TEP is a popular acronym used in the translation industry which stands for Translation, Editing and Proofreading, a cornerstone of the workflow of many language service providers. These three steps are arguably the most important stages of any translation project which will ensure a high-quality outcome.
While the process may vary between each project, the core stages are fixed. Each stage consists of different linguists who have had little to no communication with one another, to reduce any sort of bias within the team which directly impacts the quality of work.
This is the first step in any translation project and makes up the majority of the whole TEP process. Translation involves the rendering of content from a source language (SL) to a target language (TL). Linguists who are involved in this stage are native or bilingual speakers of the TL, likely with prior experience on the subject that they are working on. At this stage, context is extremely important to ensure the text is accurately interpreted. Translators might also make use of computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, such as translation memories or glossaries to aid the process and comply with any client-specific guidelines or regulatory requirements.
The next step is editing, the crucial stage where the text is checked for compliance with any specifications the client has provided for the project. Any potential grammar, spelling and punctuation issues are also picked up and corrected. Editors have access to the source text (ST) so that they are able to refer back and make sure the target text (TT) accurately reflects the meanings found in the ST.
Oftentimes, editing is a continuous back and forth process between the editor and translator(s), and this collaborative approach is what ensures a high-quality translation. The ultimate goal of the editor is to make sure that the translation is clear and aligns with the project’s goal.
In this final stage, the proofreader will scour the translated text for any grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Proofreaders do not have access to the source text, and will only verify that it is legible and error-free. The purpose of this stage is to identify any errors that may have slipped by during the editing stage and should never be regarded as an unnecessary step.
A key takeaway here is that there is no shortcut to quality, and TEP is essential for creating high-quality translations. When looking for translation services, it’s important to seek companies that incorporate this process. Without the professional input that editors and proofreaders bring to a project, you run the risk of delays or additional costs to correct mistakes that could otherwise be avoided. TEP is ideal for high-visibility documents and vital marketing materials, or simply for those who seek out quality translations.