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How To Become a Good Proofreader – Ultimate Guide To Proofreading Job

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A proofreader is a person or software with sound knowledge of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and the subject matter. Proofreading doesn’t only run on the knowledge; an equal amount of dedication, observation, and management is needed. They are needed almost everywhere, wherever the writing or documenting work is present. And since you have landed on this article, you must be a proofreader already who wishes to brush upon or an aspiring proofreader seeking insights into the profession. We have got your back, mate, and came up with everything you need to get started. 

Proofreader Job Description

Proofreaders’ job is to review the final draft and modify it to its very last correct detailing for grammar, spelling, typos, punctuations, etc. All proofreaders offer a similar service regardless of their work location (freelance, home-based, offline, or remote). 

Proofreaders are often compared with scanners for their ability and skill to detect minute errors and sometimes verify the consistency (e.g., language variation, British and American; signature style of an author). Sharpness is the key to it, either inborn or acquired. 

Proofreader Job Description

Massive growth in the demand for proofreaders has been seen recently, especially since the worldwide lockdown and everything went online. And this makes the job even easier where you can earn by proofreading marketing material, books, ebooks, websites, blog posts, newsletters, social media content, research papers, reports, legal transcripts, business documents, manuscripts of authors, essays or dissertations, white papers, product manuals, and everything in written format at ease and comfort of your home. 

Whosoever is going to hire you wants a top-notch skillset with efficient performance. Your portfolio defines your very next job/ project. To ensure it is presentable and keeps up with the trend, you have to keep upgrading the skill set by enrolling in certain certification courses, proofreading camps, proofreading academies, higher college degrees, etc. 

How Much Does a Proofreader Earn

The freelancers and home-based proofreaders are generally paid less. Initially, they are able to earn $15-20 hourly and hike up to $25-30 hourly as soon as you reach a threshold of at least 10 documents proofed. Efficiency adds worth to the wages.

The following table describes the average annual salary of the top to bottom earners depending on their expertise and experience. This data is intended for offline and remote proofreaders. 

Top Earners $72,500 

75th Percentile $63,500 

Average $51,391 

25th Percentile $30,000 

Duties and Responsibilities Of a Proofreader

A proofreader has multifaceted responsibilities to deliver that can vary from the different demands of the projects. 

Duties and Responsibilities Of a Proofreader

Some common duties are as follows. 

  • Read and edit the given text for grammatical and typographical errors before publishing. 
  • Polish the sentences as and when required especially in complex sentences where meanings are not clear. 
  • Check font style, size, and text spacing as specified in the original copy. 
  • Making corrections with special standard symbols to be recognized by publishers and editors. 
  • To make a copy of proofs done for the editor and author. 
  • Verify the accuracy of page numbers, headings, captions, tables, images, charts, graphs, etc. 
  • Rewrite or reword – depending on the project as it is not typical of a proofreader. 

Prerequisites/Qualifications For Proofreading Job 

Before you get started with the job, make sure you possess the basic skills mentioned below and a basic graduation degree. 

Qualifications For Proofreading Job 
  • A bachelor’s degree preferably in English, journalism, or mass communication, or in a related field. 
  • At least 2years experience in editing and proofreading the written content. 
  • Keen observance with specific attention to detail will make identifying and rephrasing tasks easier. 
  • Teamwork spirit and flexible nature as they have to adapt to work in harmony with editors and authors. An outstanding oral and written communication is a great addition. 
  • The key skill is that of grammar and spelling. Without it, there is no correct assembly and hence no proofreading. So better be the jack of it. 
  • Meeting the deadlines and managing time is as important as proofreading. 

Proofreader Skills and Qualifications

Details matter to proofreaders, and it shows in their work. The best proofreaders are enthusiastic team members who take pride in their work. The following skills are important to a proofreader in addition to a bachelor’s degree:

Proofreader Skills and Qualifications
  • Writing and editing –  Writers who edit well are also good proofreaders. So it isn’t surprising that successful proofreaders are skilled writers. Great editing leads to great proofreading. 
  • Detail oriented – The attention to detail is one of the most important editing characteristics of a proofreader. In order to catch the most trivial as well as the most obvious errors, a proofreader must be able to catch both on paper and on screen.
  • Resourcefulness – The proofreader finds the appropriate resources and addresses questions or concerns in the copy that may require further investigation while cross-checking and verifying the data. They know where to find answers to these hurdles to help the project reach its completion.
  • Computer proficiency – Word processing software and digital content are heavily used by proofreaders. Due to the decline in print media, proofreaders will need to develop their computer skills in order to fulfill their tasks.
  • Multitasker – A proofreader needs to prioritize and manage multiple projects at once. Since these priorities change throughout the day, proofreaders have to be both flexible and persistent to achieve the perfect copy.
  • Quick reader – Due to looming deadlines, proofreaders read and edit quickly without compromising quality.

SUGGESTED SOFTWARE PROFICIENCY

Writers and proofreaders can use software available on the market today. In addition to using the Microsoft Office suite, an Editor/Proofreader may also use some of these platforms:

  • After the Deadline
  • Editor
  • Ginger
  • Google Docs
  • Grammarly

How To Become a Good Proofreader

It is the responsibility of proofreaders to ensure that texts are free of typos and grammatical errors. It’ll basically be reading for a living from the comfort of your own home, so what could be better? Find out how you can become a proofreader (no experience or degree is required) by reading on! Here are four steps that cover everything from knowing the job’s duties to finding quality proofreading jobs. 

How To Become a Good Proofreader

Understand the scope of a proofreader’s work

A proofread follows copy editing and structural Editing in the editorial process. Proofreaders are responsible for double-checking work for errors and mistakes, such as:

  • Errors in spelling and grammar.
  • A style or layout that is inconsistent.
  • Word breaks and awkward page layout.
  • Punctuation and spelling mistakes.
  • Any other issues that might detract from the reading experience.

Figure out your own proofreading niche

Today, we are inundated with media, which means that proofreaders have plenty of material to go through. Though the key to getting ahead is finding a specific niche, you can focus on any number of areas. Expertise will usually be appreciated more by clients than a mashup of barely related experience! Among the options you may have are:

  • Blog posts
  • Books
  • Court reports
  • Essays
  • Legal documents
  • Transcripts
  • Website pages

You should focus your efforts on one or two since each will have specific requirements regarding language and format. 

You may even find it beneficial to narrow down your focus to a few genres if you’re interested in a career in publishing, since different genres can require different skills. For example, proofreading a fantasy novel may require careful attention to the mechanics of an imaginary language. Proofreaders working on nonfiction books will do a great deal of fact-checking.

Hone your skills to perfection

When it comes to proofreading, there’s more to it than just the written word. The appearance and formatting of the text are also your responsibility. To learn how to handle these responsibilities, we highly recommend signing up for a proofreading course. 

Keep developing your resume

You will soon start landing jobs easily and commanding higher wages. Just remember to continue to build your resume! It should be updated with the latest projects you think will help you achieve your career goals. To put it another way, choose pieces that reflect what you want to keep doing. 

Every editorial job involves challenges, including proofreading. There is no doubt that newcomers will struggle with low wages, competitive job prospects, and long work hours. If you invest your time and effort into proofreading, you will more than make it in the end.

How To Get Proofreading Job

Today, finding clients or employment via the internet is the way to become a proofreader. As a matter of fact, the proofreading market is thriving online, and whether you have no experience, are an expert, or something in between, there is plenty of room to grow.

Related: 21 Best Online typing jobs from home without investment

How To Get Proofreading Job

Beginner

Check out freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork if you are just starting out and seeking proofreading experience.

There is no cost to join, and anyone can advertise their services to a global audience in minutes. This is not a place to go for high-paying jobs because more entry-level jobs mean entry-level salaries.

Intermediate

Consider investing in a platform that charges a monthly fee if you are looking to take your proofreading business to the next level.

  • Flexjobs: If you are looking to work from home on a flexible basis, FlexJobs is an excellent resource. It is only $14.95 per month to join, and they have multiple remote and part-time positions listed.
  • Contena: For those seeking to invest in a community, Contena is the best choice. The Contena Academy provides a variety of resources for proofreaders, editors, and freelance writers, including, among other things, a membership that starts at $42 per month.

Advanced

After you have more experience as a proofreader, you can apply to higher-level platforms.

  • ProofreadNOW: The ProofreadNOW platform is for experienced proofreaders who have at least five years’ experience. Proofreaders are required to pass an extensive series of tests to prove their skills before they are allowed to join.
  • Edit911: Edit911 only hires the best in proofreading and editing – PhDs, publishing scholars and professors, as well as master copy editors and book editors. It is the place for people who are most experienced in the field.

The Different Types of Proofreading

A proofreader is someone who reviews a text for technical writing accuracy. A proofreader makes sure that a document is a grammar and punctuation-free by checking spelling, grammar, punctuation, and even formatting. There is no single type of document, nor is there a single type of proofreading. Proofreading can take many forms, with different skills required for each. Then which types of proofreading are there, and when should you use them?

Academic Proofreading

Researchers and academics are aware that academic publications come in a variety of styles and formats. Whether it is a journal article, a thesis, or just a general research paper, academics write different kinds of assignments. What are the proofreading differences between these publications?

A proofreader must be familiar with the differences and nuances of citation styles to be able to proof these types of publications.  The person who proofreads an academic publication will have to track whether a comma or a period follows the year in a cited publication and will have to identify whether the section containing sources should be titled References or Works Cited.  

Translation Proofreading

It is also sometimes called bilingual proofreading and is the process of Editing translated texts. Translation and bilingual proofreaders need to ensure the translated text aligns with the original as well as checking spelling, grammar, and punctuation. They should also be familiar with common translation errors and awkward wording that might occur during translation. Additionally, they are able to identify and fix any grammatical errors from the source language that have been misapplied to the target language.

Print Media Proofreading

One of the most common types of proofreading is print media proofreading. Newspapers, magazines, book publishers, and online proofreading services hire proofreaders for print media. They generally check spelling, punctuation, and grammar. In the case of print media, proofreaders need to pay particular attention to formattings, such as margins, text size, spacing, and font selection.

Proofreading Job – Related FAQs 

How much does a freelance proofreader earn? 

Freelancers are paid below average than the offline office workers as it is the hours dedicated and words edited that count. Though freelancers can easily earn $32,000 annually. It is totally up to you, your skills, time management, and effortlessly elegant work. 

Can I become a proofreader without a degree? 

As long as you have a good command of English grammar, spelling, and Editing, a degree is no obstacle to becoming a professional proofreader. But we highly recommend opting for a certification course in proofreading to increase your chances of getting hired. 

How to improve proofreading skills? 

If you are reading this answer, you must have understood by now that proofreading is not just catching surface errors and Editing. It is a lot more than that. Enroll in a professional

What are some trusted apps/software to check the credibility of the proofreading that you have done? 

course and start brushing up yourself with more and more practice sessions. Bare with the process of burning in the heat to get molded with the present industry demands. 
Some editing tools that could help you in checking grammar and spelling or dictionary to use are – Grammarly, Hemingway, ProWritingAid, Merriam Webster’s dictionary online. But do not rely on them 100%. 

What is the expert advice on the art of proofreading? 

A word of advice- Reading the document copy multiple times improves the efficiency of your work. Read it backward a few times to make the work elegant and error-free. In the first read – check for deviations in texts. 
– In the second read- verify facts and format consistency. 
– In third read – lookout the language mechanics 
– And in the fourth read – and finally the overall format. 

Are proofreading courses worth it?

You should take a reputable course if you want to become a professional proofreader. The proofreading course will teach you the necessary skills and make you more confident, protect your reputation, help you set proofreading rates, and attract more clients.

How many pages can you proofread in an hour?

Experts estimate that proofreading speed ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 words per hour, or 8 to 16 pages per hour.

How much should I charge to proofread?

There is a wide range of skill levels and backgrounds among freelance proofreaders, who charge by the hour. Generally, they charge between $10 and $45 an hour. A professional proofreading service can charge up to $95 an hour for by-the-hour proofreading.

How is proofreading different from Editing?

Proofreaders look for spelling mistakes, incorrect/missing punctuation, and consistency (textually and numerically). As opposed to writing, Editing corrects problems with sentence structure and grammatical clarity. Editing improves the readability of the text, as well as the clarity and tone.

SUMMARY 

Now you are 50% equipped to become a better proofreader; the rest is the practice and dedication that you need to put in for better job prospects. In the initial stages, when you are looking out for online opportunities, beware of the scamsters and go for trusted ones only. Once you become a pro, you also have a higher chance of establishing a successful business of your own. So proofreading is good to go for you and your future. Do not hesitate or doubt your plans. Good luck!!

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