The main idea is to make sure the editor did not introduce any errors. Often, client’s editors are not professional linguists, so they rely on your expertise to fix errors that are obvious to a professional translator, but are not to others. Additionally, they might not have the same level of understanding of the project that you have, by having worked many hours on the translation, so it is your job to “share your wisdom” and explain why certain changes are incorrect. Let’s look at some of the most important translators’ tasks more closely:
When your translation gets reviewed by an end client’s editor, it is best to accept all changes unless the editor introduces errors. After all, it is the end client who pays for the translation and it is their right to have it as they want it. There is no point in contesting their changes. If it is difficult for you to suppress your opinion, say that the changes are preferential and you liked your translation better, but it is okay to implement the changes.
If your translation has been revised by an agency’s editor—another linguist—you may want to defend your work more fiercely, because this editor does not have the final say and may be less qualified than you in the first place. If you agree with all the changes, it may appear unfairly that your work was flawed.
Your translation might deviate from the original intentionally, because you thought it fit the context better. But you did not have a chance to explain your linguistic choice to the editor, and the editor has changed your translation to a literal one. Now that you have a chance to explain your choice while reviewing the edits, do so and reverse the editor’s change if you think it makes the translation inaccurate.
As a translator, you have the tools to ensure consistency, such as a project glossary and a QA tool to check terminology, but the editor does not necessarily have them. For this reason, it is your job to check whether the editor’s changes are made consistently throughout the files. If the editor changed something in one file, but not in another, be sure to implement the change globally.
Spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors
As a professional translator, you are in a much better position to see such errors introduced by the editor. Also, clients’ editors do not always look at the entire sentence when they change a part of it, so the other part may become grammatically incongruent with the change. An editor who is too focused on the change itself may fail to notice the dissonance. Therefore, when you review the changes, you must look at the entire sentence to make sure the change did not wreak havoc with the rest of the sentence.
When asked to review the changes made by an editor to your translation, focus on adding value, rather than making fun of the editor or blindly assuming that he/she knows better. It is your job to make sure that the translation remains correct after the edits.