Revising Translations of Fellow Freelancers: The Dos and Don’ts

When it comes to revising another translator’s work, it’s akin to stepping into someone else’s kitchen. You want to maintain the delicate balance of respecting their craft while ensuring the final dish is a masterpiece. As someone deeply immersed in the world of translation, here’s my take on the dos and don’ts of revising another translator’s work.


  1. Start with a Positive Note Begin by acknowledging the strengths and successes of the initial translation. Highlighting what works well sets a constructive tone for the revision process.
  2. Understand the Original Intent Take the time to grasp the context, audience, and purpose of the translation. Understanding the original intent helps in preserving the essence while making necessary improvements.
  3. Provide Clear Explanations When suggesting changes, offer clear explanations for your revisions. Transparency fosters a collaborative environment and ensures that the original translator comprehends the reasoning behind the edits.
  4. Maintain Consistency Consistency is key in translation. Ensure that terminology, style, and tone are uniform throughout the document. A cohesive piece not only looks professional but also aids reader comprehension.
  5. Respect the Translator’s Voice Every translator has a unique voice. While refining the work, be mindful of preserving the original translator’s voice and style. Enhance without overshadowing.
  6. Seek Clarification When Needed If aspects of the original translation are unclear or seem inconsistent, don’t hesitate to seek clarification. Effective communication ensures that revisions align with the intended message.


  1. Overhaul Without Justification Avoid making extensive changes without providing clear justifications. Respect the effort put into the initial translation and ensure that revisions are purposeful.
  2. Dismiss Cultural Nuances Translation involves more than words; it embodies cultural nuances. Don’t disregard these subtleties. Instead, strive to enhance cultural authenticity in the revised version.
  3. Ignore Translator’s Notes If the original translator has included notes or explanations, don’t disregard them. These insights offer valuable context and can prevent misinterpretations during the revision process.
  4. Assume Superiority While revising, avoid an authoritative tone that implies superiority. Collaboration is key, and acknowledging the shared goal of producing the best possible translation fosters a positive working relationship.
  5. Neglect Proper Communication Effective revision requires clear communication. Don’t overlook the importance of providing feedback in a respectful and constructive manner. Clarity in communication ensures that both parties are on the same page.