Spotlight on: Proofreading

Posted on 10th November 2022

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Hiring a proofreader may seem like an unnecessary expense, but using one can be the difference between your clients having faith in your service, product or company or looking elsewhere. 

Spell checkers are all well and good for picking up when you've misspelt a word. They can't, however, identify when you've:

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Used a real word but in the wrong context, for example, complimentary instead of complementary
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Omitted a word completely - particularly important if it's a word crucial to your meaning, such as 'not'
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Mistyped an acronym or initialism

These are real-life examples from scripts I've proofed and, I believe, show that using a proofreader to look over your work is a worthwhile investment. After all, as the saying goes, "You don't get a second chance to make a first impression."

What I offer:

The service I usually offer clients is proofreading 'with a light copy edit'. This can be viewed as 'the final polish'.

I work at sentence level and check:

βœ” Spelling, grammar and punctuation
βœ” Homophones (e.g. there, their, they're)
βœ” Consistency in use of capitalisation, date and time format, font, etc.
βœ” Hard to read sentences
βœ” Repetition
βœ” Verb tenses
βœ” Formatting and layout
βœ” Page, chapter or clause numbering
βœ” Numbering in any tables, figures and illustrations
βœ” Departure from your style guidelines (if you have any. If not, I can create some for you)

For clarity, a developmental ('big picture') edit is not part of my remit. This includes concept, plot, characters, pace, dialogue and flow. Although, of course, I would flag up anything I happen to spot!

I normally ask for the copy in Word format.

Spelling, grammar and punctuation are corrected using tracked changes.

Edits are usually suggestions/recommendations and are made via comments rather than making the changes. The ultimate decision rests with the author. It is, after all, their 'voice'.

I provide my client with two copies of the text. The first shows my edits, and the second has those changes accepted - but, of course, the comments remain so that they can be reviewed.

Pricing depends on a number of factors - largely the complexity of the text, length of the document, turnaround time requested and, of course, the level of intervention required.

However, proofreading is very much a job that shouldn't be rushed. I like to take regular breaks and return to the copy with a fresh pair of eyes.

For these reasons, I would usually ask for a sample of around 750-1,000 words and would quote from this. Please contact me for more information.

My promise to you:

I will:

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Be as accommodating to your deadline as possible and keep you updated through clear communications
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Be sympathetic of, and respectful to, your voice
πŸ‘‰πŸ» Give you clear indications on ways in which your document can be improved in a supportive and constructive manner

Interested or would just like to know more? I'm always happy to have an informal discovery call.

Let's just have a chat and see where it takes us!

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