Monday, February 20, 2012

Know What You Want Part 2

There was a day when typesetters assembled print plates letter by letter in order to print a book. Today is a digital world. If a spelling error exists in the electronic file, it will exist on the printed page. Who is responsible for finding that kind of error?

Many people think editing and proofreading are one and the same, but they are not. In the scenario described above, it is the work of the proofreader to find those pesky mistakes. Yes, some of the tasks of editing and proofreading can overlap, but in the process of publication, proofreading comes after editing.

A proofreader identifies surface errors of a manuscript such as misspelled words, incorrect punctuation, mistakes in grammar and errors in fact. It is not the proofreader’s job to tell you “use stronger verbs,” “this passage is confusing,” “there’s no take-away value for the reader.” A proofreader does not revise content.

The skills required for proofreading are different than those required to edit. Do not make the assumption that proofreaders are also good editors or that editors are equally adept at proofreading. These differences are why the expense of hiring a proofreader is less than that of a copyeditor. If you’re weak in these areas, invest in a proofreader.  

Later this week, we’ll dive in to the complexities of editing. 

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