Proofreading and editing: Four eyes see more than two
Do I have to put a comma here or not? Should I use hyphens here? Does the text read well? Anyone who has ever written a text has to deal with these issues. Even if they are only trivial for some, you don’t want to neglect them when writing a professional text. To be on the safe side, you would be better off asking proofreaders and editors for help.
But what are the differences between proofreading and editing? And what are the advantages of a grammatically correct and stylistically appropriate text? You will find the answers to these questions in this article.
What does proofreading involve?
In short, proofreading deals exclusively with objective errors and is used, for example, after translations or when the client is already satisfied with a text and just wants a check – the finishing touch, so to speak.
The proofreader mainly checks and corrects the following:
- Expression error
Otherwise, the text remains untouched and neither content nor stylistic changes are made. That is why proofreading often comes into play in scientific work where the content must not be changed under any circumstances. We will take a closer look later on at the texts for which proofreading and editing are also useful.
Anyone who wants the highest level of stylistic excellence for their texts, in addition to objective perfection, is well advised to use a proofreading service.
What do you have to consider when editing?
Like proofreaders, editors are perfectionists and have an eye for detail. While the style of a text remains untouched during proofreading, this freedom is given during editing. The proofreader focuses on the following five points, among others, and adapts the text accordingly.
- Logic and comprehension
Is the text structured logically and comprehensibly or does it lack a common thread? If so, the editor may and must rearrange the text as often as necessary until it is comprehensible to the reader.
- Style, tonality and register
A manual differs in style, tone and register from a marketing brochure, which in turn differs from a product catalogue. With linguistic sensitivity and experience, the editor knows exactly which passages need to be adapted and how, so that the text achieves exactly the purpose and target audience it is meant to reach.
If all the numbering is correct, the references are structured in the same way, the layout makes reading easier, the same technical terms are used throughout for certain concepts … then every reader is happy.
- Sentence structure
Commas can make reading easier, but they can also make it more difficult. The more used in a sentence, the more complicated the sentence structure becomes. A proofreader takes care of this, untangles the complexity and thus ensures easy reading.
- Filler words
A text is often a copy of someone’s exact words. This tactic carries the risk of unnecessary filler words that make the text seem longer and sometimes more flowery, but do not contribute much to the actual message. Therefore, editing quite often has to give way to words like “so” or “quite”.
Is a text “good to go” when all these little mistakes have been ironed out in the editing process? Not quite …
Editing, proofreading, translation – which comes first?
Text > Proofreading and editing the source text
This order is not set in stone, however, because should a translation of the text into one or more languages be added, it can be adapted individually.
Let’s say you want to have a text translated into different languages, but you are not yet completely satisfied with the source text. In this case, it would make more sense to have the source text perfected by editing and proofreading first before giving this version to the translator.
This saves editing all individual translations and only requires checking them for the finishing touches during proofreading. After all, the motto “four eyes see more than two” also applies to translations. The order would then be:
Text > Proofreading and editing the source text > Translation(s) > Proofreading the target text(s)
This tactic not only saves time, but also cash. And while we are on the subject: Forgoing text editing for cost reasons and relying only on proofreading is not very advisable. Because a flawless, beautifully flowing and consistent text is much more advantageous in the long run.
Why editing and proofreading?
Whether professional or private – in many areas a text must be error-free. Just think of …
… scientific papers or articles published in professional journals,
… applications or theses that can be decisive for further career development,
… promotional material that must serve a specific purpose,
… teaching material that is intended to be a “role model” for pupils and students or
… wills or contracts where even one misplaced word could have far-reaching consequences.
However, the advantages of excellent text quality can also be much higher in the long term. Especially nowadays, when there is a lot of competition in almost every industry, you can stand out from your competitors with optimal texts and thus strengthen your image as a company over time.
As you can see, editing and proofreading should by no means be disregarded when creating a text. These two services, especially in combination, can raise any text to a premium level, which pleases not only the readers, but also yourself.
If you are not quite sure whether your text needs both editing and proofreading, or if the latter is already sufficient, get in touch with us. We will be happy to look at it with you and find the ideal approach. With the help of our professional editors and proofreaders, who have both linguistic and industry-specific know-how, your perfect text will be ready in no time.