What is proofreading? At a conceptual level, proofreading can be described as a review of a final draft before it’s published. Known as the very last step in the writing process, proofreading involves identifying and correcting the typographical mistakes in sentence structure, capitalization, spelling, grammar, punctuation, style, and formatting. Concerning itself with the surface aspects of language, the proofreading process ensures consistency and accuracy of the author’s text and helps to scrutinize the written content. Proofreading is the fundamental part of the revision process and its main objective is to ensure that the written document is perfect in terms of vocabulary and grammar.
Before uploading the manuscript to book retailers and aggregators, it’s important to proofread the text carefully. When authors get too familiar with the text, it becomes a tendency to dismiss the value to skip over minor surface language errors that otherwise would be recognized immediately. Regardless of how well the author writes, the assistance of the proofreader becomes necessary in terms of reviewing the text with the new eyes. At its most basic, proofreader gives a final check to the manuscript so it is error-free upon publication. Therefore, after the document is proofread, it is free of errors, polished to a high standard and ready to be published.
Being an important part of the revision, the proofreading process helps to eliminate most obvious surface errors in language and thus makes written content faster and easier to read. Contrariwise, if the text contains full of language errors, the reader’s concentration is focused on just trying to understand the words rather than the concept and it can create a frustrating reading experience, which could lead to increasing the complications of the reading process. As we can see, proofreading is more than just a part of getting a piece of writing to be accepted – it’s about communicating written ideas clearly and correctly in order to give your readers a positive experience.
Considering the importance of well-written materials, almost any written content could be served with proofreading services.
Written ideas are as equally important as the look of the paper: looks affect the way readers judge written ideas! Since language errors have a tendency to distract the reader’s attention, proofreading becomes essential when it comes to making a good impression. Proofreading requires timing and know-how strategies of an effective proofreading process that will help to save efforts! Find our know-how effective proofreading strategies below:
Once the hard work of developing and presenting ideas are done, the time has come to pay attention to the details of written content. When in doubt where to start, proofreading can be a difficult process for every human being. Therefore, every proofreader needs technical-know how strategies while implementing the process of document proofread. Following, we provide the best tips on what to look at before the process of proofreading has started.
After the document has been thoroughly edited and evaluated for fundamental language errors, it is time to start the proofreading process. What to look at when proofreading? Here are four steps to look at:
As difficult as the proofreading process is, having the right strategy makes the process less complicated. Once familiarized with the concept of the written content, it’s time to start checking on potential surface language errors that might be there, such as spelling, punctuation, grammatical, and typing mistakes. What are the following steps?
1. Read paper slow and out loud. As awkward and confusing it might be, it’s highly recommended to take it slow and read sentences aloud. Reading sentences word by word slowly is a key step of proofreading and helps to detect clunky, erroneous English grammar, or spelling sentences. The technique of reading the text out loud is especially helpful when required to spot run-on sentences as well as identifying problems that might have not been identified while reading silently. Finally, it will also help to play the role of the reader and encourages the proofreader to understand the paper as the audience might.
2. Change the look of the document. In order to trick proofreader into thinking, the technique of seeing unfamiliar document appears helpful. Whether you alter the size, spacing, color, style – seeing the different formats of document helps to get a different perspective of what it is written.
3. Use a ruler or blank sheet for sentence lines. Old-school techniques such as using a ruler or blank sheet in order to cover up the lines below still benefit professional proofreaders today. As simple as it sounds, this proofreading technique helps from skipping over possible mistakes and deliberately pace oneself while reading the paper.
4. Highlight every punctuation mark. If one tends to misuse or overuse a punctuation mark, such as comma or semi-colon, circling every punctuation mark technique will force to question its purpose in each sentence or paragraph as well as pay closer attention to the paper. Seeking for consistency in the spelling, capitalization, and punctuation of services, products as well as specific terminology is a key to a successful proofreading process.
5. Use the search function. Every author’s writing style is unique and has its own repeated patterns of mistakes, such as overusing specific phrases or using the same qualifier over and over again. Once identified common errors, using the search feature of the document processor can help to discover words or phrases and make a decision whether to remove it or use a synonym.
6. Track frequent errors. Every author makes its own common mistakes. Therefore, it’s important to keep tracking errors that are made commonly such as incorrect word usage or other subject-verb agreement errors. Being introspective about typical errors individualizing the proofreading process to match the weaknesses of the author’s writing will help in proofreading more efficiently.
Here are some common errors that most of the author do that is advisable to look for:
7. Prioritize errors from least to the most important one. Once tracked frequently made mistakes, check separately for each kind of error and move them from the most to the least important ones. Following, work with the technique that works best in order to identify mistakes.
8. Remember to proofread only one kind of error at a time. When identifying and revising too many types of mistakes at once, the effectiveness of the proofreading process becomes at a risk. In order not to lose the focus, it’s highly recommended to proofread one kind of error at a time. In other words, it’s easier to catch punctuation errors if you are not checking spelling and grammar at the same time.
9. Use an automatic grammar spelling checker in the end. A common question in the scientific community – should proofreader use grammar spelling checker? Well, there is no one right answer. While one side supports using grammar spelling checkers, other side advice not to rely on such tools. How come there is no one answer?
Grammar checkers are a useful tool when used right time and in the right way. It‘s not recommended to rely only on these tools at the beginning of the proofreading process. Since this automatic English grammar and spelling checkers have limited ability to catch misspellings that form another valid word, such as homonyms (e.g. „they‘re“, „their“) or certain types (like „he“ for „the“) and has scant dictionary, it‘s not advisable to treat it as a fully reliable tool. Therefore, the spell-checker function is not suitable for carefully reviewing the text spelling errors, if used at the beginning of the proofreading process.
However, it‘s still recommended to use spelling checkers at the end of the proofreading process. After evaluating the paper, automatic tools are used as a final quick check tool which helps to identify easily overlooked mistakes or too-frequent use of the passive voice on a sentence level.
10. Try reading the text backward. Another great option of checking final errors is to read the text from the end. Alternatively to automatic grammar spelling checkers, the backward reading technique helps to pay attention to the separate sentences rather than to the ideas of the paper as a whole. Here, the proofreader task is to see each sentence as a small element of construction and is make sure each element is correct.
1. Ask a friend to read the paper. Once again – a good proofreader is the one who has a fresh pair of eyes. It’s possible that after all proofreading steps some mistakes were not detected and one’s eyes got too used to text. After one’s finished with the proofread of the text, it’s advisable to find a person who has good English grammar and spelling skills as well as the ability to provide thoughts about overall content and structure. Having another look over one’s writing often will sport errors that proofreader have otherwise missed.
2. Prepare feedback for an author of the text. After finished proofreading the text, a proofreader can recognize common mistakes that authors do. Since these insights are valuable, it’s highly recommended to prepare recommendations or feedback for an author on how to improve their writing skills. We can almost guarantee that each author will be pleased to receive insights that will help them to improve their professional skills. Help the author to make their progress!
3. Ask your mentor for feedback. It’s important to improve not only the author’s but proofreader professional skills as well. We encourage talking to one’s professor or mentor in order to review the proofreading process and help to understand how can one improve as a proofreader. Make progress in proofreading!
4. Share your experience by creating a style guide. Every proofreader’s working style and used strategies are different. Therefore, we encourage one to share your experience and help the scientific community to improve strategies of proofreading by implementing new ideas and providing tips on which steps are useful and what to expect for future proofreaders.
Some people find proofreading tedious, while others see it as an easy part of writing. As a rewarding part of writing, proofreading can be, it’s important to have a clear rhythm and strategy of how to proofread right.
These tips should be essential when focused on planning the process of proofreading tasks.
After the process of proofreading process is finished, many proofreaders face the conclusions of their own professional improvement. Here are the lessons that learned after proofreading:
When considered whether to have the paper to be proofread either by oneself or by a professional proofreader, the scientific community advises revising one’s professional and personal skills first. If desired to be an independent writer, it’s recommended to increase one’s reliance on an outside service. What are the benefits of proofreading services?
Generally, it‘s not advised to rely exclusively only on one’s proofreading skills. The more heavily involved in the process of document creation the author was, the greater the probability to miss mistakes appears. Quality proofreading requires a „fresh set of eyes“ and authors are not always capable enough to identify all mistakes in a document due to the familiarization with the content before. Furthermore, due to the proofreader’s advanced knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, and spelling, inviting additional help can add value to written content and make it even better than would have been achieved by the author by himself.
As observed before, the proofreader’s role is to act as a fresh pair of eyes and spot the mistakes, if missed any. Attentiveness to details, ability to focus mentally, knowledge of the language, spelling, and grammar – these are the most important skills required from the proofreader. Despite the technical knowledge of the language, well-suited proofreaders most likely have an absolute passion for spotting the errors and correcting, where the ability to adapt to any given style is required. Furthermore, such personal skills as being critical and scrupulous works as a charming benefit and are professionally well accepted in the scientific community.
Whether thinking of becoming a proofreader or hiring one, one should know the requirements in order to tell the difference between average and professional proofreader.
Proofreading and copy-editing are often confused between when in reality differ between each other. If proofreading is the identification of corrections and errors or inconsistencies, then copy-editing is a rather more subjective area that involves actual rewriting style, flow or change the tone on the manuscript. Even if copy-editing involves corrections and fact-checking grammatical corrections, it’s not as straightforward as proofreading, where the text is either correct or incorrect, despite the tone or style of the document.
Is editing the same thing as proofreading? The answer is no. Often viewer similarly, proofreading and editing are two different stages of the revision process and focuses on different aspects of the writing as well as employ different techniques in the publishing process. The editing part must be done before the final stage of writing proofreading. Editing is based on the review of communication and fundamental language usage: tenses, word density, etc. The main goal of editing is to see the big picture and overall flow and improve the quality of content through review of communication and fundamental language usage and reorganization of chapters, paragraphs, and wording in the sound of sentences, while proofreading goal is to take care of the look of the content though spelling, punctuation and grammatical side.
When searched for beneficial input from the professional proofreader, you are in the right place. At VTeX, we provide comprehensive copy-editing, editing, and proofreading 24/7 services that cover all aspects of grammar and readability. We make sure the author’s paper says what one wants to say. We make sure the author in the paper says the way he wants to say it. When proofreading, our team of professionals precisely look at typographical errors, grammatical mistakes, run-on sentences, punctuation and quotation marks, spelling, apostrophes, comma usage and splices, capitalization, tenses, structure and theme, organization and audience appropriateness.
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