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What is a Proofreader?

Also known as: Content Editor.

A proofreader is a valuable asset in the publishing world. Before a magazine or newspaper goes to print, there is the process of editing and proofreading that must occur. Pages must be checked for correct spelling and grammar; margins and spacing must be adjusted so the articles flow smoothly; and pictures must be placed within the articles for the flow to seem consistent. Proofreaders are often responsible for all of these important pieces; they are the people who make publications look their very best.

What does a Proofreader do?

Proofreaders will check documents for simple and complex errors. Spelling mistakes and grammar errors cannot be in an article when it goes out for publication. Errors can impact the integrity of a publication. Proofreaders are the members of the publishing team that make sure that documents look and read their best before they are sent to print.

Along with being able to recognize errors in written materials, proofreaders must be able to correctly mark the documents for corrections. Some proofreading firms will have their proofreaders correct the documents while the writer reads the work out loud. Sometimes proofreaders will need to correct the same document numerous times. The job is not complete until the document is error-free.

Other aspects of proofreading involve measuring the spacing and margins to ensure they meet the criteria of the publication before the work is sent through to printing. Proofreaders that work for newspapers and magazines may also be responsible for the positioning of headlines, articles, and photos.

Proofreaders must be able to work closely with writers and other proofreaders to ensure every word and paragraph is formatted correctly and free of errors before it is sent to the next step of publication.

What is the workplace of a Proofreader like?

Proofreaders work behind the scenes for publications. They are a part of a team within the workplace with other proofreaders, writers, copy editors, and an editor in chief. Most proofreaders work under a supervisor or manager in the office.

Proofreaders can work from home if they choose to work for themselves, editing academic and scholarly work, or privately funded projects. Some proofreaders that work privately may choose to only edit and proofread documents for organizations, such as grant applications for non-profit organizations.

There are a variety of places that proofreaders can work from. Some proofreaders work from the comfort of their favourite coffee shop, while others work for a bustling national newspaper or magazine office, proofreading hundreds of articles per week.

How can I become a Proofreader?

Many proofreading positions are filled by a candidate that holds an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in the field they wish to enter. If the proofreader works for a literary journal or similar publication, he or she may be required to hold at least an associate’s degree in english, creative writing, or journalism.

Though education is often a requirement, there are publications and companies that will hire proofreaders that have a large amount of experience but lack their degree. Some may also hire proofreaders while their degrees are in the process of being completed. Internships can be used to prepare a candidate for many different proofreading positions including editing and proofreading for technical writing, advertising firms, public relations, and literary journals.


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