What goes into professional proofreading?
When you finish writing an article or piece of work, do you often read it again or get a colleague to check it? Contrary to popular belief, re-reading work or asking a colleague to read through your work is not the same thing as professional proofreading. Why not? Let’s look at the example below.
I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg! Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. But what imcapt deos this have on rdeanig and will you ntcioe eorrrs?
Research has indicated that the majority of people would be able to understand the text above when they read it. This is because your brain has a tendency to organise text and can understand familiar words without needing the input of individual letters. This becomes even more apparent when you are the author of the work you’re reading because your brain knows what ideas you were trying to portray and sees what it expects to see. Clever, isn’t it?
To avoid such oversights and to proofread effectively, you need a professional to help break down your text and attend to the finer details. Our proofreaders go to great lengths to examine a document with the express purpose of finding and correcting errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation, which means that methodical steps are taken to ensure the text is being more than just ‘read’.
WHAT STEPS DO OUR PROFESSIONAL PROOFREADERS TAKE?
Here are some of the steps that our proofreaders might take to ensure that your document will be error-free.
- Read aloud– Reading aloud helps our proofreaders to identify errors that they might otherwise miss if they were reading the words alone. This is because our brain can understand familiar words quickly, without needing the letters themselves to be in the correct order.
- Read backwards– Reading English ‘normally’ from left to right allows the brain to connect thoughts and put things into context. However, not understanding context can have a positive impact on proofreading because the proofreader can focus on each individual word, rather than allowing context to dictate certain decisions. This is often a good way to spot spelling errors.
- Read over and over – Our proofreaders will often read text, over and over, each time with a different goal in mind. For example, our proofreaders will compare the two languages first time around to make sure the translation conveys the same meaning as the source. The second time, they might read just the translation to check it sounds natural and doesn’t read like a translation but instead is a text in its own right. The third time, they might do a final check for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and tense irregularities.
- Take a break and go back – Our proofreaders often take a break after they’ve been looking at the same text for a long period of time. We’re strong advocates of taking a break in order to come back to work with a fresh perspective. Usually, doing this first thing in the morning after a good night’s sleep is a good idea too.
Professional proofreading at The Language Factory
At the Language Factory, our professional proofreaders have to meet the same strict criteria our translators do. They are experts at what they do which means you can trust that your document is fit for its purpose in your chosen target language. Give us a call on +44 1727 862722 to see how we can help you on your next project or send us your project details below to receive a free tailored quote.