Have you ever ever worn a knit cap with a baseball hat on prime of it?
Most likely not. Not solely would it not look odd, however it will really feel uncomfortable.
But, many content material entrepreneurs try and do one thing related each time they evaluate a chunk of content material, performing as each editor and proofreader.
However modifying and proofing should not the identical – even with AI assists. And by treating them as a single hat, you create an uncomfortable expertise on your viewers.
Even the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics acknowledges proofreaders as distinct from editors. Its description of proofreaders’ duties consists of: “Learn transcript or proof sort setup to detect and mark for correction any grammatical, typographical, or compositional errors. Excludes employees whose main obligation is modifying copy.”
What’s the distinction?
Let’s have an authoritative useful resource clarify. Grammarly says:
“Copy modifying takes place after a substantive edit however earlier than proofreading. The target of copy modifying is to shine the copy in order that it’s clear whereas retaining the creator’s voice and which means … [Copy editors] comb by means of a written work to determine and proper grammar, spelling, tone and elegance deviations, wordiness, clunky transitions, complicated syntax, problematic or misused phrases, and an uneven circulate.”
In distinction, proofreaders evaluate the content material after it has gone by means of the modifying course of. They scrutinize the content material in its completed and almost-published state to catch any typographical or minor errors that weren’t mounted within the modifying course of or had been created within the manufacturing course of.
TIP: If you happen to put on a proofreader hat for some tasks and an editor’s hat for others, don’t try and do one proper after the opposite. Take a break. Train your mind with a non-word exercise. If you happen to don’t take a breather, you’re prone to be carrying each your proofer and editor’s hats – and the content material evaluate might be messy and unfocused.
Tips on how to edit nicely
Along with your editor’s hat on, observe this five-step course of:
- Be sure you perceive the general purpose of the piece of content for the viewers and the model earlier than you learn the primary phrase.
TIP: Require content material creators to jot down one or two sentences on the prime of the content material to clarify to the editor who the supposed viewers is and why the content material was created.
- Learn by means of the content material as a reader would – arms off the keyboard besides to scroll. (If reviewing in print kind, preserve the pen out of your arms.)
- Undergo the content material once more as an editor. Put your arms on the keyboard (or pen in hand) and observe the place the content material doesn’t work nicely and why. Does the opening grab the reader’s attention? Is the content material targeted on a singular theme all through the piece? Can each sentence and paragraph be understood? Does the order of the content material circulate logically? Does the content material signify the brand’s voice and elegance?
- Pause, then edit. Relying in your course of, if the wanted adjustments are vital, return the marked-up content material to the author for revision. Use an AI editing tool, whether or not the built-in one supplied by Microsoft or an add-on extension like Grammarly. Look solely on the editing-related counsel and contemplate if they’d enhance the piece. If the content material received’t be going again to the author, go forward and make the adjustments.
- Learn by means of a ultimate time to make sure that the content material reads nicely from the viewers and model’s perspective.
TIP: If you happen to revise the content material considerably, return to the author, particularly if the article features a byline, to be sure to edited it precisely.
With the content material in fine condition from a readability perspective, now you can scrutinize different components of the content material. You need to:
- Guarantee factual correctness and proper credit. If the content material consists of analysis, statistics, opinions, or quotes, make sure that they’re correct and attributed accurately. In digital kind, make sure that hyperlinks go to the unique supply of knowledge (to not one other put up quoting the unique content material).
- Do the mathematics. If the content material consists of numbers, make sure that they add up accurately. For instance, if an article about favourite ice cream flavors consists of the sentence: “70% agree chocolate ice cream is best than vanilla,” the subsequent sentence shouldn’t be “one-third desire vanilla over chocolate.” The mathematics doesn’t add up.
- Evaluation together with your fashion information in view. Scrutinize the copy to ensure it follows your brand’s style guide and chosen dictionary. For instance, the CMI Type Information is the AP Type Information with some minor model customizations.
TIP: Create checklists for modifying and proofreading to make sure that every step is accomplished. When somebody should bodily test off an merchandise from a listing, they’re extra prone to do it. Plus, checklists famous with the editor and proofreader’s names function a useful tracker for each bit of content material.
Tips on how to be an excellent proofreader
Within the proofreading stage, the work is fastidious. A proofreader shouldn’t evaluate the content material only one time and count on to catch every little thing that wants fixing. Like modifying, proofreading is a multi-step course of. Every of those steps requires its personal studying of the piece of content material:
- Evaluation for circulate and understanding. Although the modifying course of ought to have taken care of any issues on this space, proofreaders should learn by means of the content material for their very own understanding to correctly evaluate the content material. If flaws are discovered at this level, make sure that to handle and repair them, ideally with enter from the editor.
- Learn every sentence for correct grammar. That is what most individuals contemplate proofreading – the subject-match-the-verb stuff.
- Verify the spelling of every phrase. This sounds simpler than it’s. If you happen to spell-check the identical manner you learn (prime to backside, left to proper), you’re much less prone to catch errors as a result of your mind continues to be studying for comprehension. Begin with the final phrase within the content material and work your manner as much as the highest, checking every phrase’s spelling as you do.
- Consider the content material in printed kind. Evaluation the content material to ensure it seems the best way it was supposed. Do all of the subheads observe the identical typography? Are there any awkward line breaks? Does the content material match the desk of contents? Do all of the links work?
TIP: Proofreaders ought to doc the errors they discover greater than as soon as. Share that data with the author and editor to stop (or a minimum of reduce) future occurrences.
NOTE: In case your workforce solely has the sources for a single individual to deal with modifying and proofreading duties, that’s OK. Simply make sure that to create a manufacturing schedule that a minimum of permits for modifying and proofreading to occur on separate days. You too can use instruments just like the Hemingway App and Grammarly to assist in the modifying and proofreading course of.
Go forth to edit AND proofread
By carrying your modifying and proofreading hats at totally different occasions, you’ll enhance your content material outcomes. You’ll additionally keep away from spending time on huge issues that come up from poor modifying and poor proofreading (lack of curiosity and belief in your model’s content material, for instance, which finally results in fewer readers).
Up to date from an April 2021 put up.
Please observe: All instruments talked about on this article had been instructed by the creator. If you happen to’d wish to recommend a software, share the article on social media with a remark.
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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising Institute