack of consensus regarding the extent to which translators are responsible for revisions and proofreading (or what this exactly includes). That being said, top-notch translators ensure that they are delivering publication-ready work so that their clients will be satisfied and return. Those delivering outstanding work that has been carefully reviewed and proofread definitely have an advantage in receiving future work with ALE.
- Alternative modes of checking work: Many translators benefit from reviewing their work in a manner different from that used for the original translation. Love the sound of your own voice? So do we. You can read aloud to yourself (or use text-to-speech software) to catch awkward-sounding sentences or phrasing, leading to better flowing work!
- Tools to check yourself: Want to be the sharpest tool in the toolshed? Here are our top three software picks to help you iron out those grammatical and consistency errors:
- Microsoft Word spelling and grammar check
- Perfectit- helps with issues of consistency and formatting
- Grammarly- helps with final proofreading (be aware of false positives)
Machine translation: We ask that you do not use Google Translate or any other machine translation as the foundation for any of your translations. This is because we have found the use of machine translation to be detrimental to your ability to write clearly and elegantly. You can, of course, use online tools to help you with individual words or phrases.
Know what to avoid in advance
Save valuable time in your translation project by learning, upfront, our top red flags and reasons we return texts to translators for further work. Be sure to review your translation carefully so you can get ahead of the game and ensure your work is top-notch.
- Removing superfluous words, such as “indeed”
- Correct use of “which” and “that”
- Standardize bullet points, semicolons, and caps
- Correct use of n- and m-dashes
- Quotation marks
- Punctuation within/outside quotation marks
- Footnote numbering
- Active v. passive language
- Formatting & aesthetics
Support and Collaboration
ALE places a strong emphasis on collaboration when working on projects, no matter their length. When working on a project, you will always have a managing editor available for consultation. You can receive feedback in an environment that seeks to develop your skillset and help you find meaningful solutions.
At the same time, ALE also promotes clear communication with the client. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask. If you require clarification or additional information on a particular point, ask to communicate with the client. Honesty is the best policy - the client is here to help you understand their work, just as you're here to help others understand it in a different language.
Team up with colleagues
It is also important to look outward for continued inspiration and professional development. Top translators rely on another peer to review their work and point out inaccuracies or points for improvement. Some even create a co-op whereby translators help to review and improve each other’s work in return for helping others with their texts.
Join the club and get in on the action!: Joining a community of academic translators is a great way to combat the isolation and join a peer network of like-minded professionals. Get a feel for the vibe of the different online and in-person communities and stick with the one you feel most comfortable in. Our top picks:
- Local list-servs
- Join ALE meetups!
Ongoing professional development: There are numerous professional associations around the world that help translators and editors with training, tools, and professional development, not to mention being good sources of work. Here are some of our favorites for academic specialists:
- Professional associations