MET workshops

Translation revision: why, how and how much

We all revise — starting with our own work. Some of us also revise other translators (and non-native speakers) or act as in-house revisers with quality control responsibilities.

The EN15038 translation standard has foregrounded revision as a key step in ensuring translation quality and defines it as the process of examining a translation for its “suitability for purpose and respect for the domain to which it belongs” and “recommending [or taking] corrective action as necessary”. But can revision be approached systematically? And what factors come into play when one endeavours to adopt a systematic approach to revision?

Revisers effectively act as mediators between the individuals involved in the text production continuum. They also have to mediate in more pragmatic ways: because revision is potentially costly and time consuming, revisers need to be aware when fit-for-purpose means just that and not necessarily perfection. A competent reviser inevitably has to know how to juggle these and many other potentially conflicting demands.

Translators who are revision-oriented and revision-tolerant are more proactive in ensuring that the best possible text is handed over to their revisers and therefore ultimately their customers. This enhances long-term relationships and places them in a better position to negotiate rates and deadlines.

We feel it is important to understand the dilemmas and demands faced by the reviser and to be confident enough to resolve them. One approach to developing this confidence is through the kind of open exchange and frank discussion with peers offered by this workshop.

Developers and facilitators: Ailish Maher and Luci Vázquez

Purpose: To exchange experiences, discuss concerns and share thoughts on revision. Practical revision exercises will serve as a means to reach this goal.

Description and structure: Our workshop will open with a look at factors that come into play in the revision of translations, such as quality, quality assurance and fitness for purpose, the translation brief, different types or levels of translation revision and general tips and pitfalls. This introduction will be followed by hands-on revision exercises in which participants will systematically and collaboratively identify and classify translation errors and lesser infelicities — using our proposed classification framework — and discuss issues, dilemmas and surface and deeper aspects of revision. The workshop will conclude with an overview of revision principles and guidelines (good practices).

Who should attend? Translators, editors and translation revisers, irrespective of their level of experience in the profession.

Outcomes: Guided and, we hope, stimulating discussion of translation revision will raise awareness of nuances that will help participants to deal with issues and dilemmas when they revise their own work and the work of others.

Pre-workshop activity: You’ll be e-mailed a short text of approximately 250 words as a pre-workshop exercise. Note that it is extremely important that you at least look over the text for about 5-10 minutes, as it will be used in the workshop.

About the facilitators:

Luci Vázquez is an in-house translator and editor at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona. She has ample experience of revising translations.

Ailish Maher is a freelance translator based in Barcelona. She’s also a sometime reviser of translations and editor of non-native speaker academic and EU texts.