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How to Learn Proofreading

Learn proofreading

You can learn proofreading from home with an online course

Learn ProofreadingYou don’t need to go to a university or community college to learn proofreading. Plenty of options are available online, which means you can fit your studies around your schedule. Not everyone can afford to take time off from work to take an intensive course, and that is probably the main benefit of the online method if you want to learn proofreading.

Home-based career

Proofreading is an ideal career choice for those who want to, or need to, work from home. You don’t need to commute to the big city to make a living in this career, and a training course that you can do at home to qualify for these home-based jobs is a natural choice. Just about everyone has an Internet connection these days; that, and a computer, are all you need to learn proofreading from home.

Who should learn proofreading

Proofreading skills are useful in many walks of life. You might be a teacher or a professor who needs better guidance on how to mark course work. Proofreading is an essential part of editing, and writers can benefit from learning ways to proofread their own work. Of course, if you learn proofreading, you’ll also open up the career path to becoming a professional proofreader.

How to learn proofreading

Taking a class in proofreading can be a little frustrating. People learn at their own pace, and that means that some want to race ahead while others learn slowly and steadily. You will find it easier to learn proofreading if you are able to learn at a pace that suits you. Online proofreading courses, like that offered by ProofreadingCamp, are faster to work through than correspondence courses because they offer quicker responses to queries and submissions than courses that rely on mail.

Backup

You could learn proofreading by buying a book on the subject, but then you would not have anyone to turn to for clarification on the parts of the book you don’t understand. An online training course is more than just class notes because you have access to a tutor who can explain sections of the course that might confuse you. This support is an essential element of any course you take to learn proofreading. You can better understand the material if you have the opportunity to seek explanations the moment you have questions, rather than waiting until the end of class or waiting for the mailman to bring a reply.

In your own time

If you want to learn proofreading, consider taking an online course so that you can study in your own time and at your own pace. The professionals who put these courses together have years of experience in proofreading and will make it as easy as possible for you to learn proofreading thoroughly.

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How to Become a Proofreader

How to Become a Proofreader

Easy steps to learn how to become a proofreader

How to Become a Proofreader So, you have no formal training, but you’re curious about how to become a proofreader because you have seen proofreading jobs that you think fit your skills and expertise well. If you paid attention in your high school English classes, you already have the basics. You know all about correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, and capitalization. But, there is much more to proofreading than the basics, and that’s where specialized classes and training come in.

How to become a proofreader

One way to learn how to become a proofreader is to search your public library for books on proofreading. If there is a particular field that interests you (e.g., science), you might contact the larger institutions in that field and ask them to recommend the training or qualifications they look for in job applicants. If your goal is to work directly with writers or an advertising agency, talk to people in those fields. It is always beneficial to research proofreading by consulting the end user.

Another path to becoming a proofreader is taking online proofreading courses. These courses will teach you how to apply the correct style, formatting, and layout to a document. A good proofreading course will teach you about margins, lists, bullets, headlines, headings, subheadings, captions, vocabulary, and alphabetized copy.

When you become a proofreader, you will deal with more than just words—you will also have to examine numerical charts, tables, and graphs. In addition, if you proofread online, you will need to become familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat, and LaTeX.

Becoming a proofreader also involves learning a variety of stylebooks and formats, including the Associated Press Stylebook, The Chicago Manual of Style (often called Chicago or CMOS), the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (often called APA), the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (MLA is the Modern Language Association), and A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (often simply called Turabian, after the author who composed the guide).

Why take a proofreading course?

In the process of learning how to become a proofreader, it is important to take into account your expertise in a particular field as well as your experience. However, without formal training, you may have difficulty getting a job. Publishers and employers generally like to see evidence of your education, which you will enhance after taking a certified proofreading course.

Which proofreading course should you take?

There are many commercial course options for those seeking to learn how to become a proofreader, but it’s hard to know whom to trust. A good way to embark on discovering how to be a proofreader is to talk to someone who is already a proofreader. If you don’t know anyone personally, you can find proofreaders online, on blogs, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter. Another good source of information is a national organization for editors and proofreaders. Some of these organizations may offer their own proofreading programs. For example, in London, England, the Publishing Training Centre at Book House, an educational charity, offers an online proofreading course. So does the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, also in London.

Scribendi.com, an ISO 9001-2008 certified company recognized for its editing and proofreading expertise, now offers Proofreading Camp, a comprehensive program for anyone wanting to learn how to become a proofreader. A certificate of completion is accorded upon completion of this course. The course includes various sections which cover the following topics:

  • The definition of proofreading
  • Types and methods of proofreading
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors
  • Proofreading numbers, capitals, and abbreviations
  • Proofreading for style compliance
  • The major style guides
  • Understanding type, format, and layout
  • Common error hiding places
  • The publication industry
  • Finding work

If you are still wondering how to become a proofreader, then use these helpful resources to start you out on the correct path, and be sure to check out ProofreadingCamp, the online proofreading course, today.

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What is Freelance Proofreading and What Job Opportunities Exist?

What is Freelance Proofreading and What Job Opportunities are Available

Tips about how to land your next freelance proofreading job

What is freelance proofreading?

What is Freelance Proofreading and What Job Opportunities are AvailableA proofreader is someone who examines a manuscript for errors in spelling, grammar, and sentence structure after an editor has gone over the work for tone and style. The proofreader corrects basic errors so the work can be typeset, and he or she may review it again after it has been typeset to confirm that it is error-free.

Freelance proofreading is a form of proofreading in which you work independently, taking in work from a wide variety of clients. You are not employed by a specific publisher or company but are self-employed and offer your services to several businesses on a temporary basis.

Many proofreaders choose to do freelance proofreading because they enjoy its flexibility. You can set your own work hours; you may like to work at night, for example, while others may prefer to work early in the day. Without having to report to an office or an employer, you can work on freelance proofreading while minding children or running another business. You can accept proofreading jobs directly from authors or take contract work from publishing houses or printers. Freelance proofreaders can negotiate prices directly with their clients. Freelance proofreading also allows you to decide how much or how little work you want to do and to decide which clients you want to work with. There is no formal contract of employment involved in freelance proofreading; therefore, there is no obligation on the part of an employer to provide work or on the part of the freelance proofreader to accept work.

Freelance proofreading obviously lacks the security of formal employment, including health benefits, company pensions, and paid holidays; however, many freelancers are willing to accept these disadvantages in exchange for the opportunity to work from home and avoid a daily commute. Plus, freelance proofreading is a skill that is always in demand!

To be successful at freelance proofreading, you should:

  • be appropriately trained for the clients you are targeting,
  • be able to network effectively,
  • be disciplined,
  • work well independently, and be happy doing so,
  • have strong relationship-building skills,
  • be able to effectively balance your work and personal lives,
  • market your business, and
  • continually update your skill set.

How can I find opportunities in freelance proofreading?

Several methods are suggested for finding work in the freelance proofreading industry:

  1. Use personal contacts. If you have already had an in-house proofreading job, tell everyone—at your old company and elsewhere—that you are going freelance, giving them all your contact details and a good idea of what you can offer.
  2. Network. Search for networking opportunities by attending local groups, forums, professional meetings, and annual conferences. You might also wish to join your local chamber of commerce or other business forums. Join LinkedIn. Set up a Facebook business page. Contact publishers.
  3. Use directories. Various online directories list people offering freelance editing. Be cautious when using these, however; their success rates are erratic, and they might be ploys by spammers to elicit e-mail addresses.
  4. Advertise. Making up business cards and creating your own web site are effective ways to promote yourself. Advertising in the Yellow Pages is free, although this might make you the target of marketing campaigns. You can send leaflets to local businesses or get together with freelance workers in related fields, such as designers, typesetters, or translators, and offer one-stop shopping. Professional proofreading societies are sometimes willing to advertise your skills and availability to members or other associations.
  5. Obtain an industry-recognized qualification in proofreading. There are numerous proofreading courses offered. Make sure you choose the right one for you. For example, check out ProofreadingCamp, a comprehensive online proofreading course providing interactivity and a certificate of completion offered by Scribendi.com, the leader in online editing and proofreading.
  6. Join relevant professional organizations. This is an avenue for networking that will also help you grow your skillset, learn about new opportunities, and increase your professional credibility. Consider joining the Editorial Freelancers Association, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, or a professional group within your field of specialization.

What freelance proofreading opportunities are available?

There are literally thousands of publishers all over the world. There are also thousands of specialized journals that are published monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. All these publishers require copy editors and proofreaders. Publishers make use of freelance proofreading for at least two reasons: (1) the flow of work through a publishing house can be erratic, so it makes sense to employ labor only when needed; and (2) some books and journals, especially if highly technical, require the experience of a specialist in a particular subject. Such expert knowledge is not always available in-house, so a freelance specialist is contracted.

In addition to publishing companies, there are a number of other possible places to advertise your freelance proofreading skills, such as businesses, students, bloggers, web site developers, and school or organizational newsletters. Use your imagination; the possibilities are endless!

Still, it is not always easy to find freelance proofreading work. Even though a great deal of work is to be had, there are many people chasing it. The good news is that publishers always need new freelance proofreaders for a variety of reasons: retirement, illness, maternity leaves, holiday relief, or even a sudden excess of work. As with any other job, you just have to be able to convince a prospective client that you are the most qualified person for the job.

One of life’s greatest privileges is to work at what you love. With a little training and dedication, you too could be working at your dream job from home, perhaps wearing your fuzzy bunny slippers. Best of luck with your quest!

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5 Things to Consider if You Want to Be a Proofreader

Five Things to Consider if You Want to Be a Proofreader

Five Things to Consider if You Want to Be a ProofreaderWhat a conundrum! As evidenced by text messages, online forums, web sites, business signage, and even newspapers, never have so many people used the written word to communicate—yet never have so few exhibited correct spelling and punctuation. Proofreaders are concerned with the same grammatical details that seem to be falling through the cracks. If you have wondered how to become a proofreader—fantastic! The world needs you.

Is this the type of work for you?

Scribendi.com, the leading online editing and proofreading company, lists some personality characteristics a proofreader should possess. You must enjoy working on many different types of documents, have strong research skills, have a long attention span, and have a moderate level of computer and Internet knowledge. And it goes without saying that you must pay sharp attention to detail.

Five things to consider if you want to be a proofreader

1. Love to Read

To be a proofreader, you must love to read. You should enjoy reading many different forms of writing, familiarize yourself with various writing styles, and acquire knowledge in a broad range of subjects. Read books, newspapers, web sites, and even the text displayed on TV news programs and commercials with a critical eye. This will help train you to spot errors in spelling, punctuation, and word usage.

2. Understand the Skills Required

To be a proofreader, you must understand the specific skills that you require. You must be competent in correct word usage, spelling, and punctuation. You must be perceptive enough to understand what a writer intends to say, even though the written text in front of you might not be perfectly clear. Many professionals also suggest that you use techniques such as reading the text backwards, reading the text aloud, or reading a printed version of online text.

3. Solid Computer Skills

To be a proofreader, you will need solid computer skills. Quite often, proofreading is done on-screen, so you’ll need to be familiar with the proofreading and editing tools in your word processing program, such as Microsoft Word’s Track Changes and Insert Comments features. Occasionally, clients may prefer that you print out the text, proofread the hard copy, and then fax it back. In those cases, you’ll need to possess knowledge of proofreading symbols and know how to use a printer and fax machine.

4. Know the Stylebooks

To be a proofreader, you should also familiarize yourself with the most common stylebooks. Organizations often adopt an established style guide or create their own in-house guide. You should at least become familiar with the AP Style Guide, used by most newspapers and online news organizations and many websites, and the APA and MLA style guides, used by many academics. Other stylebooks include the Chicago Manual of Style, the New York Times Manual of Style, and the AMA Manual of Style. In addition, for a good refresher on grammar, punctuation, and language usage, take a look at The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E.B. White.

5. Consider Formal Training

You should consider some type of formal training if you want to be a proofreader. High school courses in English, journalism, and literature will give you a foundation in language and basic proofreading skills. You can supplement this knowledge with post-secondary education, or with online courses and tutorials. One such course is ProofreadingCamp. This online proofreading course offers lessons on the various types and methods of proofreading; proofreading for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors; proofreading for style guide compliance; understanding type, format, and layout; common error hiding places; proofreading on-screen; the publication industry; and how to find work. ProofreadingCamp provides a certificate upon successful completion.

When you consider training, you should reflect on any personal areas of interest. If you wish to be a proofreader in a particular field, such as finance, law, or medicine, you may want to concentrate your training efforts in one of those areas. This may lead to greater financial rewards and more personal satisfaction than trying to proofread anything that comes your way.

Final thoughts

If you have ever considered pursuing proofreading as a career, we hope that this article gave you some food for thought. Is proofreading right for you? Do you have what it takes to be a proofreader? With a little patience, attention to detail, and training, you might soon find yourself putting the world back on the grammar track!

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How to Get Proofreader Training

How to Get Proofreader Training

ProofreadingCamp helps you get proofreader training

How to Get Proofreader TrainingNot everyone can afford to go to university. Not everyone wants to devote four years of their life to study. If you aren’t able to complete a degree or if you just don’t want to go to university, there are several options available for getting the proofreader training that will get you a proofreading job.

Community college

Check out your local college for proofreader training courses. While state-run and private universities often have high tuition costs, community college courses can be very affordable. Also, if you need to keep a steady job while you learn, look for evening classes or part-time courses. Your current employer may be willing to give you a day release scheme, where you can have one day a week off work to attend college for proofreader training.

On-the-job training

You may get a job in an editorial department as a clerical assistant and then get the opportunity to train for becoming a proofreader. Take that offer. Although the offer may not come with a pay rise, bite your tongue and appreciate the opportunity. Some companies prefer to promote from within, but they may not be willing to pay for proofreader training courses. Don’t worry too much if your boss decides to save money and train you in-house. The important thing you need is to get that job title on your resume. Also, bear in mind that people who are doing the job day to day are probably just as credible sources for proofreader training as are teachers.

Lean on the personnel department

You can sit and wait for the boss to notice your skills and promote you into a proofreading job via a proofreader training course, but that day might never come. If you have a clerical job, no matter the field of work (it doesn’t have to be publishing), talk to the personnel department of your company. See whether you can put together your own career path within the company, and start that path with a proofreader training course. Companies like motivated, ambitious employees. The personnel department might have an allocated training budget and a list of accepted courses selected employees can take. If it doesn’t have any proofreading training courses on its list, try to convince the staff to add one and to let you attend on a day-release basis. If all else fails, offer to pay for your proofreader training yourself if it’s within your means. This will take them by surprise and add to your promotion prospects.

Online training

If you have to take on the responsibility and cost of paying for your own proofreader training, consider online courses. You don’t have to give up your job to do the course, and you could take sections of your course at your desk during lunch hour or access the course when you get home from work. ProofreadingCamp offers proofreader training as an online course created by Scribendi.com, an online editing and proofreading service. The course has been discounted to $199, so this could be your opportunity to get proofreader training at an affordable price.

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3 Proofreading Exercises to Help You Hone Your Skills

Proofreading Exercises

Introduction

Proofreading ExercisesTaking your work from inception to publishable product requires that you perform a series of detail-oriented tasks. One of the final tasks in this process is that of proofreading. Because it is easy to miss errors in one’s own writing, experienced editors and proofreaders can help you polish your words and ideas to make sure you produce the best possible version of your work. However, being able to review a document for clarity and grammatical accuracy is a good skill to have, as it enables you to proofread as you write, review other people’s writing, and even work as a proofreader on a freelance basis.

To do any of this, however, you must first understand the differences between editing and proofreading. Editing involves an in-depth review of written work. It requires looking not only for grammatical mistakes but also for issues like inconsistency in style, voice, plot, and characterization. Because the editor must keep all these complex matters in mind, smaller inconsistencies and errors may remain even after the document has been reviewed.

That’s where proofreading comes in. Good proofreaders are detail-oriented individuals who know their grammar rules inside and out and are able to spot mistakes. Without having to worry about things like style and voice, a proofreader can focus on the mechanical aspects of writing, making sure that each word and sentence is correct.

Proofreading Exercises

Being able to successfully proofread often means you’re the type of person who spots every spelling mistake, comma splice, or formatting inconsistency. Do you think you have what it takes? If so, spot the common proofreading errors in the following three proofreading exercises to practice your skills and become a better proofreader!

Feel free to paste the text into a document editor (such as Microsoft Word) so that you can keep track of your changes. Once you’ve gone through each exercise, check your changes against the answer key below. If you want more advanced proofreading training, consider our proofreading course.

Proofreading Exercise 1:

In Greek mythology Zeus, an Olympian god, was known as the immortal ruler of both gods and men. Zeus was the son of the titans Cronos and Rhea and presided over his 5 brothers and sisters who ruled various aspect of the heavenly and earthly worlds. He was married to his sister Heera, with whom he had three children: Ares—the god of war, Hephaistos—the god of metalworking, and Hebe—the goddess of youth. Hera was often the jealous wife, and unhappy with Zeus’s many affairs with other goddesses, nymphs and mortal woman. As a result of these affairs, many ancient greek heroes and rulers were produced, such as Perseus, Hercules, and even the famous Helen of Troy. As a god, Zeus ruled over the most important aspects of nature and human society, and he controlled the laws and fates of men as well as the sky and whether. He is often called by the epithets “The Thunderer” or “Gatherer of Clouds” in the Homeric poems, his control of such natural forces were represented by his weapons and armor: Zeus was able to fight with both thunder and lightning, and the shaking of his aegis (his shield) could create terrible storms.

Proofreading Exercise 2:

Moose related deaths are on the rise in Canada. As highways expand and encroach on the habitat of Canadian wildlife, vehicle collisions with these animals are becoming more commonplace, especially in provinces, such as British Colombia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and labrador. According to Wildlifecollisions.ca, in 2014 there were four to 8 large animal vehicle collisions and hour within Canada. A large number of these collisions involve moose and deer species, so much so, that a class-action lawsuit was brought against Newfoundland’s Provincial Government for not controlling the explosive moose population in that province. In situations where average highway speeds are 100 km/hour and the average moose weighs 700 kg, collisions can be fatal for both the animal and the vehicle occupants. These types of incidents will continue to increase on the Canadian island as human populations expand alongside the moose, which is considered an invasive species on the island and has no natural predators.

Proofreading Exercise 3:

The past decade has witnessed the rise in popularity of the fictional monster known as the zombie. From movies and TV shows to iPhone apps and bestselling novels, the zombie has permeated popular culture. What if a zombie plague was possible? Surprisingly, there are quite a few scientists who have taken a serious look at the causes and probability of a zombie pandemic occurring in the real world. They have broken down the common symptoms of zombie virus sufferers to determine what might actually be going on in those half-eaten brains. The most common symptom of the zombie illness is the lumbering gait, which indicates a loss of coordination and neurological damage. This may go hand-in-hand with the classic loss of intelligence and penchant for moaning. Second, the insatiable zombie appetite for other humans could be associated with lost hyptothalamic functioning. Zombies’ rage; one-track minds; and inability to remember loved ones are all symptoms of severe brain damage as well, with different areas of the brain being effected. So, what should you do if your ever face-to-face with a zombie? Much like with T-Rex in Jurassic Park, do not run and find somewhere to hide. Zombie’s suffer from something like Bálint’s syndrome, which causes the sufferer to only see whatever requires the most attention.

Answer KeyProofreading Exercises

Now let’s see how you did! You can compare your changes to the revised passages below, or you can download the full answer key here. to have each change highlighted and explained.

Proofreading Exercise 1 Key:

In Greek mythology, Zeus, an Olympian god, was known as the immortal ruler of both gods and men. Zeus was the son of the titans Cronus and Rhea and presided over his five brothers and sisters, who ruled various aspects of the heavenly and earthly worlds. He was married to his sister Hera, with whom he had three children: Ares—the god of war, Hephaistos—the god of metalworking, and Hebe—the goddess of youth. Hera was often the jealous wife and unhappy with Zeus’ many affairs with other goddesses, nymphs, and mortal women. As a result of these affairs, many ancient Greek heroes and rulers were produced, such as Perseus, Hercules, and even the famous Helen of Troy. As a god, Zeus ruled over the most important aspects of nature and human society, and he controlled the laws and fates of men as well as the sky and weather. He is often called by the epithets “The Thunderer” or “Gatherer of Clouds” in the Homeric poems, and his control of such natural forces was represented by his weapons and armor: Zeus was able to fight with both thunder and lightning, and the shaking of his aegis (his shield) could create terrible storms.

Proofreading Exercise 2 Key:

Moose-related deaths are on the rise in Canada. As highways expand and encroach on the habitats of Canadian wildlife, vehicle collisions with Canadian wildlife are becoming more commonplace, especially in provinces such as British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. According to Wildlifecollisions.ca (2014), in 2014 there were four to eight large animal vehicle collisions an hour within Canada. A large number of these collisions involve moose and deer species, so much so that a class-action lawsuit was brought against Newfoundland’s provincial government for not controlling the explosive moose population in that province. In situations where average highway speeds are 100 km/hour and the average moose weighs 700 kg, collisions can be fatal for both the animal and the vehicle occupants. These types of incidents will continue to increase on the Canadian island as human populations expand alongside the moose, which is considered an invasive species on the island and has no natural predators.

Proofreading Exercise 3 Key:

The past decade has witnessed the rise in popularity of the fictional monster known as the zombie. From movies and TV shows to iPhone apps and bestselling novels, the zombie has permeated popular culture. What if a zombie plague was possible? Surprisingly, there are quite a few scientists who have taken a serious look at the causes and probability of a zombie pandemic occurring in the real world. They have broken down the common symptoms of zombie-virus sufferers to determine what might actually be going on in those half-eaten brains. First, the most common symptom of the zombie illness is the lumbering gait, which indicates a loss of coordination and neurological damage. This may go hand-in-hand with the classic loss of intelligence and penchant for moaning. Second, the insatiable zombie appetite for other humans could be associated with lost hypothalamic functioning. Zombies’ rage, one-track minds, and inability to remember loved ones are all symptoms of severe brain damage as well, with different areas of the brain being affected. So, what should you do if you’re ever face-to-face with a zombie? Much like with T-Rex in Jurassic Park, do not run and find somewhere to hide. Zombies suffer from something like Bálint’s syndrome, which causes the sufferer to only see whatever requires the most attention.

Did you catch all the mistakes in these proofreading exercises?

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