Having a proofreader check your documents, advertising copy, academic papers, letters, blog and social media posts—or any other written content—is vitally important!
Having your written content proofread can save you money. Moreover, proofreading allows you to project a more professional image to your readers. On the contrary, poorly written copy looks unprofessional and reflects poorly on your brand. Accordingly, investing a minimal amount to have an experienced proofreader look over and critique your written materials can save you embarrassment and dents in your reputation.
I am a graduate of the Proofreading Academy, a comprehensive 40-hour course that teaches students the skills to proofread professionally. I have decades of experience proofing general text and technical papers.
The Proofreading Academy course that I took, Becoming a Proofreader, consists of 15 modules. This course covers in depth the topics that are important to professional proofreaders. For example, the course explores at length the intricacies of Microsoft Word as a proofreading tool. In addition, exercises that tested students’ knowledge and developing skills are part and parcel of the curriculum. There are three main versions of the English language: American, British, and Australian. There are differences among them in the rules for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. By all means, proofreaders take all of this into account when they proofread documents in English.
The Importance of Style Guides
The Proofreading Academy course dedicated much of its instruction to discussing the various style guides that writers should use when developing their written content. In particular, style guides ensure clarity and consistency in written documents. With this purpose in mind, academic papers typically use APA, MLA, AMA, or Chicago styling. Many U.S. journalists use the AP style guide. Proofreaders might well have to use other style guides, depending on the nature of the writing content. Certainly, proofreaders are aware of these guides. What’s more, they must also be prepared to develop their own style guides if none is provided.
At the end of the course, students must pass a rigorous exam. If they pass, they are eligible for work with the proofreading agency, Proofed. As a matter of fact, I passed this exam “with distinction” (my certificate is visible in the footer of my website pages, including this one).
On a more technical level, I spent decades proofreading students’ mathematics papers. Those students who took math seriously were grateful for that work on my part. However, they were generally not accustomed to the level of scrutiny that I exercised to correct their papers!
Note in my résumé the years of experience I have in technical and academic environments.