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Guidelines for the Translation Production Process

Full transparency on the part of all professionals – editor, translator, reviser, consultant, and proof-reader –involved in the editing process contributes greatly to the quality of the end product. Anonymity hinders accountability and may lead to misunderstandings. Contact between all those involved, throughout the entire process, is highly desirable.

1. When assigning a translation, the editorial staff should choose the translator best qualified for the book in question (if necessary after submission of a test piece, which the translator will readily accept), involving him or her in identifying the target readership, discussing required stylistic aspects, and providing the manuscript evaluation forms that have warranted publication of the book.

2. Before accepting the assignment, the translator needs to have examined the text and assessed both its difficulty and the time available, undertaking to respect all deadlines and to abide by the style guide received together with the contract.

3. It is advisable for the reviser to be appointed during the course of the translation process so that, if necessary, the translator can make contact with him or her before delivering the translation. Any major problems or discrepancies may thus be brought up during this stage and, if possible, solved through direct contact with the author. Where practicable, both the translator and the reviser should be given the source text in digital form, as this enables rapid searches and may help avoid errors.

4. By means of comments or notes in the digital file (and/or in an accompanying message), the translator will explain his or her general strategy and decisions, doubts, and linguistic choices. The reviser will take these indications into consideration (discussing any controversial matters with the translator) and, if necessary, will make his or her own comments. This documentation should accompany the manuscript throughout the process, through to the final proof.

5. All translators, even the very best, need to be assisted by an expert reviser, who will correct their work against the source text. The reviser should preferably have the necessary language skills to understand the source text. Should this not be the case, close cooperation with the translator is even more essential.

6. Ideally, the reviser should neither re-translate nor impose their own personal linguistic style. Before intervening on any sentence, they should ask themselves not so much what “can” be improved as what “must” be improved.

7. The purpose of revision is to perfect the translation and to ensure that the final solutions are the best possible. The reviser is often the first reader of the text, and the modifications he or she suggests are important for the translator. Communication is essential for ensuring a constructive attitude, so it is important for both translator and reviser to adopt a cooperative and courteous tone, however many corrections there may be.

8. When the revision is complete, the translator must receive the file with the modifications clearly indicated, so that he or she can assess each one. If possible, and if the translator so wishes, the corrections may also be sent in printed form. The translator has the right to receive the first and, time permitting, also the second proof, and must be given a sufficient number of days to examine it.

9. All those involved in the revision process need sufficient time to do a job well done. Any changes to the specified delivery dates must be notified promptly.

10. To sum up, the translator needs to be aware of their role as a mediator between two languages and two cultures, in which they have particular expertise, undertaking to put their skills at the service of the editorial staff throughout the entire process, from its initial formulation through to promotion of the published book.

by “Gruppo Decalogo SNS”: Anna Mioni (coord.), Federica Aceto, Laura Cangemi, Roberta Scarabelli, Giovanna Scocchera
Translated by Simon Turner

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