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Proofreader Courses: The Googd, the Back, and the Ugley

ProofreadingCamp.com helps you learn how to evaluate proofreader courses.

Learn how to evaluate proofreader courses

ProofreadingCamp.com helps you learn how to evaluate proofreader courses.If the title of this article irritates you, you might consider a career as a proofreader. Proofreading is a specialized aspect of editing that requires you to correct spelling and grammatical errors without rewriting large pieces of the text. A proofreader is not a critic or an editor and should not overstep the boundaries of the job. However, a proofreader is not someone with reading abilities who just walked in off the street. You need a solid grounding in the skill, so you need to investigate proofreader courses.

Where to look

Fortunately, the World Wide Web has brought us online proofreader courses, and you no longer have to apply to a university to get industry-standard training. The reach of the web gives you the option of taking courses provided in many different English-speaking countries. If you are multilingual, you could even look for proofreader courses in other languages. To find a suitable course, your first stop should be your favorite search engine.

What to look for

If you are interested in proofreading, make sure you narrow your search to courses that have “proofreading” in the title. This may seem like a piece of useless advice, but it’s actually incredibly important because of the sometimes-unclear boundary between proofreading and editing. The skill of proofreading is an essential part of any editing job, so many editing courses include proofreading but don’t specialize in it. Resolve to consider just proofreader courses.

Live or offline

Your particular circumstances will dictate whether you focus on proofreader courses that enable you to learn at your own pace or those proofreader courses that are conducted as webinars with live interaction with the tutor. Keep your budget in mind when making this selection. One-on-one tuition can prove expensive, even if it is conducted over the Internet. Your schedule will also dictate whether you can log in at specified times to participate in discussions or whether you would be better off taking a pre-written course.

Supported or unsupported

Proofreader courses that are made up of pages of text to read are much cheaper than those with interactive video. However, don’t go too cheap. If you get into difficulties with some of the course notes, you will have wasted your money. The course should at least include support from a contact at the school. You may not need interactive support, but an email exchange to enable you to clear up any points of confusion is well worth the extra fee. A named contact is easier to deal with than an anonymous help desk. Make sure the course you choose is supported by experienced tutors who speak English as their native language.

Check credentials

Only consider proofreader courses offered by experienced editing and proofreading services. You may find courses offered by general training companies. Consider it a warning sign if you find proofreader courses listed among tutorials on a wide range of other subjects. For an example of what to look for, check out the proofreader courses at ProofreadingCamp. This online training specializes in proofreading and is offered by Scribendi.com, an award-winning editing and proofreading service that has been in business for 15 years. Make sure you’re learning your craft from an authority on the subject.

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What Will I Learn in a Proofreader Course?

What Will I Learn in a Proofreader Course

Find out what an author can gain from taking a proofreader course

What Will I Learn in a Proofreader CourseWriters often overlook the mistakes in their work. You may read through your finished piece and think it is fantastic, but are you the best person to judge? You may be aware of your inadequate spelling and grammar skills but unable to afford to pay a professional proofreader to go over everything you write. A proofreader course will help you assess your work objectively. Look for a proofreader course that will help you recognize common mistakes and improve the salability of your writing.

Spelling mistakes

No one is perfect at spelling. When you read over your finished work, you are unlikely to spot errors in words that you just don’t know how to spell. There are some common pitfalls in spelling that millions of people repeat all their lives. Your proofreader course should be able to list the most frequent spelling errors and help you look out for them. Also, these courses can direct you to tools that will highlight your spelling mistakes.

Grammar

As with spelling, your proofreader course should include a list of the most frequently made grammatical errors. You won’t be forced into the stilted phraseology sometimes used by academics, but you will be taught the correct way to phrase commonly accepted English. Because spelling and grammar are closely related, expect a lot of interaction between these two topics. Words alter their meaning based on the grammatical context, even if they retain the same spelling. Similarly, words that are spelled differently but sound the same can be used correctly only in specific grammatical contexts.

Typos

Typing errors should be the easiest mistakes for you to spot. Most of the spelling and grammar mistakes you make are probably because you do not know the correct spelling or you haven’t been taught proper grammar. Typos, however, are simple accidents that occur when you’re racing to type out words on your keyboard in an attempt to keep up with the speed of your thoughts. Your proofreader course should provide you with a method for tracking down typos in your written work.

Language

A proofreader course should remind you to always be consistent with the language you use. This type of proofreading sorts out the muddle that exists between the different varieties of the English language. Remember the saying “England and America are two countries divided by a common language”? Don’t mix British and American spelling in the same piece. Your proofreader course should teach you to stick to one standard dictionary.

Organization

Good proofreading requires good concentration. Your proofreader course will recommend ways to organize your work so you are less likely to get confused or distracted. You may be hoping to take up proofreading as a career, so the organizational part of the proofreader course should cover the business of being a proofreader.

Reminders

Your proofreader course won’t be of much use if the lessons don’t sink in. You should expect the course to include periodic tests. Specifically, you should be able to check your comprehension at the end of each module. You might be daunted by this prospect, thinking back to the three-hour-long exams you took in college. However, online courses have more subtle methods to make sure you understand the contents of the course. ProofreadingCamp, for example, includes interactive games to reinforce key points and help students check their progress. So relax, and look forward to your proofreader course. You will soon be sharpening your writing skills and improving your earning potential.

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The Ideal Candidates for Proofreader Jobs

The Ideal Candidates for Proofreader Jobs

Decide whether to apply for proofreader jobs

The Ideal Candidates for Proofreader Jobs When considering a literary career, the first job that springs to mind is that of writer. However, there are many different career paths within the writing industry. As well as writing jobs, you have the option of pursuing editing jobs. Not everyone enjoys the stress of editing, though, and a less stressful alternative is proofreader jobs. Just consider whether you have the right temperament for proofreading before you start searching for available proofreader jobs.

Location, location, location

Not so long ago, proofreaders were limited to the opportunities available in their neighborhoods. People living in big cities had more options than those living in small towns. Yet small-town residents often enjoyed living away from major urban centers and wouldn’t consider any career that would require them to move to a city. The Internet changed this imbalance of opportunities. Now it is possible to find proofreader jobs online, which opens up a world of options for people living in rural areas or areas with few employment opportunities in the publishing field.

Types of proofreader jobs

Anything and everything that anyone writes for commercial purposes needs checking. The simplest explanation of proofreader jobs is that they require you to check through something that someone else has written and correct any mistakes. This particularly applies to spelling, grammar, and typing errors. You will often find, however, that the people interviewing candidates for proofreader jobs are looking for evidence of specialization. For example, the style and complexity of academic papers necessitate the use of a language that is much different than that used in sales brochures. If you are skilled in checking other people’s work, the subject of the piece shouldn’t really matter. However, in the real world, it often does, and you will find yourself searching for proofreader jobs in specific fields, such as technical, medical, academic, or general proofreading.

Proofreader personalities

The ideal proofreader is methodical and reliable. Often, the proofreader is the last person to approve a piece of work before it gets published, so there is no room for oversights or errors. Proofreader jobs require total concentration, and candidates who can prove they are not easily distracted are likely to excel in this career. You have to be thorough in applying spelling and grammar rules to someone else’s work. Also, you don’t need to suggest improvements in style or tone to do well in these proofreader jobs.

Someone who is easily bored or likes to handle several tasks at once should not apply for proofreader jobs. If you cannot sit still and work from start to finish on checking an article, you are likely to miss sections or waste time rereading parts of the text. Fidgety, lively people are more likely to get job satisfaction from creative work, and such people should aim for writing or editing jobs rather than proofreading.

Lifestyle

Some people can cope with stress and an unsettled home life. If you are able to completely switch off from your daily troubles when you go to work, you might consider applying for proofreader jobs. Employers may look at your personal circumstances when considering you for a proofreading role. Be prepared to be turned down for personal reasons if your résumé does not clearly demonstrate that you have a stable home life. Proofreading is not for everyone, but it can bring a financially and emotionally rewarding career to those with calm and methodical personalities.

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How to Choose an Online Proofreading Course

How to Choose an Online Proofreading Course

How to Choose an Online Proofreading CourseWith the onslaught of options in online proofreading courses that have recently emerged, you may have a hard time deciding which one is best for you. If you’re actively looking for a course, you’re probably just getting started with editing and proofreading—which makes choosing the right course a daunting and confusing task. Don’t get overwhelmed by the options! There are a few specific things you should look for when choosing an online proofreading course.

Credentials

This may seem obvious now, but when you’re hunting through a huge list of courses, it may not occur to you. However, the credentials of the company offering the course should be the first thing you look for. Credentials come in the form of portfolios, client lists, and awards won by the company. If there’s a parent company for the online proofreading course, look into that as well. You should then choose which website looks like the best training course for your particular needs.

If a website doesn’t appear to have any sort of history or credentials, avoid taking an online proofreading course there. Anyone can open a site and pretend to have the expertise to run a course. Don’t get tricked into wasting your money on amateur sites.

Choose the type of course you require

You’ll want to pick the type of editing or proofreading you want to get into. You also need to pick what kind of training you need more of. If you’re looking for help with grammar, you’ll want to specifically look at an online proofreading course that addresses your weaknesses, as well as the area you want to enter. If you need an overall learning experience, you’ll want to find a course that is more general.

Read through the types of lessons the online proofreading course offers before paying for anything. You don’t want to end up taking a course that is beyond (or far below) your skill level.

An online proofreading course with assessments

You may remember the days in school where a test or exam was the biggest thing to fear. However, assessments are important in the learning process and in retaining knowledge. When you’re starting your career, you need to be sure you have the tools you need when you need them.

Assessments throughout the online proofreading course are important; also look for other methods and teaching tools that will help you learn the information, such as mini quizzes or games.

Preparation for the field

It’s not enough to just have the skills in the competitive market of editing and proofreading. When looking for proofreading jobs, you want to find an online proofreading course that will provide expert advice on the business. A good course will inform you about the options you have once you start your career. It’s not a good move to go into your career without knowing what to expect or the rates you should be asking for. It is becoming increasingly common for companies to underpay their freelancers to save money. This results in editors, proofreaders, and writers working for far less than what they deserve and what will sustain their livelihood.

Furthermore, you need to know about the different types of editing (if you are not already aware) that you may eventually get into. Once you’ve completed the course, you may be surprised to learn that the type of editing you expected to get involved with isn’t the type you want to do. Keep your mind open and pay attention to any information you get about working in each specific field.

Don’t worry about the hassle of looking for a helpful course, try out ProofreadingCamp, the premier online proofreading course!

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What to Expect From a Proofreading Course

What to Expect From a Proofreading Course

What to Expect From a Proofreading Course Taking a proofreading course is an entirely new experience compared with any other kind of class. The expectations are different, and the format of the course feels much more relaxed than others if you’re taking it online. If you’re worried about what to expect from a proofreading course and what will be expected from you, then read on to assuage your fears.

Time management

When you take a proofreading course online that lets you go at your own pace, you have to learn how to manage your time well. You won’t have someone telling you when each lesson needs to be completed. You’ll have to ensure you do that yourself within an appropriate schedule, particularly if your proofreading course has a time limit on the subscription.

If you aren’t in the habit of using a day planner and scheduling time for tasks, it may be time to start. This is a good lesson to learn from your proofreading course, particularly if you want to make editing your career. You’ll need to know how to manage your time appropriately for deadlines if you work as a proofreader from home.

Prepare for quizzes

What would a learning experience be without methods to test your knowledge? Just because a proofreading course is online doesn’t mean you won’t have quizzes. Expect a few here and there to ensure you have learned what you’ve been taught in the lessons. Don’t be intimidated by these. Most courses have features like games and other learning tools to help you learn and retain knowledge. All these quizzes do is make sure you are getting the most from the proofreading course so you’re as prepared as possible for your future editing job.

Learning the symbols

Like almost anything else, proofreading has a technical language. This comes in the form of proofreading symbols you’ll need to use on the job. These are important for helping you communicate your message and your edits to the next person who reads the copy. In some cases, this person may even be you, returning to the copy to make the edits.

Information on the business

The last thing you want is to be thrown into the world of professional proofreading without any knowledge of how the business itself works. A good proofreading course will help prepare you for that. You’ll get knowledge on the inner workings of the business from people who have been in it for years.

You’ll learn the ins and outs of different editing options so that when it comes time to decide between freelancing and working in-house, you’ll know the pros and cons of either option. You’ll also learn what is expected of you as a proofreader. Of course, each company expects different specific responsibilities from their editors, proofreaders, and writers, based on the style or genre. With your proofreading course, you’ll be given the tools you need to follow any expectations required.

Testing your grammar

If you’re hoping to become a proofreader, you must have a solid foundation in grammar. The proofreading course should (and will) test your grammar skills. You’ll learn the rules you need to know to be a good proofreader. At times, you may find this task challenging, complicated, and convoluted. A good proofreading course will prepare you so that the rules become easy and second nature. It is best if you have some kind of foundation in the rules of grammar before starting your proofreading course.

If you’re ready to get started on an exciting and challenging new path, sign up for ProofreadingCamp today!

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What You’ll Learn in Proofreading Class

What You’ll Learn in Proofreading Class

Mark Twain, a former typesetter turned journalist, once quipped, “In the first place, God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made proofreaders.”

That quote is often recounted on the What You’ll Learn in Proofreading Classfirst day of a proofreading class. It demonstrates an important lesson: great authors need a proofreader, even if they don’t always appreciate the profession.

A proofreading course from a reliable provider will teach you to confidently tackle the manuscripts of any future Mark Twains. A thorough course will help you develop many new techniques and refine the language skills you already had.

Many people think proofreading is all about finding typos and spelling mistakes, but there is, in fact, much more involved.

What to expect from proofreading class

The first lesson in a proofreading class usually covers what proofreading is and isn’t.

The aim of proofreading is to ensure that you do not submit articles filled with spelling errors and bad grammar. Ideally, an editor will have already worked on the text to make sure the message is clear.

Many people confuse editing and proofreading, but the basic difference is that editing concentrates on the content, making sure the discussion or story is logical and coherent. Proofreading focuses on eliminating errors without changing the content.

Proofreading is usually the final stage in any publication process, so proofreaders have the responsibility to be consistently accurate.

Perfection takes more than practice

Imagine you have to work on a 60,000-word manuscript. That’s about the length of a short novel. How can you possibly make sure that every word is spelled correctly and occurs in exactly the right place within its sentence?

In a proofreading class, you will learn techniques for ensuring accuracy. One useful method for new proofreaders, especially for finding omitted and repeated words, is to read the text out loud. (Don’t worry, you won’t be asked to do this with a whole novel when you’re starting out.) The idea is to get you to slow down and look at each individual word.

Usually, when we read, our eyes skim over the text, picking up patterns of words. As long as the first and last letters of the word are in the right place and the word looks about the right length, we will be able to recognize it.

You can esaliy undresatnd tihs setnecne, for emxalpe.

After some practice, you will train your eyes and brain to carefully examine the letters of each word without reading aloud. You’ll get steadily quicker, too.

Combining speed with accuracy

While proofreaders have to consider every word carefully, they have to work efficiently, too. For that reason, you will learn some useful shortcuts in a proofreading class.

For example, you will learn to look out for many commonly confused words. There are the obvious homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently), such as “their,” “there,” and “they’re.” But there are also many less noticeable bad grammar examples that even a spell-checker won’t pick up:

  • “principle” instead of “principal” (and vice versa)
  • “affect” instead of “effect”
  • “accept” instead of “except”
  • “complement” instead of “compliment”

The same, only different

Just to make it even more confusing, a proofreading class will also teach you that even some correctly spelled words will be wrong in some circumstances. Take “color” and “colour,” for example. Some publishers will only accept the American English spelling (“color”), while others insist on British English (“colour”).

As a proofreader, you will have to adapt to each publisher’s preferences. Fortunately, most major publishers, including universities, provide an overview of their particular demands in a style guide. Other publishers follow established style guides, such as the Chicago Manual of Style.

In a proofreading class, you will learn about the different spelling rules of the many varieties of English and get a crash course in the most common style guides. Be sure to sign up for an accredited training course with a good reputation.

ProofreadingCamp is where you will learn these lessons in detail and become skilled in many more proofreading techniques. The online proofreading course allows you to take your proofreading class anywhere, at any time.

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How to Establish Proofreading Rates

How to Establish Proofreading Rates

A short guide to proofreading rates and the methods for determining them

How to Establish Proofreading RatesA question that weighs heavily on the minds of novice freelance proofreaders is how to set a fair rate schedule for their services.

There is no short answer to this question. In theory, as a freelance proofreader, you can set your own hourly rates which, according to the 2013 guidelines of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) in the UK, should be a minimum of £21.40 (US$33.29) for proofreading. Copyright restrictions prohibit any further disclosure of SfEP guidelines here, but you can view them online. However, theory does not always correspond with practice. Proofreading rates vary from company to company. Most publishers have their own set rates for freelance work, and it’s up to you to accept the rates or simply decline the job.

Experience is key

When you’re first starting out, gaining valuable proofreading experience is the most important factor. You should think about landing proofreading jobs to beef up your portfolio, even doing volunteer jobs or working for free. Experience and good references are important to potential clients and will allow you to reasonably ask more for your services. This is not the time to be concerned about whether you’re getting the recommended proofreading rates. Charging lower rates now will pay off in the future; it will allow you to attract new clients and eventually be more particular about who you want to work for, what type of work you would like to do, and what rates you’re prepared to accept.

Some special considerations

Before signing a contract or agreeing to a rate or fee for a job, make sure your client is clear about what a proofreader does; you don’t want to agree to proofreading rates only to find out the work actually requires copyediting. Many proofreaders offer per-word or per-page fees, as well as options for hourly or flat rates. You can offer higher rates for weekend work or a faster turnaround time, or you can offer discounts for lower income groups, such as students or people on benefits.

How much?

Most people prefer to know exactly what proofreading services will cost before making a commitment. Base your per-page or per-word proofreading rates on earnings of $15.00 to $40.00 per hour. (Calculate how many pages or words you can read per hour.) Charging by the page is often preferred. The established industry standard for a “page” is 250 words. To figure out your exact page count, divide your word count by 250. Remember that hourly proofreading rates do not include expenses such as postage and telephone charges, which you should figure into your expenses.

Pricing a job depends on several factors: the breadth of the assignment; the type of work to be done; the discipline (general, scientific, legal, etc.); the type of employer (magazine, tech firm, nonprofit, etc.); and your experience with the topic. These factors will determine where your fee for a particular job will fit within the $15.00 to $40.00 proofreading rate range mentioned above. Clients submitting science, technical, or medical material prefer proofreaders with backgrounds in these fields, and the level of technical expertise required drives proofreading rates for these types of documents to the higher end of the spectrum. Social sciences documents tend to draw lower proofreading rates, and work from the trade publishing sector rarely returns the standard recommended rates (however interesting these jobs may be).

Your own business

As a freelance proofreader, you are effectively a small business owner. The proofreading rates you choose to accept or the jobs you turn down are up to you. Think about your goals and how important a particular client is to you and your business. Negotiation is always an option. But remember that accepting a lower rate for a client who promises regular work in the future might be more profitable in the long run than holding out for top dollar on a single job. Think about what you might earn from this client over the course of time or the value of the experience you might acquire. Remember that repeat work also means you won’t have to spend time and money marketing yourself; repeat work makes for a sustainable business.

So there you have it—the many components you need to consider when establishing freelance proofreading rates.

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Do I Need to Take a Proofreading Course?

Proofreading course

Who would benefit from a proofreading course?

Proofreading CourseAnyone who aims for a career in proofreading would be expected to take a proofreading course in one form or another. The traditional path to any job in publishing begins with a university degree in an English-related discipline, such as English literature, journalism, or communications. However, times are changing, and there are many other routes into publishing. Writing and editing are two other jobs that require proofreading skills. You would be unlikely to get far if your finished work in either of these fields failed to meet expected standards in spelling and grammar. So proofreaders are not the only ones who should consider taking a proofreading course.

Proofreaders

The Internet has opened up the possibility of a proofreading career to people from many different backgrounds. For example, many teachers, who are used to correcting their students’ work, find it easy to do proofreading work to supplement their income. Some become so comfortable with the role that they end up quitting their day job to take on proofreading as a full-time career. Anyone edging into proofreading from another profession would need to take a short proofreading course to understand the demands of the job.

Copywriters

Like proofreading, copywriting is a career that is available to people who did not study English in college or university. Websites specializing in advice on medicine, engineering, or technology need writers with knowledge and experience in those fields. Anyone switching from a non-publishing background to a writing career would need to take a proofreading course to ensure that his or her English skills are up to scratch.

Editors

Proofreading is an essential part of editing, so any trainee editor should take a proofreading course. Even editors who come from a university background may be expected to take a proofreading course at several points in their career. This is because the English language is constantly changing, and publishing industry standards change with it.

Academics

The reputation of budding scientists in academia is built on the number and quality of papers they have published in their chosen fields. A limited number of publications are seen as credible outlets for scientific papers in any discipline. Therefore, a young researcher seeking recognition cannot afford a reputation for poor spelling and sloppy grammar. A proofreading course is a good career move for those who hope to establish a name in their chosen academic field.

Take a proofreading course

You may feel that you cannot take time off from work to attend a proofreading course, or perhaps there is no proofreading course within commuting distance. Fortunately, you can take a proofreading course online so you don’t have to be in a particular place at a specific time. An online course, such as the one offered by ProofreadingCamp, lets you acquire proofreading skills without disrupting your daily schedule.

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