Our top proofreading tips – for texts that are truly super

Super texts are many things, but they are always error-free. Read on to find out how to make your texts super!

Our name says it all. It’s our commitment. Expectations are high for a company whose name is “Supertext”. This has always been the case, but even more so since our ISO certification. This means that our texts must meet the highest quality standards and be completely error-free. To achieve this, we rely on the hard work of our freelancers.

Of course, we’re all human and we all make mistakes. However, there are a few simple tricks that can help you detect and prevent those howling errors, and every proofreader and editor should keep them in mind. We’ve summarized our top tips for you below.

1. When in doubt, look it up

Theoretically, we’ve all memorized the dictionary. However, there are still a few words that I’m unsure of every time they crop up. “Committee” for example – is it one m, two ts, one e…? There’s only one solution – looking it up in a dictionary. The online dictionary tab is open in my browser virtually 24/7. Just type in the word and seconds later, you have your answer.

2. Take a look at the style guide

Many large companies have their own style guides, which tell you how the company’s name should be written, whether customers should be addressed formally or informally, how the date and time should be written, etc. If the client doesn’t have a style guide, we use our own Supertext style guide. Freelancers can find this at any time in their Supertext account under “Info portal”.

3. Orthography

It’s not all about the correct spelling – orthography also needs to be taken into account. When should I use an en-dash? Should I use single or double quotation marks? You can find answers to these and other similar questions in our style guide. If you want to dive deeper into the topic, we recommend this book.

4. Research, research, research

Anyone who didn’t make it as a journalist may enjoy working as a translator or proofreader, as both these jobs also involve a lot of research. Is this the name of a product? Has this website already been translated into the target language? How is this word used by the company in the target language (the translation memory helps here)? Is this slightly odd-sounding sentence a figure of speech? These are the questions that you always have to ask yourself. Luckily, Google nearly always has the answer.

5. Spell check

At some point, enough is enough. You’ve already combed through the text a million times. There can’t be any mistakes left… right? The spell checker will reveal all! Whether proofreading, revising or editing, you should ALWAYS do a spell check. True, for most of the results you can just click “Ignore”. But then you will see that one result that will make you put your head in your hands and wonder how you could have possibly missed it.

Two extra tips:

  • In Trados, you can start the spell checker quickly by pressing F7. However, please check that under “Options”>“Editor”>“Spelling” the Microsoft spell checker option is selected, and not the Hunspell spell checker.
  • When working with PDFs, first check that “Enable Scrolling” is selected under “View”>“Page display”. Then select all by pressing Ctrl + A, copy and paste into an empty Word document and do a spell check as normal. (As soon as we find an easier way to do this, we’ll let you know here on the blog!)

6. QA? Check!

As well as the spell checker, Trados offers another fantastic quality assurance tool: the QA checker (“QA” stands for “quality assurance”). Our QA settings – a list of things that the QA checker will check – are installed in every Supertext translation project. For example, consistent punctuation in source and target languages, numbers (have all numbers been translated?), double spaces, and, most importantly, segments that have been translated inconsistently despite a 100% match. It’s a super tool, as you can see. You can start the QA checker quickly by pressing the F8 key.

And now we’ve reached the end of the list. The next time you’re completing a super project and are unsure if the text really is super, keep these top tips in mind. This helps keep those super texts flooding in, freeing the world from bad copy!

Cover image via Pixabay (CC0)

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