What is proofreading? – Proofreading is the activity of checking for errors in the text carefully before it is published or shared. This is the very last stage of the writing process, when you fix minor spelling and punctuation errors, typos, formatting issues, and inconsistencies.
Proofreading is essential for any text that will be shared with readers, be it academic papers, job applications, online articles, or printed brochures. Depending on your skills and budget, you may choose to proofread the text yourself or hire a professional.
In the publishing industry, proofreaders usually check printed “proofreading copies” of text and mark corrections using special correction marks. But in other fields dewabioskop21, professional correctors often work with digital text and make direct corrections using the track change feature in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
What is Proofreading vs Editing?
Editing and proofreading are different steps in the process of revising text. Editing can involve major changes to content, structure, and language, but proofreading only focuses on minor mistakes and inconsistencies.
Often a text will go through several stages of editing before being corrected. The table below shows some of the common steps in the editing process.
What is proofreading? – Four Stages of Editing and Proofreading
Step 1: Content editing
Revise an initial draft of text, often making significant changes to the content and moving, adding or removing entire sections (also known as developmental or substantive editing).
Step 2: Line editing
Revise your use of language to communicate your story, idea, or argument as effectively as possible. This may involve changing words, phrases and sentences and rearranging paragraphs to improve the flow of text.
Step 3: Copy edits
Polish individual sentences to ensure correct grammar, clear syntax, and style consistency, often following certain style guide rules (such as APA or MLA). A copy from the editor doesn’t change the content of the text, but if a sentence or paragraph is ambiguous or awkward, they can work with the author to fix it.
Step 4: Proofreading
Carefully check for remaining errors, such as misspelled words, misplaced punctuation, and stylistic inconsistencies. In print publishing, the proofreader is also responsible for checking formatting (eg page numbers and line spacing).
Proofreading Tips and Tricks
Basic proofreading skills are important for anyone who writes. For everyday texts, such as business reports, book manuscripts, blogs, or college papers, there are several techniques you can use to efficiently and effectively proofread before sharing your work.
1. Edit Your Posts First
Before you reach the final stage of proofreading, make sure you have thoroughly revised and edited your work. There’s no point in spending time fixing minor mistakes if later you might delete entire sections or rewrite paragraphs. Only proofread once you’ve got a complete final draft that you like.
2. Take a Break from Viewing Text
When you’ve been reading and rereading the same words for hours or days, it’s even harder to notice the mistake. Before proofreading, set aside your work for a while so you can see it with fresh eyes.
Ideally you should wait at least a day or two before the final check, but if you have a tight deadline, even a half hour break can help.
3. Mold correction
Seeing your words on the printed page is another useful strategy for noticing things that might have missed you on screen. If the final version is going to print, this is also a good opportunity to check your formatting is correct and consistent on the page.
4. Use Digital Shortcuts
While reading from print can help you find errors, word processing software can help you fix them efficiently. Most obviously, run a spell check – but don’t rely on the computer to catch every error.
If you notice that you repeatedly misspell a certain word, have inconsistent capitalization, or switch between UK and US English, you can use the “find” and “replace” functions to correct the same errors throughout the document.
Be careful, and don’t use “replace all”. Click and check each replacement to avoid adding more errors by mistake.
5. Learn from Mistakes
Pay attention to repeated errors in the text. This can help you avoid them in the future.
Knowing what to look out for is the most challenging part of proofreading. You may notice obvious typos, but minor grammatical and punctuation errors can be harder to spot.
6. Choosing a Proofreading Service
If you lack confidence in your written Indonesian or English, or if you just want to make sure that you don’t miss anything in an important document, you may want to consider using a professional proofreading service.
There are two main options: you can hire a freelance proofreader, or you can send your document to a proofreading and editing company. There are various things to consider when choosing a service.
Do you just need proofreading or editing?
It’s important to have a clear idea of how much work your text will need. People often think that they only need to proofread when, in fact, text would benefit from some level of editing as well.
If you send a document corrector full of grammatical errors, confusing sentences, and paragraphs that are difficult to follow, they may turn down the job or recommend another service.
Many freelancers and companies offer editing and proofing, either separately (at separate prices) or combined into one service. Make sure you fully understand the types of changes that are included. Will editors only correct minor mistakes, or will they also comment on awkward phrases and structural issues?
Should a proofreader specialize in your document type?
Many different types of documents require proofreading: from literary novels to technical reports, from PhD dissertations to promotional leaflets. The best service options are usually services that are specific to your document type.
While proofreaders and copy editors generally don’t require expert knowledge of text content, the process will be smoother if your proofreader is familiar with the rules and genre you’re working with.
How much does proofreading cost?
The cost of proofreading varies widely. The price depends in part on the location and experience level of the corrector, the type and length of the text, and the turnaround time.
Rates are usually calculated per word or per hour. If the service also focuses on formatting, it may cost per page.
How long does it take to correct?
Most companies offer a variety of deadline options, but we recommend that you plan at least 24 hours for proofreading.
For very long documents, the work may not be completed in 24 hours, especially if you also need editing services.
For a combination of proofreading and copy editing, you can choose an experienced editor finishing around 10,000–15,000 words in one day.