This article addresses the nature of the interaction between translators and copy-editors in the process preceding the publication of literary translations in Norway. The copy-editing of translations is here understood as a potentially face-threatening act. The aim of the article is to take copy-editors’ politeness strategies and translators’ experiences with impoliteness and relate them to the professional role of copy-editors. The material for the study consists of nine translation drafts with copy-editors’ comments and changes, and 14 semi-structured qualitative interviews with copy-editors, translators and publishing editors. The study employs quantitative and qualitative analyses and compares data from the translation drafts, described in positive terms by those who produced it, with accounts of negative experiences from the copy-editing process, as accounted for in the qualitative interviews. I argue that both copy-editors and translators are well aware of the potential for conflict in the copy-editing process. Experienced copy-editors therefore tend to be very polite, which can be regarded as an aspect of their acquired communicative competence. I also argue that some of the negative experiences of copy-editors and translators may be linked to the overall low degree of professionalization of Norwegian copy-editors as an occupational group.
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