When you work with a translation service, you may have the option of having your material proofread or editing. You may wonder why there’s a choice. Aren’t editing and proofreading the same? Truthfully, the answer is no. Editing, proofreading, and even copyediting are all different things. Keep reading to learn the differences you can expect in editing and proofreading jobs.

Proofreading Vs Editing – The Important Differences

The best way to describe editing is this. It is a process that is used to improve your writing so that it is better received by an audience. Editors focus on attributes such as flow, readability, and clarity. They ensure that you are communicating your ideas in the best way possible. Sometimes, they even focus on factual accuracy. An editor may reword things, even suggest you delete passages.

When you ask someone to proofread text, you are asking them to simply check your text for errors in grammar, spelling, mechanics, and in some cases formatting. You can have a document proofread, or you can have it edited and then proofread.

There’s also something called copyediting. This is done by a professional who is familiar with the written works you have submitted to them, and the other works your company publishes. Copyediting is similar to editing, however, it includes the process of ensuring that all of your written works are consistent with one another. If you produce a large volume of ongoing content, consider copy editing or proof editing.

Deciding Which to Choose

When working with most translation services, you may opt to simply have your documents or other content. You might also add on editing or proofreading services, or both. The question is, how do you know which to choose. The answer depends on several factors.

First, how do you plan on using your document. For example, if it’s a simple travel document that only needs to be seen by airport personnel, then a certified translation is all that you need. On the other hand, a document that will be seen by multiple customers and associates may need to be proofread so that you aren’t embarrassed by any gaffes.

Translated works that are intended for publishing or other forms of mass distribution should be edited. This ensures that whatever reaches your audience communicates your message well, and is of as high quality as they expect.

Communicating With Your Translation Firm

Keep in mind that these are only guidelines. Remember that terms like proofreading and editing are often used interchangeably. Not all translation firms adhere to the form definition of either word. When you are ordering services, be sure that you clarify what you can expect.

It’s also very important to communicate your expectations, give as much information about your intended audience, and to be available to answer questions. The editing process especially requires the customer to give plenty of information in order to get the best results.


Only you know if you need proofreading or editing services. Use this a bit of guideline. Then, make sure you communicate clearly with your translation service provider.

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