Many years ago, a friend of mine who studied engineering at National University of Singapore (NUS) asked me how I proofread my translation and transcription work.

The answer that I provided remains valid until today. I said that I completed the first draft on this day, and checked it on the next. To be exact, the first version and final version are separated by a night’s rest or an afternoon nap.

Sleep is important for me to have a clear mind to pick out the mistakes of the first version. A point which my engineering friend agreed. He said this method also works for checking his mathematical work.

The problem is, some translation work requires quick turnaround and you don’t actually have time to check it after a nap. If that is the case, the only way out is to always be careful with your writing.

好多年前,有一位在新加坡國立大學攻讀工程學的朋友問我,通常如何檢查自己的翻譯和謄寫文件。

時至今日,當年我提供的答案依然有效。我說通常今天完成初稿,第二天修訂定稿。簡單來說,初稿與定稿通常隔了一晚的睡眠,或者一個午覺。

睡眠可以讓我再一次精神抖擻,以清晰思路挑出初稿的錯誤。我的工程學系朋友也很認同這一點,他說這個也是檢查數學工作的方法。

問題在於有些翻譯案子要求速戰速決,你不會有時間等到午覺之後才交稿。面對如此緊急的交稿期,唯一方法就是下筆寫字的時候多花些心思。