Proofreading is the final stage of the publishing process and takes place after the manuscript has been typeset as the final check for typographical errors before printing. In the case of online publication, it is done prior to posting the content on an Intranet or the Internet.

Proofreading is about correcting all those annoying typos and formatting errors

Proofreading is about correcting all those annoying typos and formatting errors

It is the proofreader’s job to check the typeset copy using standard proofreader marks to identify any typographical and formatting errors.

Consistency of writing is vital

As with editors, proofreaders in Australia use the Style manual for writers, authors, editors and printers 6th edition (2002) and any in-house style manual for the publishing house or company. The marked up version is then returned to the typesetter for correction. An important step in the process is to return the revisions to the proofreader to ensure the typesetter has made all the corrections. It is not uncommon for errors to occur during the typesetting correction loop.

A professionally-trained proofreader is hard to find

Proofreading is a learned skill. Many baby boomer proofreaders acquired their training working for newspapers and in publishing houses in the 1960s and 1970s. However, newspapers long ago did away with this work reducing the numbers of professional proofreaders dramatically.

Proofreading is more difficult than it appears. As readers, we tend to compensate for errors and therefore we tend to skim over typographical errors. Learning to be a good proofreader requires time and a good mentor (if you can find one).

Proofreading is a different part of the publishing process from editing: structural editing and copy editing – both are far more detailed than proofreading and happen at earlier stages in the process.

What proofreaders do

Proofreading is about reviewing any text, either hard copy on paper or electronic copy on a computer, and checking for typos and formatting errors. Proofreaders can either check the text against an original document or work ‘blind’ in that they simply check the final copy itself. Many good, professional proofreaders often identify copy-editing issues that have been missed such as grammar and inconsistency in the document.

Bold Type have professionally-trained proofreaders who can ensure your document is error free. Contact Susie Stevens at Bold Type today about proofreading your next writing project.

Read more about the publishing editorial process

Copy editing

Substantive or structural editing