Proofreading is one of the most important procedures of the publishing industry. It is a special kind of reading which involves a slow and systematic search for typographical mistakes, spelling errors and missing words that can spoil a manuscript or document. It is the publisher’s last line of defense against errors before certain documents are released for publication.
A writer may find a hard time spotting his own errors. This is the reason why many publishers and online content providers utilize the services of proofreaders to work with their writers and editors.
Proofreading is not an easy job. It requires expertise and attention to details to consistently spot errors that could otherwise go unnoticed. Proofreaders need to be endowed with specific skills that make them efficient in performing their job.
Here are the top attributes of a good proofreader:
1. A good proofreader is a master of the English language.
One needs to be a master of the English language to qualify for a job as proofreader.
English is a language that is continuously evolving, and it is a hybrid of old English, French, German, Norse and other languages. It is admittedly a difficult language that only few can master.
2. A good proofreader has great focus and he can read documents attentively.
Proofreading requires attentiveness and focus. It wants you to pay attention to every single word in the manuscript to enable you to spot spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and missing or duplicate words.
3. A good proofreader has excellent understanding of grammar.
Proofreading is not just about typos and spelling mistakes. It also looks out for grammatical errors. A proofreader’s grasp of grammar should be beyond question and he should have sufficient knowledge of the use of punctuation marks such as apostrophes, colons, semi-colons and hyphens. This will help to ensure that the written pieces he has proofread are properly screened for flaws.
4. A good proofreader has a keen eye for details.
Being the final step prior to publication, proofreading requires the most important skills that enable a proofreader to spot and check all mistakes that an ordinary person could not see. These are great focus and impeccable attention to details.
Proofreading requires focus and undivided attention to details because mistakes can easily go unnoticed especially if they are committed by experienced and professional writers. People tend to become complacent when they check the written works of experts. This is where subtle mistakes make their way to the press. This is one of the main reasons why proofreaders are required to have great focus and a keen eye for details.