We recently spoke with Jacqueline Parkison, one of Tembua's virtual project managers, about the other half of her career.
Tembua: I realize that you also are a published author, but today I'd like to discuss the work you do for major publishing houses. Can you first tell us the difference between editing and revising, particularly as the latter is used in the translation industry?
JP: Glad to be speaking with you! Defining these terms can be challenging.
In the translation industry, "editing" and "revising" are often used interchangeably. Both refer to the work done by a linguist who examines a translator's work in order to fix errors and make improvements in accuracy, consistency, and style. The term "revising" is used particularly to distinguish such linguistic changes from the more content-focused changes made by a subject matter expert editor (SME), who is an expert in their field but not necessarily a linguist. When an SME is involved in a project, the document goes from the translator to the SME, then to the second linguist, who polishes the translation while incorporating the SME's edits. To avoid confusion, this third stage is generally referred to as revision.
Outside the translation industry, the difference between editing and revising lies largely in the relationship between the person and the document. Revision is an overhaul of the work by someone who has control over it - the writer, or someone to whom the writer relinquishes the final say on their document, such as a boss. Editing can be done by the writer or by another person, but the implication is that the edits are for the writer's approval.