In the translation industry, we live for processes. One such process is TEP, a cornerstone to most of our company’s projects and workflows. TEP is an acronym in our industry that stands for Translation, Editing, and Proofreading. With about 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, translation errors are inevitable, even for professional translators. The TEP process is a strategic approach to translating used to ensure the utmost accuracy and protect the meaning conveyed from the original language. Premium translation services and companies that follow this process will offer higher quality translations because of the layered oversight.
The first step in this process is translation, which is the rendering of language from one to another. Context is extremely important at this stage. The translator should consider not only the language and country of origin but the language variants within the region. Spanish, for example, is spoken by over half a billion people in the world with significant differences in vocabulary and grammar dependent on locality. We use the client’s preferred computer-assisted translation tool software, adhere to the Translation Memory and Termbase, comply with locale suitability, and follow the general or specific style guide for all projects.
Editing is the next, arguably most important, step in the process. After the text is translated, editors must verify the translations are accurate and align with the rest of the passage. Editors should research and check to see if there are better words that preserve the meaning and cultural nuances of the original text. Editors should also strive to incorporate extralinguistic conventions and country preferences such as the way dates are written or government agencies are titled. The editor is ultimately responsible for making sure that the translation is clear and complete.
Lastly, proofreading is the final stage of the TEP process. The proofreader will scour the text for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. They’ll consider stylistic principles and ensure country standards are followed. Translation services that do not employ the TEP process will often jump to the proofreading step without properly checking for context. Proofreaders should always review and analyze the translation to ensure every idea is true to the original text before diving into grammatical edits. At Terra, our Quality Assurance Managers oversee this last step. In addition to proofreading, they will check the text with translation tools Verifika or XBench.
While in search of quality translation services, it’s best to go beyond companies that simply translate and revise text. Without the knowledge that both an editor and proofreader bring to a project, your projects run the risk of delay or even additional cost to correct unnecessary translation mistakes. You should look for translation services that adopt the full TEP process. The three-step system will protect you from poor translations that diminish the results you wish to achieve.