To start off this blog we’ll begin with a simple question: ‘What is proofreading?’
When you think of proofreading, you might initially think of fixing spelling mistakes and deleting typos. While that is an important part, there is so much more involved. Even the definition of proofreading has changed over the years.
Traditionally, proofreading was one of the final stages in the publishing process, and this is often still the case in the publishing industry. The proofreader works on a final set of ‘proofs’ to ensure that no errors were missed during the earlier editing process.
What does the proofreader focus on? Their main concern is what you’d expect – correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Yet, words are not the only focus of the proofreader. The way the words are laid out, or the format, of a document are also a key concern. Perhaps extra spaces were added by accident, or the font size or type used does not match with the rest of the document. The highest priority of the proofreader is to ensure that the document looks its very best, adding those little finishing touches that enhance the writer’s work. (Now you can see how I got my business name!)
These skills are still key to the role of a proofreader today but in the modern world, the lines have become blurred. Previously, the proofreader would never have made major alterations because they were in the final stages before publication, and it simply wasn’t possible. Nowadays, with the ability to work onscreen and to amend text with a few keystrokes, proofreaders have more flexibility. They still check for the usual spelling mistakes but now they can have greater input on the content and structure of a piece. If necessary, they can advise clients if text doesn’t flow well, or if it would be better to rearrange a few paragraphs. They might even provide a formatting service. This can be a time-consuming task for clients so how convenient it is to have a dedicated service for it!
You might wonder to yourself: ‘Do I really need a proofreader?’ Well, it always helps to have a second pair of eyes just in case you miss something. It is far easier to edit something before it has been published or sent out than afterwards. Also, as with formatting, checking for every little error can be time consuming. None of us have enough time anymore, so why not ask someone who’s qualified to help you edit? It can ease any pressure on you and give you back some precious time.
All the ins and outs of English spelling, grammar and punctuation might seem overwhelming to you, especially if you are not a native English speaker. Why not get in touch today and see how I can help you improve your writing with a few simple tweaks?