Must-know tips that proofreading training can give you
Whether you get your proofreading training from a university, a specialized course, or on the job, there are many skills that you should expect to learn. Proofreading training will enable you to check manuscripts efficiently. There are certain common mistakes that you should always check for, and there are some forms of grammar and vocabulary that are specific to particular disciplines, like medicine or engineering. Checking for spelling mistakes is an important part of proofreading, and your proofreading training should arm you with insider tips on this task. Once you get basic proofreading training, you will eventually evolve your own hit list of errors common to your particular field of specialization, and you may find you need to adapt standard practices to fit the specific demands of your job.
Most proofreading these days is carried out in electronic format, which means you will be looking through a word processor file. Your proofreading training program should include the use of a particular word processor. Word processor packages all have spellcheckers, and some, such as Microsoft Word, also check for grammar. There is no shame in using this function. However, you should not just open the document in Word, look for red lines, and think your job is done. Your proofreading training will tell you to make sure you have set the dictionary language to the particular dialect of English used by the writer. There is a very distinct difference between American English and British English. Do not rely entirely on the word processor’s spellchecker.
As you read through a text, you will be looking for points of grammar and layout as well as spelling. Handle each of those classifications separately, and only focus on the spelling in the document in one pass. Proofreading training will teach you to read a document several times and to focus on one problem type with each read-through.
Each proofreader has his or her preferred reading method, which to many may seem quirky. For example, many proofreaders insist on reading a text aloud. This is a tip to ensure you read every word, rather than skim. Proofreading training will teach you other methods to ensure you focus on words, including reading the text backwards or even reading it upside down. If you are reading a hard copy of the text, you might follow standard proofreading training advice and use a card to cover the text not yet read or trace the words with your finger as you read.
Your proofreading trainer will tell you to organize your time and get a distraction-free environment for your work. You need all your powers of concentration to focus on proofreading. Don’t break off in the middle of a text, and don’t try to check several documents simultaneously. Proofreading requires a methodical approach; formal training and some good old-fashioned practice will help you develop a method that is suitable to your own circumstances.
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