The Different Types of Proofreading

    If you are a writer, you know the importance of proofreading. Even the best writers make mistakes, and even the best editors can miss minor errors that a reader will notice immediately. Because of this, proofreading is a critical step in the writing, editing, and publishing process. Proofreading is generally the process of reviewing a text for technical writing accuracy. English proofreading involves checking a document for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and even formatting to make sure that it is picture-perfect. But not all types of documents are the same, and neither are all types of proofreading. There are many different types of proofreading out there and the skills required to perform them well vary. So, what are the different types of proofreading, and when do you need to use them?

    Academic Proofreading
    Let’s begin by looking at the different types of academic proofreading. As academics and researchers will know, there are several different types of academic publications, and they vary in style and publication venue. Academics may write a journal article, a research paper, a thesis, or just a general research project paper. So how does proofreading for these types of publications differ?

    Proofreading for all of these types of publications must be done by someone with a clear understanding of the differences and nuances of citation styles (MLA, APA, and Chicago, for example). Anyone proofreading an academic publication will need to be a stickler for whether a comma or a period comes after the year in a cited publication and will need to know whether the section listing sources should be titled References or Works Cited. In addition to the basics of spelling and grammar, academic proofreaders need to know: 

    • What style guides (MLA, APA, Chicago) dictate for formatting of headlines and sections
    • Whether to spell the name of a European organization in British English or American English for a paper written in American English
    • Whether to put a space between parentheses when citing a law or writing a chemical formula
    • How to format tables and figures in different style guides
    • When to use footnotes

    These are just some of the types of details that need to be checked in thesis proofreading, journal articles proofreading, or research projects proofreading. Academic proofreading is a very popular service offered by proofreading services. This is because accurate spelling, grammar, and citation are all essential to being published, and academics must publish papers regularly. Further, many non-native English speakers need English proofreading to submit their work to international journals. When native speakers are not readily accessible at home, non-native speakers turn to proofreading services by subject-matter experts to ensure their work is treated with the care and attention it deserves.

    Translation and Bilingual Proofreading

    Why would a translated text need a particular type of proofreading? Simply put, translated texts contain different types of errors than texts written in English. English proofreading of text written in English will focus on common errors made in English writing, such as the confusion of they’re/their/there or misuse of to vs. too. Translation proofreading is the proofreading of translated texts and is also referred to sometimes as bilingual proofreading. In addition to reviewing a text for spelling, grammar, and punctuation, translation or bilingual proofreaders need to check to make sure that the translated text aligns with the original. Because of this, they must have a strong knowledge of both languages and be aware of common translation errors or awkward wording that may arise during translation. They can also identify and correct any errors such as grammatical conventions from the source language being misapplied to the target language. For example, in Korean, it is quite common to put a title or headline in brackets [], while in English, a title would simply be in bold or underlined. There are many translation proofreading services available online if you are in need of having a translated work reviewed by a bilingual proofreader.

    Print Media Proofreading

    Print media proofreading is probably the most widely known type of proofreading. Proofreaders for print media work at newspapers, magazines, book publishing companies, and online proofreading services. They generally perform checks for spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. Proofreading for print media also needs to pay particular attention to formatting, such as margins, text size, spacing, and font choice. This is because media must look perfect when it is in print as well as online. While a misplaced double space between words may not be obvious on a computer screen, it will stand out on a printed page. Because of this, print media proofreading is often performed by printing a test sample of the media and then carefully reviewing the printed text. Once the proofreader has determined that the text is error-free and perfectly formatted, mass printing can proceed.

    What Does Proofreading Require?

    As you may have guessed by now, a good proofreader will need a fine eye for detail and a deep knowledge of the mechanics of the language they are proofreading in to be able to catch small errors. English proofreading requires a thorough understanding of the different types of English and spelling conventions. Translation or bilingual proofreading requires in-depth knowledge and understanding of both the source and target language of a document to ensure high-quality translation. Academic proofreaders must be well-versed in different citation styles and are often subject-matter experts in a particular academic discipline. Print media proofreaders must have a keen sense of formatting and be able to catch errors that are difficult to see on a computer screen. No matter what type of proofreading is being performed, all proofreaders must be careful, thorough, and nitpicky to ensure that a document is the best possible version it can be before publication. If you need proofreading services, there are a number of services available online that can offer you the specialized proofreading you require.