Have you ever wondered about what it is that a proofreader does? What are the skills and traits that each and every proofreader should have? What is proofreading, after all?
To start off, let’s first say that each written piece looks amazing after the first draft has been put down on paper. After that come additional corrections of the text, including checking the typographical, spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. Once the text reaches its audience, it should be free of all of these kinds of mistakes. The first check-up is done by an editor, while the next one by a proofreader.
In this blog post, we will discuss the main characteristics and traits that each and every proofreader should possess. This should lead to putting all the pieces of a text together, polishing the text, and delivering a clean writing to its audience.
Strong Visual Perception
The main trait of an excellent proofreader is to have a sense for spotting all the errors in a text once he or she lays their eyes on the words. This includes detecting all kinds of errors – grammatical, punctuation, spelling, and pronunciation.
Nevertheless, a proofreader should have a clear picture in his mind about what the organization of the text should look like. Is the spacing between paragraphs correct? Is there a consistence between headings and subheadings? Are font styles and formats used appropriately? Is there a double word, a missing word, or a misspelled word in the text?
These are all the things that a good and conscious proofreader should have in mind all the time in order to conduct a clean and easy-to-follow document.
Outstanding Spelling and Grammar Expert
This is an essential skill that should lie in every proofreader. Especially when it comes to differences between American (-ize) and British (-ise) spellings. Should you be in doubt, feel free to consult a dictionary or some other kinds of references to help you make sure you will deliver your work correctly. Inevitably enough, it is always a great idea to rely on your own knowledge and common sense whenever dealing with proofreading.
Another thing that might arise here are the words that have similar spellings, but very different meanings. Grammar knowledge of different concepts and rules is a must here too, as a proofreader should be able to correct the improper grammatical errors and typos effectively.
For many reasons, this is a quite critical area and it takes a lot of patience and time to correct these kinds of mistakes in the correct way.
Good Computer Skills – a Must for Every Proofreader
We all live in a world where computers and other kinds of modern technology surround us round the clock. Therefore, it is very important for a proofreader to have strong commands of a computer and all the applications and tools used for some proofreading on-screen.
Track Changes features in Word documents, or comments in PDF files and Google Docs are the first things that come to mind here. Additionally, there are some online tools that can help a proofreader make sure he or she is on the tight track when it comes to cleaning the text. By these, we mean Grammarly, Proof Read My File, Ginger, and others.
In a nutshell, impeccable computer and Internet skills are a must when it comes to delivering work as a proofreader.
Patience as a Trait of a Proofreader
Spotting and removing all sorts of mistakes in a text can be very demanding and, let’s not neglect this – tiring. It takes a lot of time to go through the text, recognize an error, find a proper way of correcting it, and then jumping onto the next one. And the next one. And the next one… Until all the errors have been removed from the text and it is polished. This means that the person doing the job – a proofreader – should have a ton of patience for all of the work that he/ she needs to conduct.
Apart from this, a proofreader should have a brilliant skill of understanding what a writer wanted to say, regardless of his/ her shaky writings. It takes an outstanding skill to unscramble the words and their meanings and put them together in a meaningful sense and flow.
Love for Books and Reading
A proofreader should be a reader too. This means he/ she should have the passion and love for reading and the ability to indulge in books, or any other kind of writings – journals, articles, magazines, blogs, you name it. It is this trait that will make a good proofreader into an excellent proofreader, because it will allow him/ her to:
- remember the proper spellings of different words,
- improve their grammar, and
- spot the errors easily and faster with punctuality.
Multiple checking by a Proofreader
A proofreader should not rely on online tools and applications in order to do the work correctly. He/ she should use other sources too. First of all, common sense.
Secondly, a proofreader should have abundant resources and references, like dictionaries, style guides, etc., and should not feel afraid to use them. What’s more, it is important for a proofreader to use these kinds of “aids” just to make sure his/ her work will be error-free.
Also, another set of eyes is never too much. In case a proofreader is not completely and utterly positive his/ her work is perfectly polished, it is always a good idea to consult another proofreader to do the check-up. This could come in handy especially if the initial proofreader was working for long hours, or has a lot of work on his/ her plate.
Brilliant Communication Skills
Another trait that is expected of every proofreader to own is definitely to be good at giving speeches and an excellent communicator. Impeccable usage of grammar rules and correct pronunciation is inevitable here too, as it reflects the proofreader’s written work as well.
Just like any other calling, being a proofreader takes a lot of effort, knowledge, and time. Is it impossible to become a proofreader? No. You need a general knowledge and education, love and passion for reading, and the willingness to succeed at what you have opted for.
Should you lack some concrete knowledge and skills to become a proofreader, there are always some additional courses and seminars you can take up, and start off a new career.
If you would like to know more about what it takes to become a proofreader, what skills should every proofreader have, or anything else regarding proofreading, follow our blog to keep in touch with all the questions you might have about this beautiful profession.