In this post on the Trusted Translations blog, the writer (Julia S.) describes the difference between pre-editing and post-editing content as part of the translation process. Her definition of pre-editing is as follows:

“As the name suggests, pre-editing is the process of adjusting text before it is automatically translated in order to improve the raw quality of the machine translation output and to reduce the amount of work required in the post-editing process.”  

I would add that pre-editing is the process of adjusting text before it is translated. Period. It could be translated by machine translation software. The translation process could be manual, done by a person or crowdsourced. It doesn’t matter. To get the very best results out of *any* translation, pre-editing, or global readiness editing as I like to call it, is a really good idea.

The author goes on to say this about pre-editing:

“One such task is that in which the source text is written with fixed rules such as using short sentences, avoiding complex or ambiguous syntactic structures, term consistency etc. Other pre-editing tasks can involve spell checking the source text, format checking, and tagging elements in the source document that are not to be translated.”  

All of these tasks are part of global readiness. But, there is so much more to it. To do a thorough global readiness edit before translation, I always recommend that we analyze the content first and, using our state-of-the-art tools, give it a global readiness score. That way, we can see judge the quality of the source content. We also score the content after our global readiness edit, so we can clearly evaluate the results. Using our tools, we analyze the content, sentence by sentence, to flag issues that will be problematic in translation. The, we fix all of the errors. The result – source content that is easier to translate and easier to read in any language.

Finally, the author discusses the time and money involved in pre-editing before translation:

“There will always be a trade-off between time and money spent on pre-editing and post-editing. What is important for the client to keep in mind is that if a document is going to be translated into many different target languages, it probably makes more sense to spend more time in the pre-editing phase.”  

In my experience, any money spent on pre-editing is made up for in spades on the cost of the translation. Almost 100% of the time, customers who spend money pre-editing save so much more money on translation that they don’t even notice the pre-editing cost. Yes, pre-editing takes time. But, so does in-country iteration. A good, thorough pre-edit will save many review cycles in many languages after the content is translated. Let’s also remember that pre-editing is done once, on the source content. Post-editing is done as many times as the number of languages you are translating into.

For more information on our global readiness practice, click here.

You can read the full post here.


Val Swisher
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