Overview of (Some) Language Services

Book with Text
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You may hear translation tasks referred to by many different names. Naturally, this may be very confusing for the translation services buyer. Why is my language service provider talking about localization instead of translation? What is the difference between editing and proofreading? In this post, I will try to cover some of the common translation-related tasks. Individual companies or freelancers may have different ways of defining and calling the same tasks. This is meant as an overview.

TEP (Translation – Editing – Proofreading)

  1. Translation – defined by the Common Sense Advisory, a translation market research company, as the “process of rendering written communication from one language into another, or the output that results from this process.” This is normally the first step of any translation project; however, very rarely is this the only one.
  2. Editing – the linguistic review of the translation; usually entails checking the completeness and accuracy of translation, and any grammar, vocabulary, and style issues.
  3. Proofreading – is usually defined as checking the final “proof,” or laid out/typeset document, for any typos and other appearance errors.


In may be worth noting that a lot commercial translation nowadays happens in dedicated environments, called CAT tools (computer-assisted translation tools) or TEnTs (translation environment tools). Basically, text  that need to be translated is imported into a dedicated environment, minimizing the risk of accompanying code or tags being erroneously translated or otherwise corrupted. As a result, the translated content needs to be placed back, or integrated, into the original format. Below are some of the associated tasks that may happen before or simultaneously with the editing.

  1. Localization (engineering) – in the narrow sense may refer to the adaptation of software, websites, and help beyond translation. Localization engineering may include control resizing, reordering elements, replacing graphics, etc.
  2. Desktop publishing (DTP) – adjusting the format and appearance of the translated content in its native environment. Text may expand in translation, so the translated text takes up more space. This warrants adjusting the formatting and layout.

There may be other tasks such as software testing, which I will not be covering in this post. The main objective of this post is to show customers outside the translation industry what services they may be offered – and charged for – beyond translation.

Published by Maria

Russian health and human services translator based in Rochester, New York

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