Quickie Q&A: Translation and Copyediting

Q: What are the different levels of editing (light, medium, substantive, etc.)?
PG: Please see the Bay Area Editor’s Forum Editorial Services Guide for a description of different levels of editing. Editors describe their work differently, so it’s always best for editor and client to agree in detail about the tasks required. For a list of the tasks I undertake when copyediting and proofreading, please see my website under Edit & Proof > Copyediting.

Q: Do you do everything yourself, or do you subcontract some of the work?
PG: I usually perform all the steps of translation, editing, and proofreading (TEP) myself. Many clients prefer this. Some even prohibit subcontracting. There are times, though, when subcontracting makes sense, and I will do so on request or if I feel the project will benefit from a second pair of eyes or outside expertise.

Q: I didn’t mean just TEP, I meant everything.
PG: No, I don’t do everything myself. (I wish I could, because I actually enjoy all the tasks involved in running my own business.) I should probably delegate more, but for now, the main task I contract out is my web hosting and design. I highly recommend Studio Z Multimedia Arts for reasonably priced, comprehensive, and personalized service.

Q: I have an urgent translation — can you get this back to me by the end of the day?
PG: Maybe! It depends how long your day is and how deep your pockets are. Rush deliveries cost more in terms of money and nerves. Sometimes you wake up the next morning and realize you forgot something important because of the chaos and stress (and then you’re looking at do-over costs). Consider extending your deadline and/or modifying short-term project goals so that you can not only accommodate your partners and clients but also give yourself a little breathing room. I’ll be glad to help you think things through to figure out how you can save the day as well as your money and nerves.

Q: Do you use Google Translate or Babelfish or other machine translation in client projects?
PG: No. Nope. Uh-uh.

Q: What is a CAT tool?
PG: CAT stands for computer aided translation. A CAT tool is a computer program or application. TEnT stands for translation environment tool. An explanation of a TEnT can be found here, and for more depth, follow the links in Jost’s bio on the same page.

Q: Can you provide a certified translation?
PG: Yes, as long as you mean attested and notarized, and not a “sworn” or “court” translation. The latter are terms used in other countries for translations done by government-licensed translators. There is no national licensing program for translators in the U.S., so we don’t have an equivalent credential. However, there are a few voluntary credentials available, most notably the American Translators Association Certified Translator credential. I have earned ATA certification from Croatian into English.

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