Revision 101

In the first post of our new series, Language Industry 101 for Buyers, we looked at one of the most well-known services, translation. In this second post, we will be giving you some essential information about the next step in your localisation process, revision.

Revision is when the translation – translated by a human translator – is reviewed by a second, equally qualified professional. While this is often classified as an “optional” step, we highly recommend it, especially for copies that will be published or if you’d like to have some extra reassurance about the quality of the translation by an independent linguist.

  1. Accuracy, terminology, style

During the revision process the reviewer compares the source text against the target text to ensure that it was accurately translated and the meaning of each individual sentence, as well as the whole text was truly conveyed.

The reviewer also makes sure that the terminology is industry-appropriate and that it is in line with any glossary that may have been provided by the client. They check that terminology is used consistently within the translation, and if previous translations are available, they ensure that the new piece follows those too in that regard.

Last but not least, the reviewer looks at the translation with an editor’s eyes, and if it is needed, they might make some changes to the style or grammar in order to have a well-flowing natural text that reads as if it was originally written in the target language. If they spot any accidental typos or missing punctuation marks, they also correct those, just like a proofreader would.

  1. Revision, editing, proofreading – what is the difference?

Revision is not quite the same as editing, although they do have a lot in common. The biggest difference would be that during editing, the editor usually doesn’t have access to the source text or doesn’t need to see it (in some cases there is no source text as the text was written as a monolingual copy in the target language). An editor looks at the text as a piece on its own while the reviewer has to ensure fidelity to a text written in another language.

Proofreading is a different beast altogether as it is to serve as a final check before publishing. It is usually done after revision or editing had already been carried out and the text had been put into its final layout. While reviewers are asked to check for issues a proofreader would look for (typos, incorrect punctuation, minor grammatical problems), we always advise our clients to have a separate proofreading stage, as well, to make sure the text is indeed ready for publishing.

  1. Can I request revision for a machine translated text?

If you have a machine-translated text and would like to have its accuracy checked, revision is not the best service for you. As automated translation software tend to make mistakes that are different from potential mistakes a human translator would make, the linguist checking the translation should always be made aware whether a text was translated by a machine or a living, breathing person. If you need to have a machine-translated copy reviewed, request post-editing machine translation or PEMT.


Do you have a question or comment about revision? Would you like to request this service? In our future blog posts, you will also be able to read about editing, proofreading and PEMT in more detail, however, if there is anything you’d like to know about these services, don’t keep them to yourself! Send us a quick email at or give us a call at 01223 356 733.