Ever wonder what happens to your text after you send it to a translator? Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at one possible workflow used by professionals.

Step 1: Read and Learn

A good understanding of the original document is essential. This is where the translator will identify any gaps in knowledge or terminology.

Step 2: Research

At this step, the translator might do extra readings to better understand the background of the material, seek out useful glossaries or consult similar documents for inspiration.

Step 3: Draft

A first draft is produced. It’s not perfect yet, but all the essential information is there on the page, ready to be tweaked and polished.

Step 4: Edit for Style

Missing sentences, misinterpretations, lack of logical connections between paragraphs, wordiness that obscures the meaning – all these errors get spotted and corrected to ensure a reader-friendly piece. Some translators even read their work aloud at this stage to make sure the prose flows well.

Step 5: Copy Edit

Are the abbreviations consistent? Have proverbs and idiomatic expressions been properly rendered in the target language? Are the facts straight? Are all modifiers correctly tucked into their place? Do all subjects and verbs agree? At the copy-editing phase, the professional checks for accuracy, consistency, coherence and completeness.

Step 6: Proofread

Here, all little details get another once-over. Headings, numbers, word division, spelling and layout are reviewed by one or even two people.

There you have it! Six steps used by professionals to produce a clear, accurate and readable finished product that reflects the original. No wonder Google Translate can’t always get it right!