This is a Guest Post written by Jyoti Chauhan which discusses on the importance of proofreading.
Proofreading is a final reviewing process of the content for being it presented in front of public/ audience. Proofreading consists of two words “proof” and “read”, which implies it is a process of making a content “error-proof after reading it”. Therefore, proofreading is a process which makes it error proof while reading by oneself so that the content can serve its purpose. Proofreading makes written content fit/suitable for communicating the correct message to the target group i.e. reader, customers, audience, students, etc. It ensures that the message contained in the substance is clear for delivering the planned activity in the interest of the target group. Proofreading is reading a content with caution and mark errors if any. Proofreading means simply giving an overview of the already written document. Proofreading is nothing but re-reading what we’ve written with a fresh perspective.
Proofreading gives the writer an opportunity to review their work, to ensure that it flows well, doesn’t cause the reader to stumble (unless intentional), and still conveys a clear meaning.
To be simply put, Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process, focusing on surface errors such as misspellings and mistakes in grammar and punctuation. Proofreading is important to ensure that there is not any:
- Grammatical error, Capitalization error, Numbering error
- Spelling error
- Inconsistency in the format of the document,
- Misplaced words, Sentence structure error
- Punctuation mistakes
Why do we proofread?
Before submitting or printing an academic research paper, essay, email, memo, or any other written document, it is very important to carefully proofread it. Proofreading of written material is the final step that must be taken before a document can be considered complete. Proofreading helps us to check that we have included everything we wanted to say in any piece of writing. It gives us a chance to review our work and add in anything we may have missed out. It helps us iron out any little, unnecessary errors we may have made. Proofreading shows that we take pride in our work and that it is the best one can make it. It can help in gaining extra marks in exams and could even make the difference between an entire grade.
If we want our readers to be able to focus on the content of our writing, not the mistakes and errors that we have been overlooked and remain in our writing. When our written work is perfect, it shows others that we pay attention to detail and care about the things that we produce. This gives our writing added strength and authority.
Proofreaders generally have one main objective: to ensure that a written document is absolutely perfect in terms of grammar and vocabulary.
Content is important. But like it or not, the way a paper looks affects the way others judge it. When we’ve worked hard to develop and present our ideas, we don’t want careless errors distracting our reader from what we have to say. It’s worth paying attention to the details that help us to make a good impression. Therefore, we proofread essays, CVs, cover letters, emails, blogs, and tweets.
A lot of people underestimate the importance of proofreading and simply decide to skip it, usually due to deadline constraints. What people don’t realize is that a thorough proofread can be the difference between an outstanding essay and a mediocre essay. Alternatively, if we are writing for publication or business purposes, submitting a document that hasn’t been proofread can damage our reputation, as it will almost certainly contain errors.
Effective proofreading is absolutely vital to the production of high-quality scholarly and professional documents. When done carefully, correctly and thoroughly, proofreading can make the difference between writing that communicates successfully with its intended readers and writing that does not. No author creates a perfect text without reviewing, reflecting on and revising what he or she has written, and proofreading is an extremely important part of this process.
- Other useful methods of proofreading involve using professional proofreading and/or editing services by trained and experienced proofreaders. There are also useful digital and online tools and apps which can assist in proofreading like spell-checkers, track change review options, Grammarly– grammar checker, and other software-driven programs available.
- Furthermore, proofreading usually results in more succinct, readable, and clear content; making the reading experience easier, interesting, informative, educational, and enlightening.
Proofreading making a content fit for publication, it also increases chances for publication
Imagine spending all of our time and energy coming up with a concept, and researching for hours before writing it for another few days and when we finally put our work out there – the only thing people notice are the typos. Or worse, it gets rejected or discredited because of grammatical errors. Frustrating, isn’t it? Hence, proofreading all written content is of utmost importance.
After proofreading we will get an error free report ready for publication. To ensure correctness of the script we have just written and making necessary edits and refine to make it more concise, precise and error free.
Without a controversial thought, proofreading is vital and extremely important for our writing because it makes our content, error free and gives it an allowance for publishing!
Proofreading is a critical part of the writing process that involves English experts scrutinizing a written document in order to identify and rectify grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary errors. Good writing always involves modification and revision, and proofreading is a fundamental part of this process. People need proofreaders in order to be sure that their work does not contain any mistakes.
Why is proofreading important when submitting our scholarly writing for publication? As a general rule, the editors responsible for accepting or rejecting the manuscripts that academics and scientists submit for publication are inundated with text. They receive far more submissions than the journals and publishers for whom they work can ever publish, so they are looking for reasons to reject manuscripts as much as they are seeking reasons to accept them. A manuscript that accurately and precisely adheres to a publisher’s guidelines, boasts a structure that organizes material in a logical and effective fashion, and uses language that clearly and efficiently communicates facts and ideas is sure to receive more positive attention and far more likely to be successfully published than a manuscript that does not achieve such a high standard. Since these are the very aspects of scholarly writing that a professional proofreader can help us perfect, engaging the services of a qualified academic or scientific proofreader can prove invaluable, particularly if our manuscript has been rejected due to problems with language and formatting. Once we have benefitted from the services of a professional proofreader, we will no doubt be able to determine for ourselves why proofreading is so very important to successful authors.
Proofreading is the last step between us and our reader, which is why it is necessary to take the time to ensure that our writing is accurate, clear, and easily understood. Proofreading helps us to check that we have included everything we wanted to say in any piece of writing. It gives us a chance to review our work and add in anything we may have missed out. Proofreading shows that we take pride in our work and that it is the best we can make it.
Proofreading important for making the Perfect CV for getting your dream job
Imagine we are applying for a job and see an ad for a role that seems ideal for us; the right salary, the right position, in the right location. We feel that we have all the right requirements and experience to apply, so we email our CV and add a brief personal statement. Then we finally hit the send button and forget about it.
A few days letter we go back to our email and realize that we have misspelt the job title and missed out some vital words and letters. This may not matter for some jobs, but there are many roles that specifically require excellent English skills; in this instance, our lack of proofreading may have cost us our dream job.
It is important to note that over 70% of interviewers discard applicants based on the typos, grammatical and spelling mistakes in a personal statement or a CV. This demonstrates how great the negative impact of errors in written work can be, and further shows how important proofreading actually is.
If we want our CV to be taken seriously, our essays to make their points effectively, and our short story to be safe from being instantly binned, we must proofread our work before we send it off anywhere. Then we proofread it again. Then get a family or friend to proofread it after that. Then, depending on how important we feel the document is, even pay a professional proofreading service to proofread it too.
Proofreading for students
If we are sitting exams soon, try to leave ourselves a few minutes at the end of each exam paper so that we can check through all our answers – remember that even one more mark can make all the difference. Use the spelling checker but be aware of its limitations…
Students in particular really feel the benefits of academic proofreading, as not doing so can often result in the loss of up to as much as 10% of their overall grade. Good proofreading can make all the difference between our work making a positive or a negative impact upon the reader.
What does our writing say about us?
In many situations, we need to use our writing skills the first time we contact someone new, whether this is an application letter to a college/university, an e-mail to a potential employer about a job or even when we write a response to an exam question. We all know that first impressions count and in these situations, what we write is like a way of introducing ourselves to someone we have never met before. Therefore, we need to consider what impression we want to give about ourselves. What might our writing say about us as a person? Does it show that we care about our work?
What might a few unnecessary errors in our writing suggest about us to a stranger? If we want to create a good impression of ourselves, it is vital that our writing shows the best work we are capable of achieving, and proofreading will help us to do this.
Proofreading in translation
Proofreading also has a lot to do with the translation process. Proofreaders go through the translated document and ensure that the translated content exactly matches the source document, and also makes sense to the end user.
Proofreading techniques followed by proofreaders
Most importantly, make sure we have a good knowledge of punctuation and grammar before we try to proofread. Unless we know what is correct, we will be in no position to spot mistakes.
- Avoid distractions. Try to proofread in a quiet environment, with no disturbances such as phones, music, background chatter and so on.
- It can help if we read the piece out loud. This helps us to spot faulty sentence construction and bad grammar.
- Give ourselves frequent breaks away from the job, whether it is printed or on screen. Only we know how long we can read before we start to lose concentration, so set ourselves a fixed period of time, after which we take a break.
- Remember that we are not just proofing the words and punctuation. We also need to spot inconsistencies in style and formatting, such as headings that suddenly switch font size, or a change in the size or style of bullet points.
- Be methodical. Take one line at a time. Use a ruler to guide our eyes so that we don’t inadvertently miss the odd line.
- We need to concentrate on reading one word at a time. This needs practice. When we read normally, we only skim over the words, fixing our eyes on maybe four words in one line. Most people can only accurately take in about six letters in one stare, so we are relying on our (not very accurate) peripheral vision to read the letters on either side of our stare.
- We need to make a conscious effort to stare at each word in turn. This isn’t as slow as it sounds; it’s just a different reading technique.
- If we are proofing our own work, leave a decent period of time between finishing the writing and proofing it. We’ll spot more mistakes if we read it with a fresh approach, as if it were a document we had never seen before.
- Don’t rely on proofreading on screen. We will pick up most mistakes this way, and it’s easier to correct them, but there will be some we’ll miss. Always do a final proofread of the hard copy.
- Always get someone else to do a final proofread of our own work – we tend to be blind to our own mistakes.
Proofreading is one of the most important and beneficial ways to ensure that what we are writing will not lead to any misunderstandings or make us sound unprofessional. We are all human, and nobody is perfect, but the last thing we need is for an individual (especially one we are looking to impress) to disregard or be perplexed by what we are trying to say due to a spelling or grammar issue. This is why proofreading is such an important aspect to writing.
Proofreading is the very last step in the writing process. However, just because it comes last, does not mean that it is the least important. Proofreading ensures that the document is completely free of errors and polished to a high standard.
Proofreading is important as it can add power to our writing; without it, our work has a higher chance of containing errors. Errors, such as poor sentence structure, typographical errors, misspellings, tense confusion, and grammatical mistakes can really undermine our potential and credibility as an applicant for a new job, as a blogger, a writer, or an academic.
Therefore I would suggest “Try to get into the habit of proofreading everything we write – it’s worth spending a few extra moments on any piece of work we do to make sure it is the best we can make it”.