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The Painstaking Task of Rereading your Translation

Personally, one of the things about that gets under my skin is having to check over it once I’m done. I hate it. But after a few jobs where I wanted to bang my head against the wall because I hadn’t gone back over it and spotted my stupid mistake (but of course someone else did, and was kind enough to point it out to me)…..Well, let’s just say that I accepted that is a must and cannot be avoided. And it may seem unnecessary if our is going to be revised by an editor, but isn’t it better for us to correct our errors before they do?

My solution? I always try to leave at least a couple of minutes before delivery time for going back over it. 10 or 15 minutes is plenty. The first three or four minutes are to relax: I finished the job. I’m no longer looking for words, I’m not after that exact phrase. I’m done translating. I go to the kitchen for some juice, maybe eat an apple, or step out on the balcony for some fresh air. And then I come back to face the final step.

I run spell check (for Word documents, which are the most common for me), which is necessary and helpful. But you have to remember that it’s not perfect: spell check doesn’t know when “sí” needs an accent and when it doesn’t, when you want to say “tale” or “tall” or when you’ve mistakenly written “his high-heels.” You have to reread the text, there’s no way around it. Sit down and read it closely and carefully. The little break between helps you distance yourself from it a bit, making it seem “newer.” Being so into the text causes our eyes to play tricks on us, leading us to believe that we had written evrey word perfectly…