Proofreading by a third party

If you’re not in the habit of working with a professional translator, you may be surprised to hear your service provider mention proofreading by a specialized third party; it may even make you wary or suspicious.

« What? This person who claims to be professional and an expert in my field, who quotes me a price in relation to that, now seems to have such little confidence in his work that he’s having it checked and corrected by someone else? »

Far from alarming you, this approach should, on the contrary reassure you, as it is the proof that your service provider is both conscientious and professional.

A document intended for publication should be flawless

Perhaps you have already found a typo in a published text, and yet you were sure that you had thoroughly checked it. It’s frustrating, but it’s a relatively common occurence. To find it, a fresh look is required, that of a proofreader-corrector.

In every press office in the world you’ll find a team of proofreaders and correctors who track down the smallest typo, spelling mistake or repetition, proposing a different turn of phrase here, adding a comma there…

In the case of translations, the proofreader does this work; verifying and controlling the form and the content of what is said, and also ensuring that it is compliant with the original message.

The proofreader provides the indispensable fresh look and if he or she must be specialized, it is not in fact to compensate for any of the translator’s shortcomings, but to be able to apply the same level of rigor as the translator to all of these aspects.

Translator and proofreader: a team to guarantee the quality of your final documents

As I am sure you have understood, the proofreader’s expertise enables him or her to provide a service that effectively complements the translator’s work. You and your organization reap the benefits from the additional quality provided by such teamwork. Keep this in mind when you are studying a translation quote: proofreading is not a superfluous service.

Official references

The European quality standard for Translation Services Providers EN-15038:2006 stipulates:

…quality is guaranteed (…) by the fact of the translation being reviewed by a person other than the translator…


Having said this, proofreading by a third party is not always necessary, and in certain cases you can do without it. For example, if the document to be translated is for information purposes only within your company, or if a staff member has the skills and the necessary time available to check the document.

For this and all other questions that may arise, it’s best to have an open discussion directly with your service provider, and then define together the exact scope of the service that best meets your needs.