Print It Out!

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Today's quick tip to improve any translation is a seemingly simple one, yet it's a step that's oftentimes forgotten: printing out the final translation to proofread it on paper. Yes, we are tree-huggers and don't like paper as much as the next environmentalist, but for our careers' sake, we print out every single translation we work on, sometimes multiple times. That said, we print on recycled paper (readily available at most office supply stores) and also print on both sides of the paper. We then shred everything and recycle the shredded bits.

We don't know why, but it's truly amazing that the human eye catches many mistakes on paper that it doesn't on screen, and skipping the step of proofing our work on paper would definitely decrease the quality of our translations. We usually sit down with the printed out target text, without the source text, move away from the computer, and grab a red pen. We have caught many typos and factual errors this way. In addition, printing out our work is also essential to make sure the formatting is entirely correct.

Happy printing and translating! What about you, dear colleagues? Does this simple technique work for you?


MChavez on November 14, 2014 at 9:57 AM said...

Printing most translations on paper is always good advice to give a fresh reread. However, it's not always practical on other media: subtitles, software strings, large paper formats with high-def color graphics, for example.

Having said that, I love paper and I love trees. But, as a civilized society, we will always need paper of different kinds and for different purposes.

And I'm not a robot :)

Anonymous on November 14, 2014 at 1:37 PM said...

Yes, I always print, except for that tiny font that I can only ready by zooming out 500%!!! LOL

figthorn on November 15, 2014 at 3:01 PM said...

There is something aesthetically pleasing also in reading a text on the printed page and in its final format, or close to its final format. I LOVE seeing my translations post-formatting, especially when there are a lot of graphic elements and colors, as is the case with brochures and product guides. Somehow spotting mistakes on a clean page is much easier than in the CAT tool environment or even a Word document (not to mention an Excel sheet -ugh!).

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on November 17, 2014 at 10:03 AM said...

@MChavez: Thanks for commenting! Agreed, it's not always possible indeed to print everything out. However, sometimes nice techies give us software strings in Excel spreadsheets, which can be printed out. We are not robots; you are so right. Thanks for reading!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on November 17, 2014 at 10:03 AM said...

@Anonymous: Good point! You can also increase the font before printing, which should help. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on November 17, 2014 at 10:04 AM said...

@figthorn: We agree 100%. It's such a nice sense of accomplishment to see our work done and printed. It feels good, doesn't it? Thanks for your insightful comment.

Dokumentu Vertimai on December 5, 2014 at 1:42 AM said...

This is a very good tip, because sometimes I overlook even the most obvious translation or typing mistakes, which can be easily noticed in printed version. This can decrease the number of failures appreciably.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on December 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM said...

@Dokumentu Vertimai: Thanks for the comment. We agree that printing documents and reviewing them online does significantly decrease the amount of errors. Have a great weekend!

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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