Content Really Make a Difference : Proofreading & Editing

Last Updated On: February 6, 2020

inGeneral, Translation Skills

Proofreading and editing do have some similarities, as the aim of both is to perfect a text. Editing generally takes a few more skills, as the editor has to actually improve a piece of text so that it sounds better to the targeted audience, while proofreading is just going through a text and checking for mistakes, such as spelling, grammar, word usage and punctuation.

Translation Strategies

In certain situations, a writer needs to use his/her writing skills every time someone new is contacted whether it is advertising material for a business or an e-mail regarding a job targeting a potential employer. First impressions count the most and so the writing must be perfect to elicit a good impression. Even minor errors could put off the reader and throw into doubt the validity of a document. So, proofreading is just part of the process of showing perfection so that a reader is unable to find any fault in the document.


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    What Proofreading does for a Text

    Proofreading is typically performed at the final draft stage of a text so that there are no embarrassing mistakes still present in it. The proofreading phase usually only begins when the writer has already added the final touches to the text. Proofreading improves the text because it does the following:

    • checks for correct spelling
    • ensures proper grammar is used such as the correct subject/verb agreement
    • adds capitalization where necessary
    • ensures punctuation is correct
    • checks the syntax
    • substitutes misused words for better word choice
    • ensures the spacing between words and paragraphs is consistent throughout the text
    • corrects improper use of acronyms
    • corrects the use of abbreviations
    • eliminates unnecessary punctuation
    • if there is a table of contents, the proof-reader will check to ensure that heading and page numbers match the content
    • checks to make sure font is consistent throughout the text
    • if tables are present checking to ensure labelling is consistent on all the tables

    How proofreading is often done

    There are various choices available to the proof-reader and many use the track changes tool found in Microsoft Word. By using this tool, the writer can both expose the changes made in the text and conceal them. There are still some proofreaders who use the more old- fashioned tool of paper and pen using traditional proofreading symbols to highlight the errors and make the corrections. When a document is proofread it is first read slowly by the proof-reader to help determine if the text communicates the required message. If the proof-reader finds the title or introductory paragraph don’t appear to clearly show the role of the document or if the paragraphs don’t appear to flow naturally and in the right context in relation to the title and the introduction some of the parts of the paper may need rewriting. The proof-reader will inform the document writer of his/her findings.

    Editing comes before Proofreading

    The editing process requires a bit more than a proof-reader, as it involves a deep probing of the document for a number of features including:

    • style
    • clarity
    • flow; and
    • conciseness

    It is the editor’s job to improve sentences including vocabulary use and word order. Some editors may have to rewrite an entire paragraph. In some cases in order to improve the worth of the document ideas may be rearranged into a more logical order. As well as text improvement editing often includes the spot-checking of facts to ensure they are accurate. A good editor will, of course, proofread the document as they go through the editing process but their key focus is to assist in creating the best possible outcome for a document.

    Copyediting may be Required Too

    Copyediting includes both proofreading and editing in relation to a particular style, like CMS, APA, AP and MLA. This sort of editing is used most often with academic and professional translations. A copyeditor might be required to have an in-depth knowledge of a specific field.


    In conclusion, proofreading concentrates on the smaller details, eliminating any mistakes from the document. Effective proofreading is crucial when producing quality, professional documents. When done correctly, carefully and thoroughly, proofreading can make all the difference between a document that really communicates successfully with its targeted readers and writing that fails to achieve this goal.

    No writer creates what that perfect text without reflecting on, reviewing and revising what s/he has written, so proofreading makes up an important pathway to perfection. Editing concentrates on the document overall further ensuring it fits the audience it is intended for copy editing goes a step further as it involves editing to ensure the document suits the right style.

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