Posted on: 06/04/2021 by: Jennifer Graham in: Marketing
Proofreading and copy editing are the often overlooked yet incredibly important final steps in the writing process. For any business, hiring a professional to proofread or edit your work is an investment well worth making.
Proofreading is the very final step of the process. Here, every single word, diagram, figure and punctuation mark is checked and amended as necessary. The purpose is to remove all spelling, punctuation, grammatical and formatting errors that may have slipped through at previous stages.
Copy editing goes one step further; as well as the above, it involves making revisions to the text and ensuring consistency of voice. These revisions occur before the proofreading stage and can include restructuring, making changes to style, syntax and formatting and providing suggestions for rewriting where required.
Google ‘costly grammatical errors’ and you’ll find some interesting cases. Highlights include the typo on the Chilean 50 Peso coin, the Tariff Act of 1872 in the US and the million-dollar disagreement over one errant comma in a 14-page contract between two Canadian companies. Ok, so not all errors will cost you as much as these examples but even the smallest mistake can affect the way your work is viewed.
‘But I’m good at spelling’ or ‘I have software to help me,’ you might say. Well, I hate to break it to you, but even in 2021, these steps cannot be completed by technology alone and being good at spelling is simply not enough. Spellcheck and grammar checking software, no matter how advanced, won’t recognise a typo that is an actual word (does your new ad stop traffic, or spot traffic?!), can’t check context (do you work on a building site or a building sight?) and won’t notice if you call your colleague Joanne in one paragraph and Joanna in the next.
I’m not saying don’t use these tools; in fact, I’d recommend everyone use them, but proceed with caution and don’t rely on technology as a substitute for proofreading.
First impressions are everything. Your website, newsletter, social media, emails and so on are a reflection of you and your business and unfortunately no matter how trivial or small they are, errors can make you look unreliable and careless. After all the time, effort, care and money you’ve put into your business, you don’t want to fall at the final hurdle and lose customers and slip down the search rankings because of sloppy punctuation and typos.
When you’ve written the text yourself and been staring at it for hours on end, it becomes incredibly difficult to spot errors so a proofreader provides that fresh pair of eyes. Proofreaders are perfectionists with meticulous attention to detail and they will work with you to understand your style and ensure your work is well-written and error-free. They will add finesse and clarity and ultimately make the job of the reader as easy as possible.
Employing the specialist skills of a proofreader can be invaluable and is something every business should consider. An eagle-eyed proofreader won’t settle for anything less than perfection and nor should you.
To find out more about how a proofreading expert can help your business, please click here.