Proofreading is an essential element of completing any project. It requires a keen eye for details and an effective tried-and-tested strategy to spot the minutest of errors like missing commas, full stops, or misused single or double quotes. As a proofreader, one must ensure there are no typographical or layout problems like an incorrect typeface or weirdly spaced texts.
A proofreading professional must be a devout reader and a sharp-eyed editor. These professionals do not miss a single mistake. They review the whole text several times until they can confidently check-mark their proofreading checklist. It is a tough job that requires a lot of practice to improve the skills. A better proofreader uses some tricks to scrutinize the document effectively. If people wish to take up this job or be better at their profession, they should read on to know five excellent tips that will help improve their proofreading skills.
When folks proofread a document, they always read it out loud. It helps to identify complex sentences that are difficult to comprehend. If you need to stop for a quick breath while reading a particular sentence, it signifies that the sentence is too long. You might notice that you stumble while reading certain words. It means the words are placed correctly or lack fluidity. Reading aloud helps to detect these minor mistakes in the document and understand how the text will sound to its ultimate readers.
This is the most widely used tip by all expert proofreaders. Begin from the last word of the document, reading one word at a time and making it to the top. It is a very effective tip for spotting misspellings. You also come across many repeated words with this technique, which aids you in estimating the probable keyword density of the text. Reading from the top sometimes tricks your brain into understanding a sentence according to its context without paying much attention to the mistakes in that sentence. Backward reading compels the brain to focus on every word and evaluate it individually.
Run Your Finger Through Every Word
It is a classic tip suggested by many professionals. Using your finger while reading a document is a great way to actually focus on every single word. Scrutinize the text very slowly, pointing your finger at the word you are currently on. If you read fast, you won’t be able to examine the pages correctly and may miss many errors. When using your finger to read, you force your brain to stop at every word and evaluate it with great concentration.
Focus on the Titles and Headings
Titles and headings are the first to capture the readers’ attention. But, surprisingly, the subtle mistakes in them are often overlooked. Hence, paying significant attention to these bold texts and double-checking them for any errors is crucial. If the page contains a numbered list, ensure that the numbers are placed correctly and that none are missed.
Make Your Own Checklist
There might be a case where the mistake you have made while proofreading your client’s document is not on the template checklist. In such a situation, creating your own proofreading checklist is best. This practice allows you to incorporate all possible writing errors a writer will likely make. This checklist can be reused the next time you scrutinize another client’s text.
The Bottom Line
Proofreading is all about practice and attentiveness. The more papers you proofread, the better you become at this job. It is not only about spotting errors but ensuring that the text is in perfect format and easily understandable by its ultimate readers.