When a written document's first impression means the difference between success and failure, a professional proofreading service can save the day.
Whether it’s a sales flyer, a business proposal or the next great American novel, any written presentation can fail if its message is sabotaged by avoidable typographical and grammatical errors.
Writers Need Text Editing
Creative expression doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with the nuts and bolts of writing,
and failure to correct errors may cause a writer’s message to go unheeded. Sometimes errors
trigger more than disappointment. They foster harm.
Typographical or grammatical errors have caused:
- criminals to be released from prison
- retailers to suffer sales losses
- courts to toss erroneously or ambiguously punctuated contracts
- novels with great storylines to be rejected
- employers with errors in employee communications to face lawsuits
- companies with unprofessional correspondence or presentations to lose investors
- costly reprints of single to multi-page printed materials
Professional Proofreading Services are Focused
A proofreader’s only mission is to hunt down and correct errors. Just as a
racecar driver needs his team of mechanics to win the race, a writer needs the support
of a top-notch proofreader to put his or her best foot forward.
Proofreading can be a challenge. Writers’ words are locked in their heads,
and when reading personal compositions it’s easy for the author of a work to
read sentences as they are intended instead of how they truly are. Professional
proofreading services provide “fresh eyes” that don’t know what’s in the writer’s head
and can spot errors the writer may never recognize.
In an exclusive interview with Tricia Spencer, Julie DeSilva, Editorial Services Director of ProofreadNOW.com, Inc., discusses proofreading basics.
TS: Why is proofreading by humans preferable to proofreading performed by sophisticated software?
Ms. DeSilva: Software only catches grossly misspelled words or obvious grammatical errors. It doesn’t grasp punctuation nuances, improve cohesiveness, or flag the improper use of a real word. For instance, “bra” may be written instead of “bar,” but because bra is a real word, a spellchecker won’t catch it. This frequently occurs with similar words like “where” or “were,” “its” or “it’s,” and “form” and “from.” Each word has a different application, but software would allow either, even if it changes the meaning of a sentence. Technology has not surpassed people in the ability to catch mistakes like the dreaded “office manger!”
TS: Don’t fallible humans also miss errors?
Ms. DeSilva: Of course that can happen, and though I can’t speak for
how other services conduct their business, our model combats that issue by
providing two full reads by two different editors for each job submitted. We
also guarantee our work.
TS: Professional proofreading can be costly. How does a writer justify
Ms. DeSilva: We provide an invaluable service. Our proofreaders help
you to deliver your message clearly and concisely with no embarrassing errors.
A professional proofreading service gives every written document its best
opportunity to succeed in the marketplace. We work very effectively with
businesses that seek to promote the company image and protect against
written issues that can cause negative repercussions.
TS: If a writer uses a professional proofreader, what can they expect?
Ms. DeSilva: Writers should expect a proofreading service to serve as their editing partner. At ProofreadNOW.com, our proofreaders are well versed in AP and Chicago style, and we can even edit a piece to conform to a customer’s own house style. We offer the added bonus of being available 24/7, 365 days a year, with turnaround in as little as an hour. Our customers can choose from two levels of service, depending on how much work a document needs. Access to our service is easy and our customers come to rely on our dependability and timeliness. Companies, big or small, find our service to be worth far more than what they pay. Their success is our success.
Proofreading and Editing Choices
A well-written, expertly proofed document can be a boon to a business and create a new opportunity for an individual writer. But a professional proofreader or proofreading service should be considered carefully. The following five questions will help a writer determine which service is best for them.
1. Do you have references? Any reputable company will be able to provide testimonials of satisfied customers.
2. How much do you charge? Though some services charge by the word or by the hour, most rates are based upon word count per page, as well as the level of service required. Services may offer a basic rate of $6 per page and classify a page as 250 words while another may charge $11 per page but consider a page to be 500 words. A quoted rate could include basic proofreading of typographical errors, while another service’s quote may include editing for style. It is important to understand specifics. Studying a company’s policies is the best way to learn what services are provided at what costs, and any company should be accessible to answer questions.
3. How are special needs met? If the documents are medical, legal, financial, hi-tech or otherwise specialized, it is important to hire a proofreader fluent in those fields. This also applies to documents created in various computer formats and to those that must adhere to a specific writing style such as APA, MLA, etc.
4. How easy is the process? The procedure for submitting and receiving documents should be simple, and any professional proofreader should offer its clients privacy protection.
5. Do you offer a guarantee? A proofreading service worth its salt should guarantee
Are Professional Proofreading Services Worth the Expense?
If a document is written for a specific purpose and errors will adversely affect
that purpose, the answer is "yes." The use of a professional proofreading service
is more than justified.
The written word is powerful, but only if it is coherent and cleanly presented.