For many, their cringeworthy corrections are like bullets you cannot dodge, more dangerous than a game of Russian roulette. When they’re on patrol, they bring along discomfort and sometimes a sense of irritability, because for them, the ‘right to life’ of a language is fundamental and probably not so much the emotions behind them! Okay, maybe that was exaggerated. ‘Grammar Nazis’ do have a reputation of being uninvited and overstaying guests online, however such a reaction maybe fitting to the world where free speech reigns supreme and people can get away with saying what they want and how they say it.
Apply this analogy (with kinder Grammar Nazis) to the biz world and you’ll see how crucial it actually is, to have error-free content as every single document prepared or shared is worth people’s time and money. Take this a step further to the field of translation and this assumes a whole new level of significance. It is because translation companies cannot afford to and must not present a translated document as the final version without letting it undergo a process of proofreading. This step is a decisive factor on how the document will be perceived and understood by the reader.
Following are some areas where a proofreader’s assistance makes all the difference:
Although similar on various levels, these two variants of English do have certain noticeable differences. These include pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and usage of tense. A mix of UK – US English in one document will create inconsistency and this is especially critical if the documents are either to be submitted for any kind of approval or have different target audience than the variant of English used. Eg: color (US) & colour (UK), litre (UK) & liter (US), counseling (US) & counselling (UK).
Commas can be one of the trickiest punctuation marks to use.. Some add commas to replicate how they pause while they speak, but this doesn’t always correspond to how a comma is actually supposed to be used in a sentence. Excessive commas stretch the sentence unnecessarily whereas lack of them can either make a sentence meaningless or a laughing stock for others. Eg: "Attention: Toilet only for disabled elderly pregnant children. Thank you!" or the more popular one “Let’s eat grandpa!”
Apart from mistakes in usage of commas, some other areas that need to be thoroughly checked are capitalizations, hyphens vs. dash, additional punctuation marks, apostrophes, etc. all of which if incorrectly used can change the meaning or make it meaningless. For instance -
(I) ‘State Bank of India’ & not state bank of india (Capitalizations)
(II) “My mother’s friends have gone bonkers” & “My mothers friends have gone bonkers” (apostrophe)
(III) Half-mile is to be hyphenated but ‘half a mile’ will not be.
It is important to check if numbers have been placed properly from the source document into the translation. Besides this, there are several rules that must be followed to correctly represent numbers in content having dates, times, fractions, percentages, units, money, etc. Eg: $100 (placement of symbols before the number), 13 Wall Street (usage of figures for building and house numbers)
These are words which if wrongly used cannot be identified by a computer and must be manually checked and rectified. Words that sound and are pronounced the same but have different meanings are called as homophones. Eg: weather - whether, weight – wait, witch – which, accept – except. It is common to find people making spelling errors with such words and it is vital to make sure such mistakes are not retained in the final document.
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