What is the difference in roles and responsibilities between a Translator, Editor and Reviewer?

In the field of translation the responsibilities of the roles of the translator, editor and reviewer can become a bit confusing. For tiny projects there is typically not a need for a complete team of experts to provide an accurate translation.

In the case of smaller projects, the translator may also take on the role of editor and reviewer. For larger projects more than one person is responsible for the final translated text, so here is a breakdown of how we define these roles:

The translator is the lead and is responsible for the bulk of the work. The translator is an expert in the subject matter or content of the source document. For example, the translator may have an engineering background in addition to extensive experience in writing in both their native language and the source language. Even though all text is proofread by another team member, translators are still responsible for checking their own work.

The editor verifies the quality of the translation. The editor is a qualified linguist that proofreads for errors related to grammar or syntax. The general purpose of the editing step is to catch typographical errors and other mistakes that have inadvertently crept into the text. The editor also ensures fidelity to the original corresponding source text. Typically the editor will also have a solid background in the subject matter of the source document.

In some workflows a document may be reviewed by a third person. This third person is usually referred to as a reviewer. There are generally two types of reviewers:

An internal (to Argo) reviewer will review the translation after all formatting is complete. The reviewer ensures that there are no typographical errors incorporated during the DTP phase. The reviewer may also focus on checking the accuracy of software references, localized graphics and other requirements that might be specific to the project.

A client reviewer is someone on the client’s side who reviews and/or approves the final translation. The client review step may be a requirement, but it is important that the client reviewer have extensive experience and knowledge about the topic.

For further reading on the topic of client reviews, check out another recent post on the necessary qualifications for a client reviewer.