Useful materials from the Laboratory for Scientific Translation

What is the difference between editing and proofreading a text? 

In reality, many more terms are required to describe the different types of work to improve the quality of the text than just editing and proofreading. Editing can be stylistic, literary, adaptive, artistic, technical, etc., whereas proofreading implies the additional checking for spelling and syntactic errors in a manuscript. Where available, both cases also involve checking a translation against the original text to eliminate any errors that might remain in the material following the previous stage.
In simple words, editing involves deeper work with a text, including restructuring sentences and checking terminology, while proofreading involves checking punctuation marks, identifying accidental typos and/or grammatical errors.
In order to serve the publishing needs of the majority of our clients, we combine the different types of editing and proofreading in the term “linguistic editing”. When carrying out linguistic editing, we strive to adapt the text to the norms of the target language. For example, when working with an English-language text, we typically solve problems of excessive passive voice, correct article use and select more appropriate prepositions at the same time as carefully checking the consistency of terminology and its correspondence with the lexicon used in English-language discourses in the relevant field. 

Example of linguistic editing performed in the Laboratory for Scientific Translation:

Before: The study investigated the toxicity of the nonionic surfactant twain-90 for Baikal oligochaetes Mesenchytraeus bungei Michaelsen, 1901 under individual exposure and in mixtures with petroleum. The manifestation of the toxic effect in mixtures of petroleum and nonionic surfactants in concentrations at which the action of these individual substances was harmless to oligochaetes was experimentally shown. At the same time, the negative effect intensified with an increase in the concentration of both detergent and petroleum in the mixtures.

After: This study investigates the toxicity of the nonionic surfactant Twain-90, both its pure form and mixtures with oil, against the Baikal oligochaetes Mesenchytraeus bungei Michaelsen, 1901. It was experimentally shown that mixtures of the surfactant under study and oil have a toxic effect on oligochaetes at concentrations, at which the action of individual substances is harmless. At the same time, this negative effect intensifies with an increase in the concentration of both the detergent and oil in the mixtures.