People who possess high language skills, both in their native language and in foreign ones learned to perfection, are often faced with a dilemma; how to make the best possible use of my abilities? Should I begin to work as a translator, a copywriter, or follow the path of enlightening others? Some of these people decide to become proofreaders as a part-time job or even make a living out of it. But what does such a profession involve exactly? What are its characteristics? Let’s try and explore the matter of text correction and give some answers.


Proofreading is a term coming from the English <a href=” “>language</a>, referring to the correction of a particular text which is intended to be published. This process is often divided into stages, including checklists, and frequently making it necessary for two people to cooperate. Many casual observers view basic checking of a text for grammatical, logical and constructional mistakes as an easy task, reminding them of a teacher skimming some papers in order to give a grade. Reality often proves them wrong, as professional correction of a text requires a skilful, precise eye, and the ability to quickly grasp the overall message behind the text that is being corrected, while taking the clients’ guidelines and the authors’ intent into consideration.

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The process of correction

The proofreader who attempts to lay the final polishing on a text usually works “from wholeness to minuteness”. This means that the first step taken is not to search for misspellings or add commas, but to look at the entirety of the paper, without sinking into details, and to check if the consecutive sentences, paragraphs or whole multi-paragraph sections bind together nice and smoothly. Both in terms of syntax and the message, the component parts of a scientific article, blog entry, or even an advertisement flyer, have to flow smoothly into the next ones, giving the reader a feeling of homogeneity of the text and making it easy to answer the question “What did the author mean by that?”. If particular sections do not seem to fit into the entirety, the proofreader sends the problematic segment to the author, asking what the intent behind it was, or they delete it on their own, only consulting the changes with the customer. This stage is known as substantial editing.

After giving the whole thing an accessible and “nice to look at” form, the proofreader begins a more precise analysis of the text they are working on. They take a look at individual paragraphs and sentences and check if they contain words which stand out like a sore thumb from the surface of a continuous text, and exchange them at will, consulting the changes only in the beginning. During longer works with one employer, the proofreader learns the client’s ways of constructing and articulating of thoughts. They then tune their method of introducing changes to match the characteristic style of a particular person or institution. This stage is done in order to enhance the conveyance of the message, argumentation and fluency of the text. It is often referred to as line editing, which means that a whole line is being taken under close consideration at once.

In the later stage of working on an assignment, the proofreader begins to break the text down into separate sentences, paying close attention to their grammatical and stylistic correctness, and also making sure that the syntax is in order. During this stage, the proofreader dials up the accuracy, not focusing on editing the wholeness or fine-tuning the undertone and lining the factual message with the intent anymore. Only in case of some big and glaring inconsistencies, unclearness or ambiguity of sentences, is it necessary to consult the next move with the author to erase any uncertainty.

The last tick on an organised proofreader’s checklist would be the most detail-focused and tedious process, namely taking a last look at the assignment and catching the biggest possible number of misspellings, missing punctuation marks and other little things, such as formatting, footers and headers, page numbers or compatibility with the table of contents.

Years of experience

Proofreading as a profession is a complicated and time-consuming process, a little more so for thoses taking their first steps in this niche, a little less so for those who have already started out and have hundreds of thousands of characters under their belt. But regardless of whether we are talking about flyers, articles, basic <a href=””>translations</a> or even court <a href=””>translations</a>, the finishing touch of a trained eye can lead to an attractive text and enhance the functioning of institutions such as <a href=””>translation</a> agencies or independent copywriters.

Everyone who feels that their abilities and fluent written <a href=””>language</a> could be of use to make the work of others better should consider taking a job as a proofreader as a part-time or a full-time one.

(Translation F.S)

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