To edit means to review a product (audio, image, text, video) and change/modify it if needed.
When it comes to text, there are three main types of editing: proofreading, copyediting, and content editing.
Proofreading involves getting rid of the cosmetic errors. It doesn’t imply re-working or re-arranging the text. It’s often the last step in the writing/editing process.
Copyediting is about improving the style, formatting and accuracy of the text. It may include re-working, or re-arranging part of it. Its goal is to make sure that there aren’t inconsistencies, and that the style flows well.
Content editing entails adding, removing, or re-writing portions of the text.
NOTE: I want to credit Miranda Marquit for sharing her expertise on the subject.
When editing, it’s fundamental to accomplish the following:
Of course, It’s essential to check spelling and grammar. There are also several factors to bear in mind:
► Standard language
Those factors clearly highlight the importance of knowing the language culture. For instance, if the text is a translation, you have to either find an equivalent or adapt the context from the source to the target. That’s why I always insist that a good translator has to be more than being a bilingual person.
The final product must meet the client’s expectations. It’s very important to know who’s the intended audience.
Although I mostly focus on translation projects, I’ve been taking on editing assignments throughout the years. These are some examples:
I proofread the marketing campaign On The Move for Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), as well as Spanish-language medical forms for Covenant Health.
As a member of Translators Without Borders, I often take on translation and proofreading jobs. For instance, I’ve reviewed content that has been translated from English into Spanish for organizations such as the Consortium for Street Children (CSC) and College Possible.
I copyedited a revised edition of the Introduction to Judaism course book Sobre Un Pie, which is the Spanish edition of On One Foot (edited by Rabbi Adam Greenwald from the American Jewish University).
Unless specifically not asked to, I’ve always felt that translators must also edit their projects. Still, it’s always desirable that another professional intervenes before delivering the work: two heads are (usually) better than one.