Every writing process starts with an author, or a writer, who is in charge of creating a new book, a magazine, an article, a blog, or any other piece of writing. But, have you ever wondered who the main chief is when it comes to the final version of all of those things once you have your hands and eyes on these lines? Yes, you got it right – it’s the proofreaders! Even though there is a stage between the first and the final draft of any written material before it’s ready to be printed out – the editing stage, the last stage of if goes to these guys.
Proofreaders are there to read the document and check if there are any hidden mistakes in it. These refer to any kind of grammatical, spelling, punctuation, typographical mistakes, or formatting. But what does it mean in practice? It means that it is not same if we type something like:
“Let’s eat, grandpa.”
“Let’s eat grandpa.”
So, as you can see, just one simple comma can change the complete context of the author’s thoughts or what he or she really meant to say. Therefore, it is crucial to have a good pair of eyes, or even more of them, just to be sure you, as a potential author, do not end up embarrassed once your book gets published.
What Do Proofreaders Do?
Every proofreader is responsible for spotting any kind of a mistake that might have gone unnoticed by an editor. What they do first is that they go through the text and read it thoroughly. Then, they start their little “hunt” for the hidden mistakes. Let’s take typographical errors (often shortened to a “typo”), also known as misprint, as an example. It is not the same if you write a word as “receive” and “recieve”. This, somewhat, unnoticeable error that involves the misuse of letter “i” between letters “c” and “v”, or “e”. Another example of a typographical error would be missing out a double letter in words that require this rule. Like in the word “communication” – typing a double “m” is a necessity, and so is a mistake leaving it out by writing “comunication”.
Of course, there are many other kinds of errors that proofreaders are in search for.
In addition to this, every proofreader must check whether the author used the same type sizes, fonts, and spaces as marked on the initial draft of the text, making sure each page looks exactly how the writer wanted it in the first place.
It is no surprise that all proofreaders work very closely to all the other part of the gang. Here, we mean the authors, other proofreaders, editors, or other people who read the copy for accuracy or further revisions. It is the proofreaders’ job to return the corrected copy back to the author. This is another chance for them to double check the proofreaders’ job and to propose extra corrections, or even make suggestions for the future check-up. Then, it is the proofreaders’ job again to go through the document again and make sure there are no mistakes in this version, too.
Do proofreaders need a special kind of working conditions? Yes, and no.
Every person has their own way of conducting work of any kind, and so do proofreaders. Some of them need a quiet space with no external noise or any other sort of impact or interruptions. Others are quite well adapted to working in an office with other fellow workers or team members. But it is a common thing for proofreaders to work in a pleasant, air-conditioned offices. The reason for this lies in the fact that read for hours and often may suffer from eyestrain. Some of them even work for some well-known, dazzling magazines or publishing companies, and they love their working environment.
Other proofreaders, on the other hand, enjoy working from the comfort of their homes. Especially when speaking about freelance proofreaders. They find joy in sitting in their favorite armchair with some coffee on the side, enjoying the silence and freedom to work. This way they can manage their time and space better, or can choose what kind of work they accept to do.
When speaking about the working hours, there are differences among proofreaders too. Generally, proofreaders work for forty hours a week, but there are also some who work by contract. These guys work from thirty-five and thirty-eight hours per week.
Proofreaders are no strangers to working on weekends or burning in midnight oil, trying hard to meet the deadlines and deliver work on time.
Freelance proofreaders are able to work on a job-by-job basis with freedom of setting up their own hours and rates.
Contracted proofreaders are paid time and a half or double time for extra hours. On the other hand, freelance proofreaders are free to set their rates by charging per word, page, or per hour.
Improvement Possibilities and Search for Work
It is perfectly normal to point out that all improvement chances increase with the:
- level of education;
- willingness to gain new knowledge;
- the amount of practice
Therefore, proofreaders who work for a publisher may rise to the role of an editor or a production assistant. Also, with the development of the technology today, there are many tools that can help proofreaders in their work
Freelance jobs are a bit harder to find for proofreaders. With the development of technology and the existence of freelance platforms that offer jobs. Or, for those who find themselves tech savvy, they can create their websites and promote their services online. This is where social media and networking can help proofreaders advertise themselves a lot easier and, hopefully, with much more success.
If you love reading and writing, and are not afraid of doing hard work and deal with precision, then being a proofreader is the right choice for you! Of course, it takes a lot of talent and willingness to make it there, but it is far from impossible. If you need an example, take a look at my website and things will be a lot clearer to you 🙂