Proofreading is the final part of the review process of your content. Proofreading comes before presenting your content in front of a public audience. The name of the process says everything you need to know about it. The term consists of two words “proof” and “read”. So, it is a process of making the content “without errors after reading it”.
Proofreading helps you make the content fit and suitable for communicating the correct message to the target group. Before submitting or printing a paper, email, memo, essay, or any other written document, you have to proofread it. And if you want to make sure your professional content has no errors, you could consider hiring a professional. For example, there are some websites that do the proofreading for you, like At-it-translator.com.
Why do we proofread?
Proofreading gives you a chance to review your work. It ensures that the written content flows well, and the reader doesn’t have any problems reading it. But most importantly, proofreading helps you convey a clear message and meaning. It is the final stage of the editing process and focuses on surface errors. Here are some quick reasons to proofread:
- Fix any grammatical, numbering, and capitalization errors
- Ensure there are no spelling errors
- Fix punctuation mistakes
- Remove misplaced words and fix sentence structure error
- Fix the inconsistency in the format of the document
If you want your readers to focus on the content of your writing, not on the mistakes and the errors, make sure to proofread it. Perfect written work helps the reader to pay attention to details and read the content easily. With that in mind, here are a couple of reasons why should you consider proofreading.
Reason 1 – Damage to your image or brand
Let’s be honest for a second. The quality of your work reflects your professionalism. It is important to protect your brand and image. No matter the size of your organization, the quality of your work will deter or attract customers. Proofreading plays a vital part in the organization and protecting its brand.
What do you think when you read a news outlet, and you find misspelled words in the text? Does it affect your opinion about the website/newspaper? Of course, it does.
The same goes for your brand and organization. Put some effort and take time to perfect your written content. For the sake of professionalism, you have to execute your job to perfection.
Reason 2 – Unintended meaning
What is the difference between desert and dessert? Do you know it? One is a sweet delight, and the other is a barren area of landscape with little precipitation. In that regard, there is only 1 letter difference between sweet and sweat. And you definitely do not want sweat chocolate, right?
Proofreading can minimize and eliminate such misspelled words. You do not want your chocolate brownie recipe to end up in the desert, right?
Sometimes, just a single letter can completely change the meaning of your word, sentence, paragraph, and in that regard, written work.
Imagine printing an advert with misspelled words. Yes, it might go viral for the wrong reasons. But nobody will buy your product.
Reason 3 – The cost of fixing errors
Would you rather pay an “xxx” amount for proofreading, or completely reprint your business cards? Sometimes, it is as simple as that. Printing something with misspelled words might result in completely reprinting it just days after.
Proofreading saves you time and money to make things right. Your potential sales depend on it.
How to Proofread
Many people underestimate the importance of proofreading. They simply skip it. Usually, that is because they want to make the deadline and have no time to proofread. But proofreading can make the difference between an outstanding essay and a mediocre essay. Which one do you prefer?
Effective proofreading serves as a vital part of the production of high-quality content. If you are not good at it, you can involve professional editing or proofreading services.
When you proofread, read the content slowly first and then determine whether it communicates the message you want to send. If the title and the lead paragraph do not signal the intent of your content, there will be no natural flow.
Once you read the document once slowly, it is time for the second part of the proofreading process. Search for errors in spelling, word usage, grammar errors, and even punctuation mistakes.
The last part is verifying your sources. This is extremely important for academic papers and journals. Make sure that the document adheres to the style guide you use. That can be MLA, APA, ASA, Chicago, or any other style. Here are some proofreading techniques and tips by professionals.
- Avoid distractions and proofread in a quiet environment
- Read the piece out loud to spot faulty sentence construction
- Make short breaks during proofreading to refocus
- Take one line at a time
- Do not proofread your own work the moment you write it. Leave a short period between
- Get someone to do the final proofread
What does your writing say about you?
In today’s world of the digital age, we use written content to contact someone. Our writing skills serve as the first impression. And we know the rule, “there is no second chance for a first impression”. What do you want to say about you?
Even if you write the perfect article/content/essay/email, a few unnecessary errors in the writing can ruin the impression. Make sure your writing shows your best work.
And proofreading is the most beneficial way to do it. It is the last step in the writing process. But that doesn’t mean proofreading is the least important part of the process. Some might say it is the most important one. Proofreading adds power to our writing.
We would also like to stress out the difference between humans and machines. There is a built-in grammar checker in most applications for writing (Word for example). These built-in grammar checkers can help. But you should not rely on them alone.
The computer will not always notice that you mix up homophones. These are two words that sound the same but have different spelling. We also stressed that there are words with only 1 letter difference that have a completely different meaning. This is where humans have the advantage.