Editing: Outsmarting the Brain’s Wite-Out Feature

It doesn’t happen very often, but the other day, a good client cautioned me that my translation would go straight to the client because of time constraints. The usual "do your best and self-edit" followed. Well, don’t I always do my best and self-edit before delivering, even if there’s an editor who looks at my translation? Of course, but in these cases I do want to add another round of proofing to my procedure to outsmart what I call my brain’s wite-out feature. I was reminded of this when I read a blogpost called Edit Thyself in the New York Times.

"One is the downside of our brain’s highly developed “autocorrect” function. Dropped and extraneous words are frequently overlooked, because we automatically ‘see’ what we think we should be seeing. Some editors have tricks to try to overcome this tendency, such as proofreading with all but one line of type covered at a time. This forces you to slow down and see what’s really there, not what your brain expects to find."

To increase my chances of finding my own errors, I generally:

  1. Avoid proofreading immediately after I’ve finished a translation
  2. Look at those segments first I translated at the end of the day
  3. Print out a copy if I think I need a “fresh” look at things
  4. Proofread in the morning when my brain hasn’t already been bombarded with thousands of words

What I haven’t tried yet but will is using a Text-to-Speech program, such as TextAloud by NextUp http://www.nextup.com/TextAloud/ Perhaps someone has had some experience they would like to share?

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