Technical translation and copy-editing

There are many different types of technical translations. Examples include manuals for implementing service-oriented architectures, SLAs for providing SaaS solutions, handbooks on server virtualisation in data centres, operating instructions and service manuals for machines, and product data sheets. No matter what type of technical translation – my translations are always tailored to your readership.

What is copy-editing?

When I copy-edit a text, my job is to find errors and correct them. If the text is a translation, I always compare the translation with its source text. Copy-editing is often a part of the tried and tested four-eye principle. In other words, the first set of eyes belong to the author or translator. The second set of eyes are mine. I double-check the text in question and correct errors, rendering the text even better than before.

How do I copy-edit a text?

Looking for typographical and grammatical errors is not all I do. I also focus on important considerations regarding terminology. For instance, the term “dialogue box” might be an accurate translation. But it will be an error if the customer prefers “dialogue window”. Such errors must be corrected. Any failure to follow rules stipulated in a style guide will likewise result in errors. “Start up the machine” could be an acceptable heading in a handbook – but an incorrect translation if the customer’s style guide explicitly requires nominal style (“Machine startup”).

The types of errors that appear in a translation thus depend in part on a customer’s guidelines. A copy editor checks for errors in the following categories, among others: orthography, grammar, wording, syntax, punctuation, factual accuracy, completeness, consistency, terminology, compliance with customer’s guidelines and/or style guide, formatting, numbers, terminological changes based on feedback from customer, etc.


Technical Documentation