What is academic revision?

Revising academic texts consists of reading and correcting the spelling, grammar and terminology of an academic document (thesis, articles, scientific papers, essays, etc.) This process also involves correcting errors in style and verifying bibliography, quotes and references.

Revising academic texts can sometimes be more complicated than the translation itself. The reviser needs to be aware of even the slightest deviation or error in the target language. In short, any mistake could be made by the translator or editor.

How is academic revision any different from other types of revision?

Normally all texts, no matter the field or whether they’re a translation or an original text, should go through a reviser before being published. Yet, this isn’t always the case and can be seen through the many mistakes that can be easily found in books and articles. Even when many revisers are involved in perfecting a text, there could still be mistakes made (double spacing, a wrongly placed comma…). Imagine how the text might be when it’s not at all revised.


Who needs academic revisers?

This service is usually employed by researchers that write articles in a language that isn’t their native tongue. As such, the text needs revising to rid it of any problems with spelling, grammar, style and terminology.


The academic reviser

In the academic world, we are confronted with an additional problem: specialised texts. Revisers need to not only be aware of the problems with spelling, grammar, and style, but also they need to know the text’s specialisation in order to be able to confirm the terminology used. Using this knowledge, they are also able to check that the citations follow the text norm and that the references are coherent. What’s more, they can verify the register, how the text is drafted and also that the style is appropriate according to the text type.

Hence, the academic reviser has to have considerable experience not only in revising but also in translation, in being specialised in a variety of fields, in having a near-native fluency in the language pair and in being meticulous when revising. This all serves to make sure the reviser does not miss even the slightest mistake.

As the old saying goes ‘two heads are better than one‘. The same applies to revisers. If possible, it is better to use two revisers to correct a text as the level of perfectionism is greatly increased.


International publications

You may be wondering why we translate so many academic texts and why they need to be revised. Research teams in universities work non-stop to make progress in their respective fields. Such progress is undoubtedly of interest to an international audience who are also in the same academic/scientific field. As such, the teams look to share their specialised work by publishing and translating articles.

The most likely case is that, for the publication of an article on the international stage, the work needs to be translated into English. Every periodical follows its own defined style guide and as such the translation process is not just a simple question of writing and translating into English. The text needs adapting. There are also issues relating to the orthography of numbers and signs, which often vary from language to language. They, therefore, should not be ignored either.

I hope that, through this article, any doubts or questions you may have had relating to the world of academic revision, have been answered. But, if you find yourself needing more information, do not hesitate to get in touch. Who better to ask questions to about academic revision, than to someone who is a reviser themself.


(Image designed by gstudioimagen and uploaded to Freepik)

About Xerezade Ansedes López

Graduate Degree in Translation and Interpreting from Universidade de Vigo, Spain. Degree in English Language and German from Bangor University, UK. English teacher and translator and proofreader in the German and English to Spanish combinations. Published author.

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