What skills does proofreader need to have?
As observed before, the proofreader’s role is to act as a fresh pair of eyes and spot the mistakes, if missed any. Attentiveness to details, ability to focus mentally, knowledge of the language, spelling, and grammar – these are the most important skills required from the proofreader. Despite the technical knowledge of the language, well-suited proofreaders most likely have an absolute passion for spotting the errors and correcting, where the ability to adapt to any given style is required. Furthermore, such personal skills as being critical and scrupulous works as a charming benefit and are professionally well accepted in the scientific community.
What are the requirements for proofreader?
Whether thinking of becoming a proofreader or hiring one, one should know the requirements in order to tell the difference between average and professional proofreader.
- Attentiveness for details. Proofreading requires precision and patience – these are the most important personal skills required for the work. From misplaced parentheses to missing periods of word-to-word, sentence-to-sentence, or paragraph-to-paragraph revision– all these complex details need patience and focused attention to detail.
- In-depth knowledge of the English language. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary knowledge is essential for this type of work.
- Excellent written and oral communication. Main proofreader task – help to clarify the main message of the written material. Therefore, professional communication skills are obligatory for quality work.
- Ability to meet deadlines. Personal strengths are as important as professional ones. One of the main responsibilities while proofreading text-ability to organize work tasks according to oneself schedule individually and as a result to meet strict deadlines.
- Familiarity with digital tools. Whether it‘s Microsoft Word or other automatic spelling checker tools, familiarity with digital tools is advisable. Following, find the list of useful links to valuable tools: ProWritingAid, Grammarly, Marian Webster‘s Dictionary, The Chicago Manual of Style, Editorial Freelancers Association.
Lessons that many proofreaders learn trough the process
After the process of proofreading process is finished, many proofreaders face the conclusions of their own professional improvement. Here are the lessons that learned after proofreading:
- Different tactics work for different proofreaders. The goal of the proofreading process is to make the process systematic and focused so that it would be possible to catch the most possible errors in a limited amount of time. Therefore, proofreaders are encouraged to experiment with each tactic in order to find out what strategies work best for them.
- Proofreading efficiency grows within a developed system of work. Despite the commonly suggested proofreading strategies, every proofreader experiments it different tactic until it finds a working system that works for them individually.
- Proofreading is a learning process too. It’s one of the best practices of how to learn language grammar and spelling. While looking for errors, the proofreader often discovers a new type of error and ends up expanding one’s vocabulary too.
- Engage with a professional proofreader is advisable. If not capable enough to proofread written content by yourself, it’s advisable to engage with professionals and have them look it up
What are pros & cons of proofreader job?
- Independence while organizing task workflow. Ability to organize an individual work schedule according to oneself needs.
- Flexible working hours. Ability to choose a place and time of work based on oneself needs.
- Financial security. Get paid well for eagle eyes one’s was blessed with!
- Task delivery takes time. The chief reason for the client reaching out to proofreader – one’s lack of time. Delivery of quality proofreading services requires patience and time. Don’t sacrifice quality by rushing things out!
- Challenge to find Clients. Unless one has recurring work, finding clients could be challenging.
- Small $ hourly rate. If desired to earn enough from proofreading alone, it might be difficult at the beginning. It’s highly recommended to provide additional services, such as editing, writing, etc.
Should the author proofread his own work?
Generally, it‘s not advised to rely exclusively only on one’s proofreading skills. The more heavily involved in the process of document creation the author was, the greater the probability to miss mistakes appears. Quality proofreading requires a „fresh set of eyes“ and authors are not always capable enough to identify all mistakes in a document due to the familiarization with the content before. Furthermore, due to the proofreader’s advanced knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, and spelling, inviting additional help can add value to written content and make it even better than would have been achieved by the author by himself.