We live in the era of technology, and it certainly helps us do our job more efficiently. But sometimes, simple things are the best tools, and this is why we want to talk to you about checklists. Yes, that list of items you proudly tick off to reaffirm that you have done all that you intended to do.
After editing a text, and before publishing it, it is useful to go through a checklist containing the following items. As you will note, some are specific for translated texts, but others are useful for monolingual content creation too:
Sounds basic, but you cannot imagine how many texts we get to translate that contain spelling errors. Sometimes, a spelling error can change a word completely, and this will change the meaning of the sentence. Do not run the spellchecker automatically and pay attention to every term that is corrected, as sometimes wrong corrections may be inserted.
They help to make a text more readable, but they have their own punctuation and style rules. Make sure to follow them, and if you are not sure about the rules, just take a simple one: whatever you do, do the same in all items of the bulleted list.
Communication is the key to success. You may have asked questions to your client or to other departments; make sure you have implemented the replies accordingly before publishing the text.
Although in software like Word, headers and footers are created automatically when you add the first one, check them as well, as you may want to change them once the text is finished. In the case of translation, this is usually where the language code appears, so make sure you apply the correct language code.
As spelling mistakes, punctuation errors can change the meaning of a sentence, so make sure you place commas and other punctuation marks correctly.
It may seem a freak requirement, but a text full of double, triple or even longer spaces just looks bad, see below.
|This is an example of how too many white spaces make the text look awkward. If you want to avoid it, make sure you turn hidden text on and check the white spaces between words.|
Text processors will add spaces if you choose a full justification of the text, but you have to differentiate between those automatically generated spaces and those inserted by you. How can you check that? For example, in Word, activate the hidden text (¶) and you will see a dot between each word. If you see more than one, you should remove them so that you only have one space between each word. Word will then justify the text so that it looks good.
We have already talked about translating numbers. Both for monolingual and multilingual texts, check any part of the text containing numbers, such as dates, hours, temperatures, etc. Localize them if needed and make sure (particularly for dates and hours) that you always use the same formatting.
Check that they appear where they should, and if they include text, make sure the text fits properly in the graphic. This is very important for localized graphics, as the text length may vary according to the language.
We hope this article helps you to understand the importance of checklists as a tool to improve the quality of your documents. Do you have any more items in your checklist that are worth commenting? Share them with us!