So you want to be a proofreader, eh? Or it may just be curiosity’s lead to this interesting area of editing, hmm? But do you even understand what the concept of proofreading is, or is it just a presumption’s carrot to misguided ideas.
Proofing is about polishing and doing the final check if the integrity, quality and message of the desired product is what it should be, and is not tampered by misguiding punctuation, typos or misused words.
It shouldn’t be confused with copy editing or line editing, since it doesn’t delve deep into the language of English. It only scrapes the surface and gives it a nice shine’s blink.
We view proofreading to be mandatory for us and everyone else. Do not think your work is perfect just because you’ve finished your copy edit or because you may believe you’re a god at words, as you probably are not.
So how is proofreading done?
First you need to reach the awareness of how good you are. If English is not your native language, you need to understand that your eyes are inexperienced to catching errors, errors which a native speaker would grapple with ease. This means a lot of problems will be not detected by your limited skill over the language, and it can cause a catastrophe.
After realizing the scope of skill you have, then you can make the decision if you’re going to proofread for the increase of your skills or for the final polish before the release of your work. It all depends on how good you are at the language, but lack of proofreading experience will defeat even those of native descent.
So, you get the text or page in front of you, you take a breath and you read slowly each word. If something makes you doubtful or sounds clunky, you immediately check if the word has been typed correctly or if it was used in the wrong meaning.
A cheat’s way to find if words are problematic is to read aloud. When you voice those words, your mind will immediately detect problems, since they’re being voiced and not molded into your head’s interpretation of what you’re seeing and what it actually is.
Tiredness can lead to deceptive eyes.
What NOT to do
- Skim words
- Jump over words (skip)
- Proofread when tired
- Proofread if the text hasn’t been edited prior
- Skip words you don’t know
- Rely on software to catch mistakes
Proofreading – Typos of Sin
- Lead – Led
- Form – From
- Pail – Pale
- Cooly – Coolly
- Of – Off
- Mount – Mound
- Raise – Rise
- Variable – Varible
- Lever – Leaver
- Brake – Break
- Convinient – Convenient
- Pressence – Presence
- Seized – Ceased
- Bear – Bare
- Lie – Lay
- Advise – Advice
- Plane – Plain
This is a small list English has brought upon us. Some of the typos are ridiculous, but we just have to face reality and accept how it is, while learning how to defend ourselves from misinterpretation of our sentences and ideas.
I proofread it once, it’s ready!
Ey, stop immediately and do not do anything! Proofreading once the given text doesn’t exempt it from having problems. You have to give it at least the minimum of 2-3 proofreads before you can even think about sealing the deal.
Yes, it is time consuming, boring and annoying after the second proofreading, but you must get used to this monotone environment, since it’s all what editing is. Why do you think people pay large sums of money for others to do this slow and laborious task of going through text over and over again?
Before doing the second proofread, you should leave it to simmer for 1-3 hours, as in this manner you can remove the clutter from your brain, which has caused it to be unable to see obvious issues hidden in plane sight. Yes, it happens, and the only way of prevention is rest or doing something else.
Perfection craves time.
Also, there is a typo in this article. Who can point it out? Let’s see talent.