What is Galley Proofing and the Importance of Context

Galley proofing is a final review of a text before it’s published. As you may imagine, this final proofreading is vital when internationalizing content to a high, and satisfactory, level. It is mandatory to pay attention to context, issues which go beyond purely linguistics. This is what happens, for example, when translating websites, leaflets, or catalogues.

Texts form part of the whole design and have a fundamental importance. Translation services will not be of an acceptable standard if context is ignored. Therefore, it’s essential to hire galley proof services if we want to go global.


Galley proof vs Proofreading

We are all familiar with, and conscious of, the need to spell check and proofread our texts after completing any piece of translation work.  But one thing that is not always practised, and is just as important, is galley proofing, also known as the final review of texts.

In many cases, for example, a web page is designed without any thought given to the fact that it is going to be translated into different languages. When this happens, the original layout of the site may lead users wrong precisely because of its layout rather than the translation.


Correcting Galley Proofs: character limits and syllables

The most common thing that occurs when content is translated is that there are more characters in the translated piece than in the original box. This means that when people visit the site or check the catalogue, they will see that the text is overlapping with another text or has not been adjusted correctly to where it should be. Hiring galley proofing services will prevent this from happening.

Another frequent problem with website localization, or translating documents with a defined layout, is splitting syllables. Even though we usually blame the translator, this is just another clear example of the importance of reviewing a translation in context. Here, the problem nearly always comes from the layout phase, where the syllables of the target language were not kept in mind.


Final Review and Terminology

However, the biggest mistakes that come from ignoring the context are those that affect the terminology used in the translated content. Sometimes, a simple image can act as a hint to the translation team, so they know what term to use. Do you now see why galley proof corrections are essential?

For example, an “accessible house” in Spanish —a house that is accessible for people with physical disabilities—, can translate incorrectly into English as
affordable house —a house that is financially accessible—. Thus, in correcting galley proofs, the expert will realise about this misunderstanding, which can be easily avoided if the visual context includes an International Symbol of Access.


Galley proofs or why you should check texts in context

Galley proofing before launching a website or a catalogue allows you to identify issues and adapt the content to your context, guaranteeing that it is still relevant and coherent, and your target audience can recognise and fully understand.

Final reviews are essential to avoid the product setting out a careless design and a translation that is out of context. Having this in mind, at Ontranslation translation agency, apart from proofreading after all translation projects, we also offer free galley proof services to ensure contextualization of translated content. Because translating is more than just the transformation of words.

Need further information about our proofreading or galley proof services?


About the author

Oscar Nogueras

Es el CEO de Ontranslation y dedica algunos ratos libres a escribir en este blog para compartir sus conocimientos sobre internacionalización, cross-border ecommerce y Traducción SEO. No es para menos, ya que entre su formación cuenta con una licenciatura en filología inglesa, un máster en tradumática, un posgrado en elearning y un MBA. En definitiva, una declaración de intenciones donde la cultura y los idiomas se sirven mezclados, no agitados.

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