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Just as tiling contractors can surely tell the difference between furan and epoxy grouts or tailors know how a cross stitch differs from a slip stitch, in the language service industry we can differentiate between various text- and language-related services in our sleep.

As with any professional, it is our job to provide you, our clients with a service that best fits your needs. If we clearly communicate what you can expect from us, we can give you the right options, so you can make an informed decision. Our new series of articles aims to do just that! Let us first take a dive into the four most common types of text improvement services.


Starting with the most straightforward one, to proofread a text means to thoroughly read through it and correct any grammatical or basic stylistic errors. Proofreading is in the vast majority of cases performed by a native speaker of the language in which the text was written. In cases of highly specialised texts, the proofreader should also have a deep understanding of the subject field and associated terminology. The aim of proofreading is to check if the text is grammatically sound, reads well, and is written in the appropriate register. Unless absolutely necessary, a proofreader will not heavily edit the text or rewrite it completely. If the proofread text is a translation, a proofreader will also not check it against the source to ensure it was transferred correctly from one language into another.

Proofreading is recommended for a wide variety of texts that are generally written well and require a second reading to iron out any small imperfections.


Revision refers to a combination of proofreading of a translation and comparing it to the source document. To complete this twofold task, the reviser therefore needs to be fluent in both the source language of the original document and (ideally) a native speaker of the language of the translation. The reviser must catch any omissions, mistranslations, or other localisation errors that the translator could have made. Apart from linguistic expertise, it is also crucial that the reviser is familiar with the subject matter of the translation. It is thus not uncommon that revisers are translators themselves and regularly perform both services.

With many translation agencies, revision by an independent linguist is often included in the translation service aimed at delivering a quality final product. Revision can also be a standalone service if you already have a translation that has not undergone a quality assurance check. Even excellent translators can make mistakes and any translation, no matter how good, benefits from an extra pair of eyes.


Editing can best be described as proofreading’s big brother. If the latter only makes small tweaks to an already well-written text, editing gives it a more thorough makeover. Apart from correcting any mistakes, editors will rework the text to make it flow better, sound clearer and read more appropriately in terms of register, as well as contain richer vocabulary and more inclusive language, all while retaining its intended meaning and purpose. Most proofreaders are also editors, as the qualifications are similar: apart from having native proficiency in the requested language, they must also be knowledgeable about the topic of the text to be able to adapt and rewrite it with confidence.

If a text sent for proofreading is of poor quality, a proofreader may suggest editing as the only option to sufficiently improve the text. Editing can also replace proofreading in the process of revising a translation if the latter is not done well enough. In this case, of course, the editor must be proficient in both languages.


This is a fairly new type of service that is closely tied to machine translation. As machine translation continues to improve and can in some cases provide decent results, post-editing emerged as a solution to review and improve machine-translated text and bring it up to the level of a regular human translation. The potential drawbacks and mistakes of machine translation differ from errors made by a writer or translator. A machine translation may make contextual mistakes, fail to recognise figurative or idiomatic expressions and client- or industry-specific terminology, and create a number of other problems that are less likely to be made by a human translator. A well-trained post-editor is aware of these issues and able to spot and fix errors, then remodel or rewrite the text until it meets the desired standard.

Perhaps in the future, AI-powered machine translation will reach such a high level of accuracy that post-editing will become obsolete. Right now, it remains a crucial step in the process if a machine-translated text is to be published or used for anything more than basic comprehension.

At Alamma, we are happy to review and improve your text using any of the discussed methods, either as a standalone service or in combination with translation. Contact us here to place an order or seek our advice.

To help you decide which service best meets your needs when paired with a translation order, join us next month for more tips and tricks of our trade. We may not know our stitches, but we do know a whole lot about languages!