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Internal review: preference vs. correction

When it comes to the internal review, the “preference vs. correction” debate is contentious for both translators and reviewers! It’s important to remember languages are not only constantly evolving, they also vary enormously between regions, and speakers.

Paradoxically, most people (linguists and non-linguists alike) are convinced that THEIR version of their language is the “right” one! Consequently, anything we don’t agree with is automatically categorised as a “mistake”. Whereas, it’s best to have an open mind when it comes to language use.

Preference vs. correction

You can see some specific examples of “corrections” made by internal reviewers here: Internal Review: Case Study

However, as a general rule we assess corrections in the following way:

1 : QS ERROR. The client is right. Our version contains a clear error (semantic, syntactic, spelling, or grammar) and we apologize.

2 : ACCURATE SUGGESTION. Our version is not incorrect, but we prefer the client’s version.

3 : PREFERENTIAL SUGGESTION. The client’s suggestion is as correct as ours. We will take note for future projects. 

4 : INACCURATE SUGGESTION. The client’s suggestion is not incorrect, but we prefer our version.

5 : CLIENT ERROR. In our opinion, the client’s suggestion introduces a new error that our version did not contain.

In summary

The best possible result for corporate communications is achieved through the combination of professional linguists and knowledgeable reviewers. Furthermore, optimising the internal review process is often the key to success. 

Precisely because they’re so important, reviewers should be chosen on the basis of their technical knowledge (product, market, etc.), their availability, and their positive attitude. 

Generally, the reviewer should stick to reviewing technical terminology, and/or assessing whether the result is appropriate for their home market. Although it is a huge temptation to do so, reviewers should not offer (or refuse to accept) opinions on other aspects of the translation.

For more on this topic please see, The Role of the Internal Reviewer

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