Skills required for proofreading

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Skills required for proofreading

Proofreading is a skill that is made up of various underlying skills, without which a proofreader cannot be successful. If you are thinking of becoming a proofreader you will need a formal proofreading qualification. In addition, you will need to develop underlying skills to be able to do a good job of proofreading. These skills include reading skills, language-based skills and technical computer literacy skills.

Importantly, proofreaders must not only love to read, they must be fast readers. Proofreading consists of pouring over a multitude of different types of texts and fixing all the errors in these texts. The errors can range from simple typing mistakes to more technical language and grammar errors. Furthermore, proofreaders need to enjoy reading different types of text, from online, digital copy to books and magazine articles.

It is critical for a proofreader

Proofreaders also need to be well-versed in a diverse range of topics so that they can provide the best proofreading service. A critical skill for proofreaders is to read quickly, but with understanding. Having sound knowledge of a wide range of topics will assist proofreaders in gaining an understanding of the topic quickly. This will allow proofreaders to make suggestions and changes more easily to different types of texts.

It is critical for a proofreader to have advanced knowledge of language and grammar rules. Punctuation and sentence construction are also important, so proofreaders need to know how to construct sentences well and which punctuation marks to use to assist with conveying meaning. The ability to spot spelling, grammar and punctuation errors quickly, and to know how to correct it, is imperative for a proofreader. This also means that a proofreader must be a very detailed and accurate person. Consistency is a must - a proofreader must have an attention to detail to accurately pick out repetitive errors in a multitude of texts.

A proofreader needs to have a

Having a strong and broad vocabulary is also important so that proofreaders can use or suggest more appropriate words. Sometimes writers are unable to adequately express themselves and the meaning behind what they write does not come out as intended. A proofreader must be able to intuitively identify these instances and be able to suggest a different way of phrasing what the writer intends to say.

A proofreader needs to have a superior understanding of different types of texts. For example, proofreaders need to know what tone and style of writing to apply to various texts like writing for business, digital and print to more informal texts. Some texts require that a writer uses active voice, and others require passive voice. Proofreaders need to know which texts require which voice, and when and how to use active voice versus passive voice.



Solid computer skills are another form of skill that a proofreader requires to be proficient in. Proofreading nowadays is mainly done on-screen, on electronic copy. So, proofreaders will need to know how to use Microsoft Word (and the iOS equivalent). They specifically need to know how to use tools that can track the changes and edits that they make, as well as how to insert comments into the text. Proofreaders also need to format texts for style elements like correct alignment, spacing and paragraphing.

Proofreaders need to know how to acquaint themselves with a company’s style guide. Companies make use of style guides which set out the ‘personality’ of the company's brand and the way in which the company wants to be seen in its relevant market. Not only must proofreaders understand the style guide, they need to know how to apply the correct writing style and tone of voice as indicated in the company's style guide. As a starting point on style guides, proofreaders can acquaint themselves with the universal style guides. This will ensure that a proofreader can get some practice in using and applying style guides to various texts. Often companies who do not develop their distinct style guides will use the universally recognized guides.

It is clear that proofreaders need very specific skills for them to successfully proofread different written and digital texts. Both the language and technical skills can be sharpened and strengthened with regular practice. But the love for and enjoyment of reading a large variety of texts are two elements that must live within a proofreader.

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