In our last blog post you could read about editing which is a highly recommended step before arranging the text in its final layout. Today, you can find out more about the next phase, proofreading which is carried out after the text has been typeset.
Editing =/= Proofreading
Editing and proofreading should not be confused with one another. An editor sees the text in its “raw” form, most often without any specific formatting and their task is to make sure that the style, grammar, terminology and facts are all correct and suitable for the target reader, as well as the intended purpose of the text. The proofreader gets involved in the project in its final stages, once the text has been put into its final layout. At that phase there shouldn’t be any major changes done, their task is to ensure that there are no typos and no mistakes were introduced during typesetting, so the copy is ready for publication.
So, who really is a proofreader?
Proofreaders, just like editors are professionals who specialise in this. They need to have a very keen eye for detail, yes, but that is not all. They also need to undergo specialised training to learn the ins and outs of proofreading and make sure they can do their job at a professional level. Proofreaders are often members of professional organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading.
What do proofreaders do?
The key word in a proofreader’s daily work is consistency.
First of all, they need to make sure that the final copy is consistent with the company’s in-house style sheet.
That’s not all though, they also have to check that formatting is consistent within the given copy and with other pieces of text if it is part of a series.
Then they need to ensure that spelling and punctuation is not only correct but consistent within the piece and again, adheres to the company’s own style sheet.
At this point in the project there shouldn’t be any major grammatical issues but the proofreader also has a look at the text from a grammatical point of view and makes some final tweaks if necessary.
Once they have made their changes to the copy, it goes back to the typesetter who implements those suggestions.
The story doesn’t end here, as the proofreader needs to check that the typesetter indeed made the requested changes and that the copy is now truly ready to go out in the wild and start its public life.
Do I really need a proofreader?
Our advice is: yes, get a proofreader! If you have a brochure, a website copy, press release, social media post or any other publication that will reach the public, do ask for a proofreader to check your copy.
Your customers and potential customers may form an unconscious (or very conscious) opinion about your company based on the material you publish, so having a quality copy with no grammatical and spelling issues or funky layouts is essential in making a good first or second impression.
If you have any questions about proofreading, the editorial cycle and how First Edition may help you ensure that the final copy of your text is public-ready, get in touch with us at 01223 356 733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.