Who proofreads our German texts?
I started correcting and editing texts for TRANSLATION-PROBST whilst I was working as a German language and cultural history teacher at the Zürich University of Applied Sciences. But now I am retired and have plenty of time to do this interesting work. I still work with language, but not with theories and models like I did when I was a lecturer. Now I work with language in practical terms – with different texts about different subjects. Sometimes I’m amazed at how different our work at the university was from what I do now, but this conflict between theory and practice will probably always be there.
I see real people in front of me when I’m correcting and editing texts – those who have written them and those who will read them. To some extent I know what they are looking for: texts need to be accurate and understandable, and they need to have an effect on the reader. Of course my knowledge gained from teaching linguistics helps me – for example I can use my understanding of functional and pragmatic styles- but I am more concerned with the way in which language is used.
I have always worked intensively with literature, and I still do. You may think that I have to put this aspect of language to one side in my work as a proofreader / editor, but that is not the case. Even correcting and editing factual texts has an element of creativity to it. I play with the different ways of expressing something and I pay attention to the sound of the language. Obviously in this respect I have more freedom when I write my own texts- I am more conservative as a proofreader / editor. I don’t like the superficial language that you read everywhere these days which isn’t made of proper sentences. Vitality, clarity and intelligibility can also be achieved by using language that is commonly understood and which retains the basic elements of German.