Is proofreading the same as copy-editing?

No. In addition to checking spelling, grammar and punctuation, a copy-editor ensures that written material that is going to be published is free from errors, ambiguities, contradictions, repetition and inconsistencies. They ensure that the organisation and logical flow of the material is appropriate and that the writing style is suitable for the intended audience. They also look for potential problems with copyright and plagiarism.

Proofreading is normally carried out once the material has been copy-edited. It can be considered the final quality control check of your document prior to publishing or forwarding on to your client. The proofreader looks for any errors and omissions that may have been overlooked during the copy-editing process. A proofreader will not alter the content, context or style of your material and they will not rewrite your text. For a more detailed description of the roles of a copy-editor and a proofreader please see the CIEP website.

Why can’t I just use my spell checker?

When checking your work, you should never rely solely on your spell checker. Your spell checker will not always alert you to a correctly spelt word used incorrectly in a sentence (e.g. ‘desert’ instead of ‘dessert’), or the right words written in the wrong order. It will not tell you when you have used the wrong tense in a sentence, and it will not always pick up homophones: words which have the same pronunciation but have different spellings and meanings (e.g. ‘write’ and ‘right’, ‘vain’ and ‘vein’, ‘sight’, ‘site’ and ‘cite’).

How do you edit?

I usually work on-screen in Microsoft Word using the track changes tool. However, I can also edit PowerPoint slides and I can also work on PDFs: either using the comment and mark-up tools or stamps of the British Standards Institution (BSI) correction symbols. I can also work on hard copy (blind or against copy) using the BSI correction symbols.

Can you proofread my thesis/dissertation?

I do not proofread anything that is intended to be submitted for examination/assessment.

How do you receive work?

My preferred method of receiving a project is by email attachment. However, I am able to work on hard copy if necessary. In this case, return postage and packaging costs will be factored into my overall fee for the project.

How much do you charge?

As no two projects are ever the same it is not possible to produce a general price list for my services. My rates depend on the type, size and required turnaround time of the project. Quotations are given after I have seen a representative sample of the work.

How do you accept payment?

For company clients, payment is due within 30 days of completion and is accepted by bank transfer. For private clients, I request part payment in advance.

Can you accept payment in instalments?

Yes. In these circumstances I will proofread your document in sections and invoice you for each completed section. Once I receive payment of your invoice, I will then move on to proofreading the next section, and so on.

What happens if I change my mind once you have started work on my document?

In the event that you cancel the contract once I have begun work on the document, I will invoice you for the relevant percentage of the agreed rate for the work already completed.