The benefits of proofreading are many and the following are just a few examples. I will:
improve the accuracy and clarity of your writing
provide you with objectivity and a fresh pair of eyes, as the author of a business document or publication will often read what they expect to see, I will read what is really there
provide you with peace of mind and reassurance 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 you money and time by picking up errors much earlier and avoiding costly reprints.
Don’t just take my word for it: the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading has a useful page of FAQs on their website about using an editorial freelance and the benefits of proofreading or using a copyeditor.
What a proofreader does – the checks carried out
The proofreader is usually the last line of defence to check your document or publication for accuracy and consistency before publishing or circulation, and as part of the proofreading I will normally carry out the following standard checks for accuracy and quality.
The obvious checks
read the text word by word for sense
check on word usageand identify or amend words or phrases that your spellchecker would not spot, such as using ‘that’ instead of ‘than’, or ‘to’ instead of ‘too’
ensure accurate and consistent styles of spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and hyphenation have been used
check the consistency of spelling of authors’ and contributors’ names
check page, chapter, and section numbers are consecutively numbered and ordered
check page running headlines and footlines are correct
ensure table, figure, and photo captions are correct and match text references to them
check or insert page cross-references in the text
check or insert page numbers listed in the table of contents and lists of tables, figures, and photos in the preliminary pages
check footnotes or endnotes to the note cues or indicators in the text.
The less obvious checks
watch for poor end-of-line word breaks that might cause confusion or offence, e.g. ther-apist (not the-rapist) and ana-lyst (not anal-yst)
check works cited in the text to the references or bibliography section (but not the validity or accuracy of the references themselves) and ensure they are of a consistent style
alert the publisher or author to ‘widows’ (short last line of a paragraph at the top of a page) and ‘orphans’ (short first line of a paragraph at the bottom of a page)
watch for inconsistent design, style, and layout, or material that may have been missed out during production
raise queries with the author – for instance, if something does not make sense, regarding missing references, or reference discrepancies
collate authors’ answers to queries and late corrections.
Advantages 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 – almost the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle. It is particularly important where there has been incomplete or no copyediting. A proofreader can point out any errors, omissions, or inconsistencies and offer solutions.
The importance of proofreading
Why is proofreading important in business? Well, you only get one chance to impress a new client or subscriber and it is so easy to alienate an existing one with an inaccurate or confusing document. Besides the traditional books, journals, or reports, it is essential that commercial documents, press releases, social media posts, and blogs receive close checking.
Here are some words of advice about writing from published authors
“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” – Harper Lee
“Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.”– Patricia Fuller
“Self publishing is not as easy as it is portrayed! When you think you have finished your book, proof read, proof read again, and again, and again. Don’t believe it is ready until you have a hard copy proofed!” – Phil Simpkin