What are the benefits of proofreading?
Why proofread when you can use a spellchecker? Well, spellcheckers and autocorrect can be useful in a limited way (and also dangerous) but should not be relied upon in place of an experienced professional proofreader, such as myself, who can provide additional benefits and advantages of proofreading:
- provide objectivity and a fresh pair of eyes as the author of a document or publication will often read what they expect to see
- check on word usage and identify or amend words or phrases that your spellchecker would not spot, such as using ‘that’ instead of ‘than’, or ‘to’ instead of ‘too’
- check spelling and correct misspelled words or identify words used in the wrong context, e.g. ‘their’, ‘there’ or ‘they’re’
- check punctuation, grammar, and capitalization style
- provide peace of mind and assurance that your document is the best that you can make it and will be understood by the reader
- help protect your business or brand from damage caused by documents containing errors or confused wording
- add value to your business in ensuring you produce correct, concise, clear, and consistent written communications that reduce misunderstandings and queries
- save money by picking up errors much earlier and avoiding costly reprints.
As part of proof-editing
In addition to the above checks:
- check the clarity and consistency of your message and that it is suitable for the intended readership
- check the consistency of writing style, layout and presentation of facts
- smooth out differences in style where there are multiple authors or contributors to a document or publication
- improve readability and flow
- identify clichés, “legalese”, and jargon
- avoid repetition of words, phrases, or ideas.
“I would recommend him without reservation to anyone seeking the highest level of proofreading skills.”
(Testimonial from educational publishing client)
The dangers of failing to proofread
Check for problems caused by lack of proper proofreading in my blog The dangers of failing to proofread.
The value of proofreading
The proofreading stage is an important part of the document or publication production process as this is the stage at which all the tidying up is done. A proofreader can point out any errors or inconsistencies and offer solutions, avoiding you embarrassment.
Below are two examples where my proofreading input saved the client from expense and embarrassment, proving the value of proofreading.
Example 1: A text book
On proofreading a financial textbook, I reported to the publisher’s desk editor that a diagram of the accounting steps taken for a transaction was referred to in the text but had been omitted. It was large and appeared at the beginning of a long chapter and to insert an extra page to accommodate it would affect the book pagination and the index (which was currently being prepared). As there was a text reference to a previous diagram on the same page that related to a full-page diagram on the facing recto page I suggested that the diagram to be inserted should share the same page, with both being reduced in size and reoriented from portrait to landscape. Problem solved without awkward and time consuming renumbering.
Example 2: Annual Report and Accounts
I was proofreading a firm’s Annual Report and Accounts and on checking the list of directors found that one person was listed as ‘Director of Communications and Pubic Affairs’. The client was mightily relieved when I reported the correction I made to it to read ‘public’.
Do not gamble with the reputation and future of yourself or your business – invest in quality proofreading from Stephen York Editorial Services. The cost of proofreading could work out less than you think, but the cost of not proofreading could be substantially more!