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proofreading also proof-reading is the reading of a galley proof or computer monitor to detect and correct production-errors of text or art. proofreaders are expected to be consistently accurate by default because they occupy the last stage of typographic production before publication.
professional proofreading :
a proof is a typeset version of copy or a manuscript page. they often contain typos introduced through human error. traditionally, a proofreader looks at an increment of text on the copy and then compares it to the corresponding typeset increment, and then marks any errors sometimes called line edits using standard proofreaders’ marks. thus a proofreader works directly from two sets of text at the same time. the proof is then returned to the typesetter or graphic artist for correction. correction-cycle proofs will typically have one descriptive term, such as bounce, bump, or revise unique to the department or organization and used for clarity to the strict exclusion of any other. it is a common practice for all such corrections, no matter how slight, to be sent again to a proofreader to be checked and initialed, thus establishing the principle of consistent accuracy for proofreaders. since proofreaders and typesetters work from the same copy and within the same deadline, obtaining consistent accuracy is the central challenge facing proofreaders and their managers.
the basic model of proofreading involves one person reading each proof once, followed by correction cycles. however, given the variables of language, formatting, and typography that exist on a page of text or art, there is no reason to expect that one person reading a series of such proofs once each under deadline will always find all the errors in them. to ensure consistent accuracy, a proofreader working alone must programmatically re-read all proofs. re-reading will always be found to be necessary for a random number of them. but re-reading obviously doubles the workload and time required, and conditions don’t always allow for this. usually where this is the case, proofreader compensation matches the lower practical level of responsibility see economics of proofreading.
alternative methods :
copy holding or copy reading employs two readers per proof. the first reads the text aloud literally as it appears, usually at a comparatively fast but uniform rate of speed. the second reader follows along and marks any pertinent differences between what is read and what was typeset. this method is appropriate for large quantities of boilerplate text where it is assumed that the number of errors will be comparatively small.
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experienced copy holders employ various codes and verbal short-cuts that accompany their reading. the spoken word digits, for example, means that the numbers about to be read aren’t words spelled out; and in a hole can mean that the upcoming segment of text is within parenthesis. bang means an exclamation point. a thump made with a finger on the table represents the initial cap, comma, period, or similar obvious attribute being read simultaneously. thus the line of text he said the address was 1234 central blvd., and to hurry! would be read aloud as: in a hole [thump] he said the address was digits 1 2 3 4 [thump] central [thump] buluhvuhd [thump] comma and to hurry bang. mutual understanding is the only guiding principle, so codes evolve as opportunity permits. in the above example, two thumps after buluhvuhd might be acceptable to proofreaders familiar with the text.
double reading. a single proofreader checks a proof in the traditional manner, but then passes it on to a second reader who repeats the process. both initial the proof.
* since copy holding and double-reading are based on pairs of readers, responsibility is necessarily divided. thus neither reader has incentive to work harder than the other, as doing so would merely make the other’s job easier. in the specific case of double reading, management should guard against the tendency to assume that the second reader is checking not the proof itself but rather the work of the first reader, who becomes the second reader’s de facto subordinate. should such a tendency become actual policy, the optimal outcome would be for the second reader to regularly spend critical amounts of production time never finding errors. to prevent such outcomes, management should ensure that pairs trade off the first and second positions; and that anyone double-reading a proof initial that proof. absent those second initials, the second reader who misses the same error the first reader missed will escape blame, as there will be no record that the proof was double-read at all.
scanning, used to check a proof without reading it word for word, has become common with computerization of typesetting and the popularization of word processing. many publishers have their own proprietary typesetting systems, while their customers use commercial programs such as word. before the data in a word file can be published, it must be converted into a format used by the publisher. the end product is usually called a conversion. if a customer has already proofread the contents of a file before submitting it to a publisher, there will be no reason for another proofreader to re-read it from copy although this additional service may be requested and paid for. instead, the publisher is held responsible only for formatting errors, such as typeface, page width, and alignment of columns in tables; and production errors such as text inadvertently deleted. to simplify matters further, a given conversion will usually be assigned a specific template. given typesetters of sufficient skill, experienced proofreaders familiar with their typesetters’ work can scan their pages with accuracy without reading the text for errors that neither they nor their typesetters are responsible for. although scanning risks missing unique and unexpected errors, customers typically find the benefit of a fast turnaround for volume-work to be an acceptable trade-off.
* visual scanning by proofreaders can lead to conflicts with management. this is because it will take a typesetter much longer to produce a conversion than it will take an experienced reader to accurately scan it. this can often lead to the proofreader having substantial amounts of downtime. where proofreaders are hourly employees, the managerial tendency is to expect that readers should not have downtime. towards that end, it may be expected that readers will scan to meet a deadline, but read word-for-word when that pressure is off. the problem with this approach is that the two different modes of work imply two different standards of quality. also, proofreaders responsible for meeting quality standards under a deadline necessarily have a managerial responsibility and as such will expect to be rewarded with some form of managerial leeway or compensation, whereas word-for-word reading necessarily puts the deadline burden on the scheduling manager. thus do conversions put a premium on individual proofreaders’ experience, skill, and commitment at the expense of managerial authority.
workplace problems :
* proofreaders, even as they read from the same copy under the same deadline as their typesetters, are, like purely administrative managers, expected not to make mistakes and so are held fully accountable when they do. but proofreaders typically earn neither managerial pay nor are entitled to managerial latitude in doing their jobs — they remain hourly employees both formally and in practice. errors caught and corrected, no matter how critical, numerous, subtle, or surprising they may be, are always considered the baseline job-performance. no formal accounting is made of errors caught and so they earn no formal recognition. thus they disappear from the feedback loop and only missed errors — negative feedback — register. it follows that only a lack of feedback meets daily job-performance expectations. however, annual reviews are not structured to acknowledge the lack of daily feedback as an ongoing professional accomplishment. although managers and sales representatives can balance an unsatisfactory job-performance with later success, proofreaders generally cannot.
* typesetters, word processors, and graphic artists are expected and permitted to make mistakes. as a practical matter they are also free to deliberately make a mistake at their own discretion to see if the proofreader catches it. while this is not typical behavior, it can and does occur. if the department is also supervised by one of those individuals, that power is magnified because the supervisor can both make mistakes — deliberately or not — and then pass judgment on proofreaders who miss those mistakes.
* when proofreaders aren’t supervised by a co-working typesetter, word processor, or graphic artist, that role is usually filled by an office manager with a generic administrative background. whoever the non-proofreading manager is, needs unique to proofreading rarely drive the department. radios, headphone-leakage, office banter, repeated pages from overhead speakers — all serve to distract and fatigue. radios are a particular problem because they play commercials and commercials have numbers. since proofreaders, being only human, can tune out noise only to a limited extent, they often end up reading one set of numbers while listening to another. but these matters aren’t necessarily deemed worthy of serious concern because, by common consent, they never apply during skills-testing. therefore they don’t directly impact anyone but the proofreaders on an ongoing basis.
* proofreaders aren’t productive in the traditional sense because they necessarily spend critical amounts of time looking for errors that, through no fault of their own, don’t exist. proofreaders occupy the last stage of production prior to publication, which is the point where any earlier causes of deadline violations are necessarily less conspicuous. as a result, there is a tendency to never view a job as late until it enters the proofroom, to begrudge an expenditure of time that may very well not produce a visible result.
* many jobs are informally labeled as asap, even though they may have later formal deadlines. the expectation is that shortening the proofreading interval will have no impact on quality control, that asaps will fully meet non-asap standards of quality. while this is often a reasonable expectation and one easily fulfilled, there is typically no restraining mechanism to limit the needless proliferation of asap jobs. the result is often too many asaps in too short a period of time. ultimately the problem is one of definition: exactly what is an asap proof? one solution is to define asap proofs as non-proofread pages routed straight from the typesetter to the customer, a step virtually guaranteed to make the asap-requester think twice. however, immediate competitive pressures make this long-term strategy a difficult one for managers and business owners to consider. the resultant deadline mission creep imposes costs borne by all but paid for by individual proofreaders.
* sales representatives, higher management, and business owners would normally recognize the above working conditions as being against their own best interests, but they are often hindered by administrative barriers, geographical separation, and a skeptical view of proofreaders individually or collectively informed by the systemic bias of negative-only feedback.
most serious attempts to multitask proofreaders either end abruptly with a termination or resignation, or fall steadily into disuse with the tacit consent of management. the problem can be understood by turning the tables and imagining an already-multitasking office-worker given serious new proofreading responsibilities where before there were none. receptionists, for example, frequently have a wide range of administrative-support chores to perform more or less simultaneously. nevertheless, a manager may notice that the reception area is frequently quiet, sometimes for long periods, establishing a plausible scenario for the assignment of proofreading duties to the reception staff.
the first lesson taught and learned is that with only minor and conditional exceptions, failure is not an option. accuracy must be regularly guaranteed and delivered, period. second, the new work has a deadline. third, the new work, not being rewarded as a promotion, is unaccompanied by a raise until the annual review, so the added effort is performed on spec until then. but even if the new work should finally be deemed worthy of a raise, there is no reason to believe in advance that the amount will exceed the local-area cost of living see annual raises. in the meantime, the lopsided effect of negative-only feedback is quickly and persistently felt: no matter how good the receptionists may be as receptionists, it will avail them nothing if their individual proofreading fails to measure up once too often. to prevent this, the hardest-working ones try to hold onto the proofs until near deadline in order to re-read them as consistently as possible. but independent time-management is obviously needed to do this, and no one has less likelihood of independent time-management than a receptionist – or any other administrative-support person likely to be chosen for the task. the problem then may be summarized as follows: viewed in terms of expected work-performance per rate of compensation, a seriously multitasked/cross-trained proofreader becomes the hardest working and lowest-paid employee in the organization, with all the negative recognition such status normally earns. absent managerial-level compensation, perks, or prospects, a multitasking proofreader will too often end up underperforming at the very times when underperformance cannot be tolerated.
style guides and checklists :
before it is typeset, copy is often marked up by an editor or customer with various instructions as to typefaces, art, and layout. often these individuals will consult a style guide of varying degrees of complexity and completeness. such guides are usually produced in-house by the staff or supplied by the customer, and should be distinguished from professional references such as the chicago manual of style, the ap stylebook, the elements of style, or the gregg reference manual. when appropriate, proofreaders may mark errors in accordance with their house guide instead of the copy when the two conflict.
in-house style guides, although useful, often conflict substantially with copy and force proofreaders to either make arbitrary decisions for which they may be blamed later, or to seek answers that may be neither clear nor forthcoming at all, a problem addressed by the old proofroom saying that copy is king. style guides are subject to change without notice and so tend to be obsolete; and responsibility for adhering to them can conflict with a proofreader’s implied or explicit responsibility for meeting deadlines. an example would be a proofreader who visually scans conversions see scanning, under alternative methods instead of reading them word-for-word. a scanning proofreader, taking much less time per job, earns an implied responsibility for meeting a given job’s deadline without overtime. if the style guide in question is detailed and exacting enough, a scanning proofreader will work under commensurately greater pressure. by contrast, a proofreader who programmatically reads conversions word-for-word necessarily has a diminished responsibility for meeting their deadlines that problem being assumed by management, and so the addition of style-conforming duties will be more lightly felt and may even lead to predictable amounts of overtime. depending on the method used by the proofreaders, management may find that it has to assign style-responsibility to the typesetters, who usually see the copy before the proofreaders do and so are in a position to conform proofs as they are being set. any proofreader specifically required to conform proofs to style regardless of volume and deadline is arguably a copy editor.
style guides and various related points of unique importance are often condensed into concise checklists and affixed to bulletin boards, collected into binders, or posted online for quick referencing. proofreaders should always get a formal determination as to whether they are responsible for items not on the checklist. if as is typical they are indeed responsible for items not on the checklist, then the problem of negative-only feedback presents itself again: success in ensuring the list is followed will afford no protection from items not listed — proofreaders must follow the list and find anything else wrong with the proof. as the list grows in complexity and morphs into a comprehensive and detailed style-guide, the range of unlisted possibilities doesn’t correspondingly decrease. proofreaders in this position must determine exactly to what extent they are responsible for meeting a given job’s formal deadline.
the educational-level of proofreaders in general is on par with that of their coworkers. typesetters, graphic artists, and word processors are rarely required to have a college degree, and a perusal of online job-listings for proofreaders will show that although some specify a degree for proofreaders, as many do not. those same listings will also show a tendency for degree-only positions to be in firms in commercial fields such as retail, medicine, or insurance, where the data to be read is internal documentation not intended for public consumption per se. such listings, specifying a single proofreader to fill a single position, are more likely to require a degree as a way of reducing the candidate-pool, but also because the degree is perceived as a requirement for any potentially promotable white collar applicant. experience is discounted at the outset in preference to a credential, indicating a relatively low starting wage appropriate for younger applicants. in these kinds of multitasking desktop-publishing environments, human resources may even classify proofreading as a clerical skill generic to literacy itself. where this is the case, it isn’t unusual for proofreaders to find themselves guaranteeing the accuracy of higher-paid coworkers.
by contrast, printers, publishers, or advertising agencies hiring directly not through an agency tend not to specifically require a degree. in these professionally demanding single-tasking environments, the educational divide surrounds the production department instead of the company itself. promotion is rare for these proofreaders because they tend to be valued more for their present skill-set than for any potential leadership ability. they are often supervised by a typesetter also without a degree, or an administrative manager with little or no production experience who delegates day-to-day responsibilities to a typesetter. it follows that such listings tend to stress experience, offer commensurately higher rates of pay, and include mention of a proofreading test.
proofreader testing :
applicants. practical job-training for proofreaders has declined along with its status as a craft, although many commercial and college-level proofreading courses of varying quality can be found online. there are also available numerous books that instruct the basics to their readers. such tools of self-preparation have by and large replaced formal workplace-instruction but should be considered supplemental at best. however applicants have gained their knowledge, they will have to demonstrate it during the hiring process.
proofreader applicants are tested primarily on their spelling, speed, and skill in finding errors in sample text. towards that end, they may be given a list of ten or twenty classically difficult words and a proofreading test, both tightly timed. the proofreading test will often have a maximum number of errors per quantity of text and a minimum amount of time to find them. the goal of this approach is of course to identify those with the best skill-set. the problem is that those applicants with the best skill-set may be unwilling to make full use of it at the wage offered. in other words, artificially difficult tests tend to produce overqualified candidates. such candidates, once hired, may consider that they have already done a considerable part of their job merely by having demonstrated their qualification for it. a variation of this problem is that proofreader resumes are often subject to intense scrutiny for the slightest error of typography, formatting, and language. the attrition rate necessarily bestows a special status on surviving applicants, whether the hiring manager realizes it or not.
the above approach to proofreader testing, besides allowing groups of applicants to be tested at the same time in the same room, is predicated on the assumption that: 1 proofreaders have unique, innate skills and recondite knowledge — or at least their experience has provided them with the equivalent thereof; and 2 that such skills, no matter how unique, innate, learned, or recondite are nevertheless available at whatever wage the employer can afford. however, proofreading as opposed to serious copy-editing responsibilities is mainly a matter of persistence. although an experienced proofreader can often quickly spot unique errors a neophyte would never catch, the former will just as often be no better than the latter at finding all of the remaining errors if any on the first try. finally, proofreading has few practical tools to master. proofreader marks, line gauges, and pica poles are readily understood, and most shops tend to rely on a fairly limited range of typefaces soon identifiable by name even by individuals unschooled in the fundamentals of typography.
a contrasting approach to testing therefore is to identify and reward persistence more than an arbitrarily high level of expertise. for the spelling portion of the test, that can be accomplished by providing a dictionary; lengthening the word-list conspicuously; and making clear that the test is not timed. for the proofreading portion a suitable language-usage reference book e.g., the chicago manual of style can be provided. note that knowing where to find needed information in such specialized books is itself an effective component of the test. removing the pressure of what is essentially an asap deadline will identify those applicants with marginally greater reservoirs of persistence, stamina, and commitment. at the same time, by mooting the need for applicants to make use of a memorized list of difficult words and a studied knowledge of the more common grammatical traps affect, effect, lay, lie, applicants learn that their success depends primarily on a quality at least theoretically available to anyone at any time without preparation. thus, no matter how difficult the test was in practice and regardless of the wage ultimately offered, the successful applicant will have less grounds for feeling overqualified.
whatever the nature of the tests, some are administered by hr or reception, while others are assigned to a senior member the composition staff. in the former case, it is probably wise not to inquire whether actual copy-edits are to be made. this is because administrative personnel, like the public at large, are less likely to know the difference between such editing and strict proofreading, and so may take the question as a sign of inexperience. applicants in this position should consider the test both a copy editing and proofreading one, and keep queries to a minimum. but when the test is administered by a composition employee, it is likely safe to ask outright if it includes copy editing, and a straight answer is more likely to be forthcoming in response.
formal employee-testing is usually planned and announced well in advance, and may have titles, such as levels testing, skills evaluation, etc. they are found in corporate or governmental environments with a large enough hr staff to devote to preparing and administering the tests. they share certain characteristics:
* they are not typically promotional — those who score highest won’t get the biggest raise. instead, passing the test merely allows employees to continue at their present rate of pay.
* successfully passing them offers no protection from the consequences of errors missed on real proofs following the test.
* they are redundant to the extent that for proofreaders, each page they read is itself a test graded by a paying customer.
* valued personnel with years of experience, perhaps in the same organization, find the tests insulting on principle and may refuse to take them seriously. as a result, there is a tendency for the “wrong” people to fail the tests.
* employees consider the tests a form of multitasking/crosstraining because passing them becomes a distinct job-requirement separate from their daily work.
informal employee-testing takes place whenever a manager feels the need to take a random sampling of a proofreader’s work by double-reading selected pages. usually this is done without warning, and sometimes it will be done secretly. it can be highly effective, and there will certainly be times when such re-reading is justified, but care must be taken.
there are two basic approaches. the first is to re-read a proof within its deadline and in the department itself. thus the manager will read from the same copy that the first reader saw, and be aware of any volume and deadline pressures the first reader was under, and can directly observe the individual in real time. this approach can also be followed as a matter of routine. the goal then is not to confirm a specific suspicion of poor job-performance by a particular reader, but rather to confirm a general assumption that the proofreading staff needs ongoing monitoring.
* routine sampling suppresses readers’ base pay and annual raises by allowing management to share an optional portion of the overall risk. it also makes formal the tendency, mentioned in double reading, to make the first reader subordinate to the second reader, in this case a supervisor. the implied goal for that second reader is to never find a mistake despite spending cumulatively increasing amounts of time looking for one. the question then becomes whether the practice would stop, should no significant errors be found over a specific period of time. since formally stopping the monitoring would effectively raise the responsibility level for the proofreaders, it would logically be a discussion point during an annual review, particularly if raises are considered to be “merit”-based instead of colas. see annual raises and reviews.
the second approach to informal testing is to wait for some days or weeks and then, as time allows, randomly select proofs to re-read while outside the department. such proofs may or may not be accompanied by the copy pages that the proofreader saw. here the re-reader is examining the proof from the perspective of typographical and formatting accuracy alone, ignoring how many other pages the first reader had read that day, and had yet to read, and how many pages were successfully read and how many deadlines were met under a given day’s specific conditions. so the total job performance is held hostage to the failure of one single component of that performance. and the evaluation takes place long after the deadlines have expired, thus using time the original proofreader didn’t have. this procedure is so inherently biased against any proofreader that its use should be viewed specifically as leading to termination.
when proofreaders become aware that any kind of informal double-reading is taking place or might take place in the future, they respond in kind by reading for accuracy alone while ignoring a job’s deadline, or the backlog of jobs and their deadlines. and this they can do because proofreaders are typically not managers and so cannot individually be held responsible as a matter of policy for meeting deadlines in the aggregate. in other words, meeting deadlines will become beyond their power if meeting them affords them neither credit nor protection. if accuracy alone is what protects them, then accuracy alone is what they will deliver, paid for with overtime and increased staffing.
annual raises and reviews :
a typeset page has many variables, and in the course of a working day many pages need to be set and proofread within their deadlines. such demands ensure that typesetters and proofreaders are at best capable of consistent competence, not consistent improvement. put plainly, they have to work too hard to improve too little, and must keep up that extra effort to maintain the margin. this is such an uneconomical transaction that consistent extra effort is almost never seen in composition departments. instead, energy-conservation is the norm. personnel quickly reach a productive plateau based on their basic skill-level, working conditions, rate of pay, and expected rate of future pay. a line-graph measuring the job-performance of any post-probationary composition employee will angle upwards only to reflect the perfecting of various short-cuts and efficiencies typical of any office environment. it will not reflect a growing ability to process all the variables inherent in a page of copy and its proof.
because of this, composition personnel are unsuited for the conditional annual merit-raises typically devised by hr departments. such schemes are based on criteria befitting managerial-level responsibilities, such as initiating and completing various departmental projects, meeting quantifiable goals, effecting policy changes, etc. instead of having two kinds of annual reviews to suit hourly and managerial employees, the latter kind is administered to all. furthermore, the merit-raise granted through this procedure is by design kept within the local-area cost of living. so in spite of its name, the merit raise is actually a cola, granted not automatically as a statistical adjustment, but as though it were based on unique past accomplishments, discovered and reviewed once a year.
composition personnel are poorly served by this method because they don’t initiate and complete departmental projects, meet quantifiable goals their daily output is not necessarily tracked for long, nor take part in policy decisions. nor are composition personnel normally considered to be on a promotion-track. for nearly all of them, as hourly employees their real job expectation is basic and standardized: show up on time, perform competently, be available for overtime, and then go home. the very nature of their work dictates that they receive a uniform cola adjustment without the need to justify it during a pro-forma annual review, and that they be informed of this procedure upon being hired.
economics of proofreading :
proofreading cannot be fully cost-effective where volume or unpredictable work flow prevents proofreaders from managing their own time. examples would be thermographic trade printers of business cards, network hubs, and newspapers. the problem in each of these environments is that jobs can’t be put aside to be re-read as needed. in the first and third example, volume and deadlines dictate that all jobs be asap; in the second, jobs presently on-site at the hub are hurried, regardless of their formal deadline, in favor of possible future work that may arrive unpredictably. where proofs can programmatically be read only once, quality will never be superior on average. instead, it will randomly but persistently fall below expectations. even the best and most experienced readers will not be able to consistently push the margin of accuracy far enough to justify premium pay.
production technology can also moot the need to pay a premium for proofreading. in the example of thermographic business-card printing, even when there are no reprints, there is considerable wastage of paper and ink generated in preparing each of the press-runs, which are separated by color. when as often happens there is unused space available on the plate, there is no increase in production cost for reprints that use that space. only when reprints are so numerous that they push production-staff into significant overtime would they increase costs. but significant overtime is usually the result of a high volume in new orders using up the eight-hour day. in such industries proofreading would need only – and can only – make a marginal difference to be cost-effective. as for the customers, many will never return even when their jobs are perfect, and enough of those who do need a reprint will find the retailer’s cost-saving price to be satisfactory enough to tolerate a late delivery.
only where workload volume doesn’t compress all deadlines to asap and the workflow is reasonably predictable can proofreading be worth a premium wage. inflexible deadlines mandate a delivery time, but in doing so they necessarily don’t mandate delivery before that time. if deadlines are consistently maintained instead of arbitrarily moved up, proofreaders can manage their own time by putting proofs aside at their own discretion for re-reading later. whether the interval is a few seconds or overnight, it enables proofs to be viewed as both familiar and new. where this procedure is followed, managers can expect consistently superior performance. however, re-reading focuses responsibility instead of dividing it as double-reading and copy holding, both described above, do and obviously requires extra effort from proofreaders and a measure of independence from management. instead of managers controlling deadlines, deadlines control managers, and leeway is passed to the proofreaders as well as commensurate pay.
proofreading vs copy editing :
the misperception that proofreading is related to editing is a common one, and the term proofreading is sometimes used to refer to copy editing, and vice versa. although there is necessarily some overlap, particularly regarding queries see below, proofreaders typically lack any real editorial or managerial authority, having only the option of querying items for typesetters, editors, or authors to consider. to clarify matters at the outset, some want-ads come with a notice that the job advertised is not a writing or editing position and will not become one. the lesson is that creativity and critical thinking by their very nature conflict with the strict copy-following discipline that commercial proofreading requires, that proofreading and editing are fundamentally separate responsibilities.
proofreaders should, except in extreme cases, limit their queries to obvious and mechanical matters of copy and proof. the problem is that questions of fact, interpretation, grammar, syntax, and literary style are not the production department’s responsibility, and that customers, writers, and editors may get used to having editorial input at the final production stage, creating a dangerous precedent. thus even a successful query that results in a grateful customer can create problems later once an expectation is set. also, when proofreaders start thinking like editors, it can slow down production, and create conflicts with proofreaders who properly limit their queries. the latter group may wonder whether an “editorial” proofreader is getting higher pay or bigger raises. finally, not all customers expect or appreciate intrusive proofreader queries and may react by ignoring all queries, and so miss an appropriate one.
self proofreading/copy editing :
primary examples include job seekers’ own resumes and student term-papers. this kind of material presents a special challenge, first because the proofreader/editor is usually the author; second because such authors are usually unaware of the inevitability of errors and the effort required to find them; and third, as finding any final errors often occurs just when stress levels are highest and time shortest, readers’ minds resist identifying them as errors. under these conditions, proofreaders will see only what they want to see.
there are numerous websites offering detailed advice on how authors should check their own material. the context is that of a one-time effort, neither paid nor deadline-driven. some tips may not be appropriate for everyone, e.g., read upside down to “focus on typology”, read backward, chew gum, listen to music, and don’t use fluorescent lighting.
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