Not a lot of people know this: proofreading goes a lot deeper than just a spell check. Copy-editing and proofreading are similar but not the same.
Both can be performed by the same person simultaneously; these are specialised skills offered by trained professionals to improve the quality and consistency of what you publish.
When you need your draft text made ready for publication, you need to consider not just accurate spelling and punctuation; it also needs to be interesting, easy to follow and fit for purpose. Copy-editing is a natural partner to basic proofreading.
So when WordPerfectVA completes a “proofreading” task, copy-editing is always part and parcel of the service delivered. In industry, proofreading is the very last part of the process before it goes to the typesetter for a formal publication like a newspaper or magazine.
What a proofreader does
A proofreader performs the final quality check before publication, after or simultaneously with the copy-editing.
The aim is to highlight all remaining errors before publication. Scope for change at this point is limited as any changes at this late stage may be costly, so proofreaders flag issues only when necessary. These may include:
- page numbers, headings, tables of contents
- consistency of style in spellings, typography and layout
- illustrations and figures
But proofreading alone will not give a satisfactory result to your article or web page; it may not have the necessary “hook” to keep your readers interested, and may sound amateurish and lack “sparkle”. For the very best results, use a skilled copy-editor whose natural talent includes proofreading.
A copy-editor will:
- eliminate errors and omissions
- smooth inconsistencies
- remove unnecessary repetition
- check for style and usage
- ensure consistent formatting
- highlight factual mistakes
- correct spelling, punctuation and grammar errors
And then there may be deeper problems for your copy editor to deal with:
- content, structure and references
- language and tone
- illustrations, graphs and tables
- potential legal issues
Integral to helping you to create content that will interest your readers, a good copy-editor will suggest more in-depth changes if he feels it will enhance your writing, while taking care not to interfere with the core message.
WordPerfectVA is a member of the Society for Editors & Proofreaders