An Insider’s Guide to the Role of an Editor

Accuracy is a vital pillar for our business. At Terra, we achieve the highest accuracy on projects through a critical review process and workflow that includes the role of the Editor. The Editor is imperative in achieving quality deliverables. After the translator has finished their assignment, editing is the next step in the process. Editors are first to revise the translation and the second team member to work with the source text. They compare the target language content against the original to ensure meaning and context are not lost. In addition to this key responsibility, editors must also review and answer queries from translators and Quality Assurance Managers (QAM), evaluate and score quality, and provide constructive feedback to the translator.

A Typical Day in the Role of an Editor

A day likely begins with the Editor checking on new assignments or urgent queries that need to be answered. This typically dictates the pace for the rest of the workday. After deadlines and priorities are sorted, the Editor will dive into an edition. When an edition is completed, the Editor will pass along the project to the next team member in the workflow, the QAM. At Terra, no two days are the same in the role of an Editor. Projects vary in length, difficulty and subject matter because each project requires a different set of linguistic and communication skills.

Why is the Editor Important?

The Editor’s role is valuable because he or she improves the overall quality of the translation with a focus on vocabulary, grammar, semantics, style and punctuation. They review the entire translation comparing it to the source to ensure the original content is rendered accurately in the target language. The Editor also makes certain the target text reads naturally and fluently as if it were not a translation. When large projects are split among multiple translators, the Editor is responsible for keeping consistency across the project that includes terminology and style. Additionally, the Editor certifies that the work complies with the client’s requirements and guidelines.

“The value added to the translation process by the Editor is accuracy, consistency, coherence, compliance and quality,” explained Alejandro Kochol, Editor for Terra. “The translation is polished and the quality of the deliverable is enhanced by the Editor.”

An Editor’s Core Skills

The top skills of an experienced Editor include dynamic linguistic prowess, source and target language knowledge, cultural and subject knowledge, attention to detail, flexibility, adaptability, ability to research and multitask, advanced knowledge of computer and CAT tool software, and excellent communication. 

Discernment is another crucial skill for the Editor. A large component of an Editor’s role is the ability to leave out personal preferences. The Editor should avoid imposing their own style and over-correct the translation. This can pose a challenge because it’s tempting to make changes due to personal choices. If the style used by the translator is appropriate in every aspect, the Editor should recognize this and respect it. 

Common Misconceptions of the Editor

A common misconception is that editing and proofreading are the same tasks. This is not the case. Editing involves improving a translation by comparing the source and target text. Proofreading involves revising the translation alone. The source text is used only as a reference if it is absolutely necessary.

A Love for Language

Most editors have a true passion for linguistics. They also appreciate that every day brings a new set of challenges and they find joy in creating solutions. There is a great power in words and a proficient Editor is meticulous in the use of every word in order to improve the quality of the translation. 

“I love working with texts and languages,” said Alejandro. “I enjoy meticulously examining every part of the translation to adjust errors and ensure nothing is missing. Being an Editor allows me to use my talents to improve the entire translation process.”

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