When you’re writing your own copy, it pays to have it proofread by a professional. That said, what skills should you expect your chosen proofreader or editor to have?
They will always:
Reliable proofreaders will be honest about their workload and whether or not they’re likely to meet your deadline. Furthermore, it can be a good indication that they will be reliable to work with if they respond to your emails promptly.
Follow a style guide
A good proofreader will read the text as a whole and will therefore pick up on any style, formatting or spelling that is inconsistent with the chosen style guide.
Work on paper as well as digitally
Many proofreaders and editors swear by printing out the text. This way, they can see the text in its intended form as a finished product and pick up on things they may not have noticed on a screen. However, other details are easier to spot on a PC thanks to formatting symbols, spell checkers and so on. The best proofreaders tend to make use of both.
Read from bottom to top
Starting at the end of the text and reading up the page is a top tip used by many proofreaders to help them spot errors without getting distracted by the meaning.
Spot the smallest of details
Experienced proofreaders are eagle-eyed and have excellent concentration. This helps them to spot even seemingly unnoticeable mistakes in your writing. They are also skilled at picking up inconsistencies within larger documents.
Follow a checklist
Grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, flow – you name it, it’s on the proofreader’s checklist. This ensures nothing gets missed out or skimmed over.
Don’t get downhearted if the piece of writing you spent many precious hours on comes back from the proofreader covered in revisions. A proofreader is very meticulous and will always strive for perfection for you to ensure your work is faultless and, ultimately, enjoyable to read!
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