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Proofreading is sometimes referred to as copyediting although both are not interchangeable. There may be some similarity between these two functions, but the scopes of proofreading and copyediting differ to quite an extent. On a work flow, copyediting usually occurs before proofreading. When copyediting is carried out, the copyeditor generally improves on the formatting, accuracy and writing style of the copy. Generally, copyediting pertains to correcting spelling, punctuation, grammar, jargons and semantics according to the publisher’s style or an external style guide. Copyeditors are responsible in ensuring that the text has a good flow and legal problems have been addressed prior to publication. If there are unclear areas or expressions in the text, the copyeditor should seek clarification with the writer. Therefore, the copyeditor is often the alternative person who has access to the entire text apart from the writer. Copyeditors sometimes possess other relevant skills such as copy design, desktop publishing (DTP) as well as interpersonal skills in dealing with writers, designers and clients.

On the contrary, proofreaders hardly have any editorial or managerial responsibilities; their main task lies in seeking clarification with writers or editors. Proofreaders are also less likely to focus on the creative writing aspect of copy and they usually adhere to strict copy-following guidelines that are in line with the commercial or government proofreading requirements. In other words, proofreaders would find themselves in the less creative camp, as opposed to copyeditors, when it comes to tidying up the copy before publication. Even though the scope of proofreading may dull in comparison, proofreading highlights the importance of checking one’s material. Some proofreading examples include job seekers’ resumes, research papers etc. Under tight time frames and high stress levels, writers and/or editors may overlook certain errors because they are too familiar with their own copy. Therefore, proofreading is critical because proofreaders see only what they wish to focus on.

Proofreaders and copyeditors are important assets to the client and project, not only in terms of creative writing but also in making sure that the copy is presented in an accurate manner that does not confuse or mislead the target audience. To read more about our proofreading and copyediting services, do feel free to log on to scribers.com.sg for more information! We look forward to hearing from you soon!