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Carefully scrutinising errors in a document before it is shared or published is called proofreading. It is the last stage of document, thesis or manuscript writing. Often, writers tend to make minor corrections of errors such as spelling and punctuation mistakes, formatting changes and inconsistencies, on their own.
Document editing is essential for any text before it reaches the audience. Regardless of whether an academic paper, business plan, job application, or online article, proofreading and editing are essential. Depending on your budget, you can choose to hire a professional to do the editing on your behalf.
Let’s burst the myth once and for all. Editing and proofreading are two completely different steps. While revising a document, editing will involve making the major changes to the sentences, language and overall structure of the content. Proofreading focuses mainly on rectifying minor errors such as punctuation and other inconsistencies.
That being said, when you employ a professional for English editing, he will go through several stages before doing the final proofreading.
Content editing – This involves revising an early draft and taking care of the necessary significant changes in the document. It involves adding, moving or deleting some sections in the draft. This is commonly referred to as developmental or substantive editing.
Line editing – As understood, this involves revising the use of language to better communicate your writing. It helps put forward your arguments and ideas as effectively as possible. In this stage of document editing, the professional might change sentences, phrases and words to produce a better flow of the text.
Copyediting – The professional editor helps to rectify each and every error in individual sentences. This ensures the correct grammar along with proper syntax and consistent style. It also includes formatting according to the specific style guide, such as APA or MLA.
Proofreading – This crucial stage is all about carefully checking for the other remaining errors, which can include misspelled words, wrong punctuation, and stylistic unevenness. This stage also involves checking the formatting, that is, the line spacing and page numbers.
One of the basic queries raised by most authors who use a professional to perform editing is whether they need to go through every stage.
This practically depends on a number of factors. For instance, what is the type and length of text? Also, if the language you have writtenin is not native to you, the chances of errors and mother-tongue influence are high. There is no hard and fast rule however; a good piece of writing needs to get through a rigorous process of editing and proofreading.
Do they prioritize subject-area expertise?
The professionals of an editorial team include PhDs, postgraduates, engineers, and various other subject matter experts. Depending on your need and the kind of text you are submitting, the work goes to the dedicated editor. The professional handling it will have an in-depth understanding of the subject, and thus is aware of the relevant writing terminology and conventions.