Why do these tips save money? Well I am not advocating that you forget about using a professional proofreader and do it all yourself, for the obvious reason of self-interest. But if you bear these tips in mind before engaging a proofreader, you will lessen the number of corrections required, the time taken to proofread your document or publication, and hence the final bill that you have to pay.
When you have completed composing your document do not read it through straightaway. (You do check what you have written, don’t you?) Come back to it later, preferably the next day, and you will be able to spot all manner of omissions and mistakes that you might otherwise have missed.
Do not just focus on the text. Remember the headings, figure and table captions also as these are often overlooked.
Watch out for repeated or missing material, especially when you have moved text around using cut or copy and paste.
Watch your language – and I am not just talking about profanities that could be offensive to your readers, or to slang. I am talking about getting the language right for your intended readership. Use plain English and avoid technical terms when writing for the general public or layperson.
Avoid clichés like the plague! This is a very common one, but there are many others, such as: ‘at this moment in time’ or ‘in this day and age’. Just say ‘now’!
Be aware of commonly misspelt words that you can easily miss and so can a spellchecker. For instance, typing ‘mange’ instead of ‘manage’, and the wonderfully evocative ‘pubic affairs’ instead of ‘public affairs’.
If yours is an academic work, for instance a book or a journal article, with references and/or a bibliography remember to check these to the text. I usually have many queries for the author and publisher regarding citations – for example years not matching (1987 cited as 1997), the authors’ names spelt in various ways (Fisher cited as Fish or Fisk), or the authors cited in the wrong order (Allen and Talbot cited as Talbot and Allen).
Stephen York is a freelance proofreader with over 25 years' experience in book and journal publishing offering proofreading services to publishers, businesses, organizations, educational institutions, academics, students, and authors. He regularly proofreads in digital format a wide variety of media in an extensive range of specialist subject areas, including business, finance, economics, education, marketing, and real estate.