Translation vs Localization: The Important Differences

Before you dive into any type of translation or localization project, it will benefit you greatly to understand the difference between these two terms. While both are closely related at first glance, translation and localization have some key differences between them that are worth knowing. In order to compete in an increasingly global economy, it is important that brands utilize translation and localization services properly and to their advantage. 

What is Translation?

The term translation, also known as tl8n (or #xl8), refers to the process of changing text from one language to another in order to achieve an equivalent meaning. Doing so allows the overall meaning of the text to remain identical, while being expressed in a different language from the original text. 

Translation is not a word-for-word conversion, but the goal is to maintain the original meaning through both vocabulary choices and idiomatic choices. A translator will convert your content into the target language while respecting syntax and grammar rules. As translators strive to maintain the complete original meaning of a text, translation is a process often used for important documentation where it is vital that the original meaning remains the same. Localization on the other hand, blends linguistic equivalence with cultural accommodations. 

Translation is often used to rewrite:

  • Training manuals
  • Scientific journals

What is Localization?

Localization, which is also referred to as #l10n, focuses on making text both linguistically and culturally accurate to whichever region it will be distributed in. The process of localization acknowledges that a direct translation is not enough to connect with an audience. 

Localization is also utilized when you don’t need to translate text into another language, but need to cater to cultural differences. American and British English are a perfect example of this scenario. While an American or British English speaker will be able to understand either type of text, there are major cultural differences between the regions these two languages are spoken in. For example, Americans use the term “bathroom” or “restroom” whereas Brits use the term “loo” when referring to the exact same thing. 

To sum things up, localization ensures culturally connotative terms are used, as localization is not solely focused on a direct translation. A few main areas of concern in the localization process are:

  • Spelling
  • Expressions
  • Idioms
  • Vocabulary
  • Cultural references
  • Imperial vs. metric measurements
  • Currency units
  • Date formats

The Main Differences of Translation vs Localization

The main difference between translation and localization is that localization takes the process a step further by accounting for cultural differences. Localization can help aid in meeting cultural expectations, which can be especially important for making entertainment content, products, or an ad campaign succeed in a new market.

Very direct translation services are more often used for very serious texts where it is of the utmost importance to retain an original meaning, such as with a medical text. Both processes play an important role in increasing the reach of language, but knowing how to use each process to their advantage is key.

How Translation Can Assist During an E-Commerce Boom

Parisian chic was once only accessible to those lucky enough to find themselves in the city of light with a pocket full of euros. Nowadays, you don’t need to book a transatlantic flight to get your hands on that certain je ne sais quoi. The latest in French fashion and virtually any other product you could desire are now available right at your fingertips. As changes to stop the spread of Covid-19 encourage millions of people around the world to stay home, they have no choice but to do the bulk of their shopping online. This shift to at-home consumerism has been devastating for brick and mortar store owners, but provides new business opportunities for retailers with e-commerce presences. 

The Covid-19 E-Commerce Boom

Before Covid-19 forced consumers into their homes, online retail sales were already estimated to reach $6.5 trillion by 2023. However, those numbers could increase drastically due to stay at home orders and future safety regulations in place at in-person retail locations. E-commerce order volume increased by 50% in recent weeks compared to the same time period last year. Amazon has notoriously seen a huge surge in orders for essential items like household supplies, toiletries, and food, but they aren’t the only online retailer that is experiencing increased sales right now.

Global online sales across the fashion industry are up 63% since the onset of the crisis and consumers are beginning to redefine what the word “essentials” mean. Work from home supplies, fitness equipment, loungewear, beauty products, and childrens toys may now be considered essential purchases by consumers if they make their time spent staying home more comfortable. This shift provides opportunities for some e-commerce businesses who sell popular self isolation supplies to thrive. 

How Retailers Can Adapt

In order to attract customers who aren’t used to shopping online or who prefer to shop in brick and mortar stores, retailers may want to consider adapting their websites to improve the customer experience. Their products and content may have to work a little bit harder than normal to sell, especially since customers can’t make returns as easily as they may be accustomed to. 

Creating detailed product descriptions is a good place to start. Retailers should write more in-depth descriptions than usual and aim to answer potential customer questions or concerns. For example, a clothing retailer may want to describe meticulously how a garment fits, how to care for it, and what makes the piece special. 

Taking more photographs and videos of products may help too. Providing thorough resources regarding return and shipping policies can also help customers make purchases confidently. Last but not least, offering customer support that is easily accessible by phone, email, or instant message can help ensure customers have a positive shopping experience. 

Where Translation Comes Into Play

Business may be booming for some retailers, but most businesses can’t afford to isolate customers right now. E-commerce retailers who are looking to expand their customer base should set their sights globally. Translating their webpages, including product descriptions and customer policies, into multiple languages can make their products vastly more accessible to customers. Website analytics can provide vital information about what countries customers live in and retailers can begin by catering to those languages first. Later, they can expand their translated content to as many languages as they see fit in order to grow their reach and improve their customer experience.

Terra Passes ISO Audit Amid Challenging Times

There’s no question that the world is undergoing troublesome times. Even amid a global pandemic, the Terra team has managed to band together to continue our commitment toward providing quality work for our clients. This promise for quality is demonstrated through our recent accomplishment of passing the annual ISO audit. 

What is ISO Certification and Audits?

ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization that provides the framework to certify quality management procedures. This Quality Management System (QMS) improves the development of tools for process control, organizational performance evaluation, and continuous improvement. The formula has proven to generate a virtuous circle of continuous improvement through planning and verifying. In addition to ISO 9001 certified (process-based), we achieved ISO 17100 certification (requirement-based) in April of 2019. The rigid standards of ISO 17100 indicates an even further dedication to quality and timely translations.

“Being ISO 9001 and 17100 certified is so much more than a piece of paper for us,” explained Marina Ilari, CEO of Terra Translations. “Our team is truly invested in the continuous improvement of our processes and making sure we are always exceeding our clients’ expectations.”

In addition to the meticulous certification process, we must undergo annual ISO audits and recertify every three years. These certifications ensure our teams align with solid processes that meet international industry standards. These systems hit the needs of all key stakeholders that include our organization, collaborators, customers, and suppliers.

Passing ISO in a Global Pandemic

Our ISO audit was especially unique in that it occurred at the height of the quarantine and self-isolation. Until nearly the final hours, the Terra team did not know if an audit was possible. The certifying body and powers that be made an unprecedented decision: to conduct an audit completely virtual. Upon notification on the updated methodology, we quickly established the team that would participate. As a fully remote team, we were agile enough to quickly pivot.

The audit lasted two full days which is typically based on the size of the organization and scope of the services to be certified. Traditionally, the auditor surveys the data and verifies that the organization complies with the certified standards. In Terra’s case, the certified standards under review were ISO 9001 and the ISO 17100 fundamentals specific to translation services. According to procedure, the auditor must set meetings with various members from the organization and ask specific questions on daily processes and compliance. The auditor will provide suggestions for improvement according to his or her experience. For Terra’s unconventional audit, the auditor adapted perfectly to the rare situation. Overall, the entire experience was both fluid and dynamic. 

Passing the certification has only provided further confidence in the Terra team on the ability to provide outstanding service, even in arduous circumstances. 

“It is a great responsibility that becomes an enjoyable task because I am part of such a committed and continuous improvement oriented team,” said María del Carmen, Accounts Payable for Terra. “I have been working with quality standards for 11 years and it is a subject with which I feel comfortable. With the day-to-day management solid and orderly, I believe that the certifications provide additional value to every project.”

With our credibility recognized by the translation industry’s highest authority, our clients can trust in us. We take every audit as an opportunity to learn and improve our practices.

“My experience in ISO audits is extremely important to me. I have gained extensive knowledge and self-assurance from my participation in reviews over these three years,” said Natalia Atab, Account Manager for Terra. “I am truly proud to be part of this certification, now more than ever.”

Current Consumer Behavior Shift Creates Customer Experience Improvement Opportunities

When people think about the COVID-19 pandemic, the word unprecedented comes to mind most often. While this certainly is an unprecedented time we’re living in, a word we should be using more is adaptability. If we take a step back right now, it’s quite impressive to see how quickly health care providers, governments, businesses, and consumers have adapted to this new and challenging landscape we are facing. We’ve been quick to adapt to the changes caused by our social distancing efforts and consumer habits have changed drastically. Some experts are estimating consumer habits will remain forever changed. Let’s dive deeper into these predictions.

Some Industries are Thriving

Some industries are taking a huge hit right now, such as travel and in-person entertainment, but others are thriving. Many of the businesses that were on the rise before are the ones that are holding strong during the pandemic. Food delivery services, online shopping, and streaming entertainment platforms are continuing to provide their convenient services right now. If someone didn’t appreciate these businesses in the past, they are likely to see the appeal now. Nielsen found that staying home can lead to an almost 60% increase in how much content consumers watch, which in theory will increase the demand for access to more content with consumers taking advantage of different streaming services.

Businesses that rely on subscription models, particularly entertainment services, will likely see the largest impact post-pandemic as they may retain their subscribers even once life goes back to normal. Gaining a new customer is typically five times more expensive than retaining a current customer, which means that subscription model based businesses that fill toiletry, video game, television, or food needs may see a strong business boost from social distancing.

Why Customer Experience Matters More Than Ever

While some businesses may be profiting off our current predicament, others are struggling alongside their consumers. How brands treat their customers during this difficult time will likely have a lasting impact on how consumers interact with them in the future. Airlines for one are suffering massive financial losses right now, but so are their customers. Air travel is notorious for having limited cancellation policies and poor customer service, which consumers are tolerating less and less when they feel their health and financial wellbeing is at risk. The airlines that have a compassionate customer experience right now will be more likely to build trust with their customers and have them willing to come back once normal travel resumes.

A Global Shift

One way to ensure a positive customer experience, is by making connecting with consumers easier on a global scale. The sharing of information is more important than ever before and through the use of proper translation and localization efforts, you can build trust with your consumers as well as service them in the best possible way.

From a user experience perspective, the entertainment and tech industries in particular could benefit from increased efforts to translate and localize movie and television subtitles, video games, and apps. Many people are turning to self-improvement efforts to pass the time right now, so e-learning course creators may find that adapting their courses to serve multiple languages can increase their potential customer base.

Many businesses can benefit from professional translation services, whether they make their manuals, instructions for use, or webinars more widely available. No matter what industry you work in, we can all agree that bringing more people closer together sounds pretty good right about now. 

Scaling Up: Leveraging Global Translation for a Stronger Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Cream City. Birthplace of Miller Brewing, Harley-Davidson Motor Company and the Fonz. Host city for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. And home to Terra Translations, LLC. The City of Milwaukee has a rich and unique history that has cultivated an environment primed for intentional disruption and dynamic growth. While the city is supported by some incredible behemoth entities like Manpower Group and Northwestern Mutual, the small business contingency is weaving its own unique thread into the fabric of The Brew City’s future successes; this includes Terra Translations. While Terra is committed to providing the best translation services in Milwaukee, the company is also focused on promoting cultural diversity, encouraging inclusion, and increasing access to information for the multilingual community. 

Terra’s strategy for supporting Milwaukee businesses, visitors, and residents is heavily reliant on being present, making new connections, and supporting the efforts of other burgeoning entities. One way the company is executing this strategy is by partnering with Scale Up Milwaukee. Scale Up is an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and they describe themselves as “an action project focused on developing the entrepreneurial capacity in Milwaukee by bringing together the policies, structures, programs and climate that foster entrepreneurship.”

Terra was welcomed as member of Scale Up in September 2019. Since joining, member meetings and one-on-one mentoring have helped to inspire, cultivate, and accelerate Terra’s continued integration and rapid growth within their local Milwaukee community. Scale Up also offers moderated conversations with prominent Milwaukee figures through their Meet the Masters events. Past “Masters” include Peter Feigin, President of the Milwaukee Bucks, Scott Lurie, President of F Street Group, and Beth Ridley, Owner of The Brimful Life. Through an intimate setting and the fluid style of moderator Elmer Moore, Executive Director of Scale Up, the audience is treated to a rare glimpse into the journey of these leaders to learn and grow.

Beth Ridley and Elmer Moore at the Meet the Masters event

Regardless of the event, every Scale Up interaction is purposefully planned to generate discussion and reflection that is thought-provoking, even uncomfortable at times, forcing members to think in new ways and challenging “the way we’ve always done it” to be absent from conversation. Members are encouraged to share their goals, professional fears, and ideas that didn’t work out as planned in an effort to realign, refocus, and recharge the tenacity and confidence that can sometimes wax and wane during the adventure of being an entrepreneur. And because the bottom line is always top of mind, Scale Up membership includes one-on-one mentoring with their expert team that spans a broad spectrum of operational and professional development topics, from bolstering community partnerships and marketing, to product development and company metrics. 

Terra Translations is a proud member of Scale Up; the partnership has been vital to strengthening Terra’s roots as a Milwaukee based translation services provider with a global reach. The company has found that Scale Up’s well-rounded approach to supporting the entrepreneurial spirit allows small business owners the chance to network with organizations that they might not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. Not to mention, they receive training, support, and resources that allow these businesses to prosper and grow with intention. Terra is looking forward to applying for Scale Up’s 2020 Growth Accelerator program and continuing to be a part of Milwaukee’s success story. You can learn more about the incredible work Scale Up Milwaukee is doing at

Sharing is Caring: Using Webinars to Enrich Employees, Companies, and Industries

Keith Ferrazzi, an author and entrepreneur, once said, “Power today comes from sharing information, not withholding it.” We exist in a world that has become accustomed to instantaneous results – statistically significant data, applicable strategies and solutions, and most of all, relevant and accurate information. So much of what people do daily is connected to vehicles for information sharing. From push notifications on phones and watches to dinner recipes narrated by Alexa, rather than seeking out information, the expectation is that it be placed in everyone’s lap. What is one of the best ways to quickly share and receive information straight from an expert source with very little cost to all involved stakeholders? The webinar. With over 25 years of specialized experience in translation and localization in several fields including healthcare, video games, and education, Terra Translations has been purposefully seeking out opportunities to participate in web-based information sharing, specifically via webinars. 

On February 27th, thanks to the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), Colleen Beres, Director of Business Strategy, and Marina Ilari, CEO, of Terra Translations were able to execute a live webinar entitled “Nurturing a Remote Workforce: The Peaks, the Pits and Some Tips for Leveraging Global Talent”.

The goal of this live webinar was two-fold. First, to educate participants on how the world of employment and labor, as well as employee expectations, have evolved in the modern world. And second, how companies, regardless of industry, can leverage the power of a remote workforce to recruit top talent, reduce costs, and create a nimble and supportive corporate culture. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and it inspired the Terra Team to question who else could possibly benefit from this type of information. What are other companies doing to share their expertise with the world?

Before launching a webinar or any kind of web-based forum, there are some critical components to consider when developing content that will be engaging and impactful. First, know your audience. The translation industry is inherently diverse and global – that’s what makes it such a wonderful and unique environment for information sharing. Therefore, each participant will come to the table with different opinions, dilemmas, and governing regulations. It is vital that content be presented in a way that is adaptable and universal; it should allow viewers to comprehend an idea and customize it to their specific situation. Second, be sure to present content that is broadly relevant and relatable. The timing of Terra’s discussion was, unfortunately, very appropriate considering the current COVID-19 pandemic; leveraging a remote workforce is no longer a luxury, but a necessity as the world attempts to contain the spread of this virus. When strategizing the exact content to be shared, it is best to evaluate subjects that are top of mind and align with company and personal expertise – then take it two steps further and drill down to create value for the audience. 

As the world continues to get smaller through increased digital connection, professionals need to rely on one another to be challenged, stay curious, and inspire growth. This connection should be leveraged in ways that create learning opportunities instead of noise for the sake of being visible. What can you share with the world that will improve your industry and your peers? You can learn more about GALA and it’s incredible resource library by visiting

Terra solidifies top spot as a boutique translation company on the Slator 2020 LSPI

We are honored to announce that Terra has made the list of the Slator 2020 Language Service Provider Index (LSPI) as a boutique translation company. The annual index is a ranking of the world’s largest language service providers, translation agencies, localization providers, interpreting services providers, and language technology companies. Slator sense-checked the primarily self-reported LSPI data. This data is independently verified by Slator using publicly accessible sources such as annual reports. The LSPI is an important resource for language industry stakeholders such as vendors, buyers, advisors, consultants, and investors. It also provides language service providers insight into where they rank among competitors and colleagues. It is Slator’s mission to help the industry make sense of developing technologies, emerging trends, and funding news in our fast-changing marketplace.

As language service providers navigated the integration of machine learning with traditional translation tools, 2019 proved to be the year of transition and growth. In addition to “Super Agencies and Leaders” and “Challengers,” this year’s 2020 LSPI expanded to include a new group of “Boutique” translation companies. Overall, 2019 was a positive year for the industry, with double-digit growth for many language service providers.

What are the benefits of a boutique translation company?

There are a multitude of reasons for clients to select a boutique translation company for their translation and localization needs. One of the biggest benefits is the unmatched customer service. Because boutique agencies are smaller than larger firms, the client gets a dedicated team of experienced professionals. Providers truly get to know the clients and form genuine relationships. This allows for a more personalized and bespoke approach to translation projects. One-on-ones with expert talent is available to customers to ensure a successful outcome for every project.

At larger firms, a highly bureaucratic company structure slows down processes and decision making. For boutique firms such as Terra, we can work swiftly and nimbly across accounts, pivoting with the needs of our clients. The boutique structure allows the language service provider to accommodate the needs of the customer and provide them with a tailored solution quickly. This flexibility has proven invaluable and supports customer satisfaction.

Lastly, many boutique translation companies specialize in a specific language combination or industry. As the saying goes, Jack of all trades, master of none. Boutique agencies don’t attempt to be language generalists. Instead, boutique firms tend to become experts in a vertical or language combination therefore they thrive in their specialty. As specialists, boutique translation companies become true thought-leaders in their area of expertise.

translation memory

Translation Memory: How it Works and Why You Need It

In life, win-win scenarios can be hard to come by. But for translation professionals and their clients, the use of translation memory is something worth celebrating. Translation memory helps translators work faster and more efficiently. Not only does this improve the work flow process for the translator, but it helps ensure the client receives high quality and accurate work in a more timely fashion. And last but certainly not least, the client can save money thanks to this productivity boosting tool. The benefits are pretty indisputable. So let’s take a deep dive into the benefits of translation memory. 

What is a translation memory?

In short, a translation memory acts as a database that can store text that was previously translated. This can include words, sentences, and even whole paragraphs of text. The translation memory breaks up these chosen areas of text into two parts. The source, and the target. The source refers to the original language of the text entered into the translation memory. The target is the translation of the original text. Together, these pairs are known as “translation units” or “TUs”. It is possible to have a translation memory for each language pair. Companies who have content translated into multiple languages would need a translation memory for each pair, such as one for German, French, or Spanish. 

How does it work?

Translation memories are a part of a larger system called a CAT (computer assisted translation) tool. This somewhat broad term generally describes software that professional translators use to increase productivity, catch mistakes, and improve consistency. CAT tools segment text that need translation and in return present the text in a way that is much simpler to translate. 

Translation memories are an important part of CAT tools. When using such a tool, a translator will start by opening the document that needs translation, also known as the source file. Then the translation memory will check to see if any of the recently uploaded content was already translated. The tool will search for any “100% matches” (identical matches) as well as any “fuzzy matches” (similar matches, but not exact). A fuzzy match occurs if there is no exact match for a term or phrase, but there are segments in the translation memory that are similar to the text that a translator is currently working on. Sometimes the difference could be as small as a single word.  

When working through a source file, translators can either accept, modify or override suggestions from the translation memory.  Human judgement is of the utmost importance. Even if a translation memory finds a translation match, the translator has to be very careful and verify the accuracy in a given context. They may have to update the translation accordingly. When a segment doesn’t have a match (this occurs if it hasn’t been translated previously), the translation memory will store the new TUs and this allows the translation memory to continue to grow and improve. 

The Benefits

Utilizing translation memories helps support the localization process. It can also help improve the quality and consistency of a translation job, as well as help complete the work faster. Working with translation memories is not the same as using machine translation (MT) tools. Unlike MT, a tool which automatically translates without human input, professional translators create translation memories. That personal touch accounts for subtleties and contextual scenarios that occur in varying languages and cultures. Both the client and translator will gain confidence and peace of mind by using translation memories throughout their translation work. This tool helps improve the consistency, quality, and speed of work. See, a win-win for everyone.

Beatriz Cirera

A Look at How Terra Translations Began with Founder Beatriz Cirera

Terra Translations has been in existence for the past 20 years. Or so it would appear. According to the founder of Terra, Beatriz Cirera, Terra started long before it had an official name. “I had been working as a freelance translator and as a leader of teams of translators, and later as a small agency on my own. Approximately 20 years ago, I thought it was time to give my business more formal structure with a name and an identity,” Beatriz said. Almost two decades later Terra has become a force to be reckoned with in the global translation industry. We wanted to take a look back at Terra’s roots and who better to tell our story than our founder Beatriz Cirera?

On The Mother Daughter Bond

One of the motivators of turning her freelance work into a full blown business was Beatriz had the opportunity to collaborate with her daughter. “I was very happy when Marina told me she decided to prepare for a translation career in school. I felt I could help her and introduce her to the business,” Beatriz said. She believes that choosing Marina as her partner was the natural and logical thing to do. “With her by my side I felt supported and understood. Having a mother and daughter relationship gave us an understanding I know I wouldn’t have with anybody else,” she said. It sounds like a pretty sweet partnership, but the icing on the cake is even sweeter, “Working together has been fun and brought us even closer,” Beatriz noted.

On Our Unique Culture

Starting a business as a family helped create a unique culture at Terra. “I view Terra Translations as a big family, with all that being a family implies. We sincerely care for our employees and linguists,” Beatriz said. She believes treating her employees with the compassion and respect you would give a family member has encouraged the entire team to commit to excellence and to offer great service to our valued clients. She continued, “We believe in ourselves and always act with the ‘family’ in mind. We feel supported and that love is our engine. Love for our team, linguists, clients, community, and for what we do. We believe in the fact that you receive what you give. As my dear father taught me, ‘life is a boomerang’.”

A commitment to supporting women is another key component of what makes Terra’s culture so special. Beatriz feels that it has never been easy for women to succeed in their chosen careers, “Many times family, motherhood, and inequality make women give up their dreams. I speak through experience, having brought up four children while building this company.” Terra is committed to providing valuable employment experiences for women, but also aims to support women outside of Terra through a variety of community outreach efforts, such as participating in Women in Localization. “We wish to share our experiences and help women in any way that we can,” Beatriz emphasized.  

On What the Future Holds

Over the years, Beatriz’s role has evolved significantly. She began as CEO and continued in that role for several years. Three years ago she passed the torch to Marina, “I felt the time had come to move aside, rest more, and have my brilliant daughter take command of the ship,” she said. Currently she acts as an executive consultant, providing support to Marina and the team in any way she can. “The transition was so natural and seemed so logical. It went smoothly and easily,” she said. 

Terra has accomplished a lot over the past fifteen years and the entire team is excited to continue this tradition of hard work and dedication. Beatriz is proud to watch Terra grow and is confident Marina will achieve all of her goals for the company. She is proud of her daughter’s accomplishments and how the company itself has grown and evolved, “I would be proud if Terra accomplished its main goal: grow as a company and grow as a family. I look forward to continue working successfully with our clients and our team.”


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.”