Proofreading is not just for books

When people think of the term ‘proofreader’ the usual image brought to mind is someone hunched over a stack of loose page proofs reading word for word against an edited typescript.

These days most proofreading is carried out on screen and is not limited to just books. There is an extensive range of print and digital media requiring the attention of a methodical and eagle-eyed proofreader. Here are just a few of the many:

• analysts’ and market reports
• annual accounts and reports for companies, charities and non-organizational bodies
• blogs
• books, including textbooks and teacher/lecturer resource books, handbooks and guidebooks
• business plans, mission statements and other corporate documents
• calendars
• catalogues and directories
• CD and DVD sleeves
• distance learning modules for courses at educational institutions such as colleges and universities, both vocational and academic
• journals – vocational and academic
• magazines
• manuals, including training, procedures and instruction
• marketing literature, such as advertisements, flyers, letters, email circulars, case studies and brochures
• menus for restaurants
• newsletters for clubs, societies, businesses or large organizations for staff, clients or investors
• packaging
• PowerPoint presentations – it is difficult to get consistency of style
• press releases
• programmes for events, such as conferences, seminars, theatre productions
• reports
• website material.

How is the reading carried out?
Proofreading against edited copy or blind, either on paper page proofs or on screen.

How are the proofreading corrections marked up?
• On paper page proofs using British Standards symbols from BS5216C:2005 or other agreed narrative comments.
• On screen for Microsoft Word documents using the ‘Track Changes’ tool under the Review tab that allows additions, deletions, corrections and queries (comments) to be recorded.
• On screen for PDFs using the ‘editing’ tools of insert, delete and comment, or sometimes also using BSI symbols if preferred.