Proofreaders check the quality and consistency of a written work. They monitor the accuracy in both the text and images, such as with grammar, spelling, page numbers, consistency in typeface, and the table of contents. Proofreaders receive the proofs of a publication just before they are to be published. There should be few errors in the final proof, so if a proofreader spots too many mistakes, they may refer back to the client and copyeditor.
Proofreaders may work with a variety of materials, such as books, legal documents, scripts, court transcripts, new stories, journal articles, and magazine articles.Books, magazines, and journals often have specific guidelines for their written products, and it is the proofreader’s job to ensure that these guidelines are met; for example, a book may need all chapters to start on a right-hand page and bibliographies to be included in the correct style. Proofreaders also make sure that pictures and visuals are included on the appropriate pages and have captions to match.
There are three general types of proofreading: format, comparison, and content work. It is up to the client and proofreader to determine which option is appropriate. Format proofreading focuses on the physical layout of the text, and proofreaders will check for consistency in paragraph size, spacing, margins, and image layout. Comparison proofreading is when a proofreader compares the proof of the text to the original to ensure that everything matches. Content proofreading is more in-depth than the other two forms. It involves reading the text and making edits to spelling and grammar. Proofreaders must also ensure that the language is consistent and ideas are cohesive. If it is an expository text, they must check that all of the information is accurate.
Proofreaders typically must have a degree in English or a related field. Employers may prefer prior experience as a proofreader or copy editor.
- Proof new and existing materials to ensure accurate use of grammar and correct spelling.
- Verify correct word breaks and that elements are set according to design specifications.
- Ensure that all editorial changes have been inputed properly.
- Assist in light copyediting.