Text blindness: Why it’s worthwhile to have your translation edited
We all know that little funny reading experiment, where our brain automatically makes sense of the most scrambled words. We can read and understand a text effortlessly, even if some words have spelling mistakes or mixed-up letters. Therefore, you can probably easily read the following sentence:
“It is easy to raed wrods even wehn hte lettres are in the worng ordre.”
This is due to the fact that we do not read single letters but the word as a whole.
And that is also a reason why we often do not see our own typos. Our brain focuses on the message, not the individual words. In addition, as we mostly have read the text more than once in order to polish it as good as we can, it already „knows“ what we want to say and, thus, automatically corrects mistakes and becomes somewhat „blind“ to them.
However, you can be sure that the first thing your readers will notice are typos or other errors ;-).
So how do you catch your own typos and errors effectively?
You’ve probably heard of the following tips:
– read your text in another font, font size or color
– read your text backwards, from the last word to the first
– read your text aloud.
– print it out.
All these methods work quite effectively. And we use them in translation as well, but we don’t stop there.
Why it’s worthwhile to have a translation edited
We go beyond tricks like these when completing translations, for a good reason. We want to ensure highest translation quality, therefore we have to consider some more points.
When translating, we produce a “new” text and like the original, this text should be edited, too.
As I writer, you wouldn’t want to release a text without editing. I’m sure you are already very familiar with the phenomenon of “text blindness” from writing. One is so deeply immersed in the text so that errors, logical gaps and other things are easily missed. Besides, we all have our favorite words, phrases, whims and quirks, which might repeat themselves once too often.
The same holds true for translation. As translators, we might not need to look for logical gaps, however we need to make sure that no sentence and no meaning the author wants to convey is missing in the translated version. However, since during the translation process we are as deeply immersed in the text as the author, we face similar problems like writers.
That’s why we, like writers and publishing houses, rely on the 4-eyes-principle, because others with a “fresh mind” are more likely to notice errors. They read the text for the first time so their brain automatically pays more attention to all these details. It’s an established method to ensure highest translation quality. In addition, we discuss translation problems like puns, word plays or cultural differences with each other to find the best possible solution.
For these reasons each of our translations is edited and then again proofread by a different person before we’ll send it to you – so that the translation of your book will make the same impression on your German readers and will provide them with the same enjoyable reading experience as the original.
So, if you have your books translated into other languages, we only can recommend that you have them not only translated but edited by another translator or editor, too .