Have you ever played a word in Scrabble only to realize if you had added one more letter from your pile you could have reached the triple word? Both choices were valid words, but one would have reaped a much greater reward. Or, in a document, have you ever come across a word that is an actual word, but is not the word that the author intended based on the context of the sentence? This is where a proofreader can help. Unfortunately, errors can be introduced between the copyedit and document finalization or can be missed altogether – we are all only human, after all. Having an editor perform a word-level edit (or proofread) of the final version of the document can help avoid these errors.
I have encountered (on many occasions) errors that are so easy to miss, yet can be utterly embarrassing for the writer. Sure, a mix-up of their/there/they’re or your/you’re can be overlooked, but leaving the “l” out of “public” or misspelling a name in the title or the surname of the recipient seem to catch the reader’s eye more easily – and can negatively impact the effect of the document’s intended message.
The proofreader may be the final set of eyes on the document before it goes to final production (print or digital), and should see the document in its most “final” form, with layout and format just as they will be printed. While the proofreader may review the document for some of the same elements as the copyeditor, proofreading is a distinct process. Some of the things the proofreader will be looking for include:
- Lingering misspellings or improper word usage (either the incorrect word or repeated words)
- Consistency in headings, captions, figure and table titles, appendices
- Appropriate numbering of pages, figures, tables, sections, appendices
- Overall look of the document (awkward paragraph or page breaks, placement of figures and tables, consistent margins and spacing)
- Accuracy of cross-references to tables, figures, graphs, appendices, or other parts of the document
Working with a proofreader is one final assurance that the document is as perfect as it can possibly be. The proofreader is the final step in helping you make sure your document lands on the triple word.