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Proofreading involves checking the accuracy and consistency of spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalisation, referencing and formatting.
In the traditional publishing process, copy-editing is done before proofreading, which is done – by someone else – as a final check before the book or article goes to press. However, the process varies for different forms of writing and publishing. In many cases – a student's thesis, for example – a ‘proofreader’ might simply work with the author's original text. I can be flexible about the type and level of editing or proofreading to be done, according to your needs.
Proofreading can be done either electronically or on paper. If you provide the text in a Word document, I will use the Track Changes facility, so that you can see what has been changed. If you give it to me on paper (or as a PDF document, which I will print), I will use the British Standards Institution's proofreading symbols, unless you prefer another method that we can agree on. If you're unfamiliar with these symbols, I will send you a link to a web-based guide to them, and will be happy to clarify anything that you are unsure of.
I will also give you a query sheet (or a list of queries within an email), highlighting anything that seems unclear or might need to be checked.
If you give me the text on paper or in PDF format, please make it double-spaced, with margins of at least 2.5 cm on all sides, and with a reasonably large font size.
A proofreader usually works to a specific style guide – a set of guidelines about the publisher's, institution's or author's preferences regarding certain elements of writing: capitals, hyphens, single vs double quotes, how to present numbers, and so on. If you're working independently and don't have a 'house' style to stick to, I will ask you about your own preferences.
Before providing a quote, I generally need to see at least a sample of your draft text.
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