You might be wondering how proofreading is performed and what it involves in the publishing industry. Well, wonder no longer because our short guide will hopefully answer your questions.

• The Process Simplified

Proofreading in the publishing industry is essentially a review that is performed during the more advanced stages of the publishing process. Once the piece of text (for example, a book) has been read, reread, edited, reviewed and rechecked, it is delivered to the graphic production team who will pour the manuscript into a design document, usually in a specialised application such as Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress.

At this time, the text leaves the hands of its editor and its author and can no longer work with the correction functions of the word processors. Each editorial establishes how many corrections are made, but quality control requires two to three, as a minimum.

This correction is no longer done on the screen, unless it is done in a PDF file, because it is essential that the formed page remains as it is seen in the design program.

In addition, not only is the text revised, but other elements, such as spaces, headers, non-textual elements, the division of words, rivers and streets (spaces between words and blocks of text), rosaries (sequences of characters similar to the beginning or end of the lines), all sorts of errata are addressed.

• How test corrections are performed

Since the fidelity of the page is crucial, the use of paper printing and freehand annotations still dominates in making corrections. Many proofreaders still use a red pen, a pencil, some additional colour for other annotations (green or purple) and many sticky notes, to put extra comments, to make general marks, to differentiate chapters etc.

When you are unfortunate enough to have to add or correct a whole paragraph – something that should only happen occasionally, sometimes it is useful to type the paragraph in a word processor, print it and stick it with tape.

So the craft is the process, because it is worth many hours of work and must flow between the person doing the graphic editing and proofreading.

Can proofreading be avoided?

Whether or not proofreading is one of the big differences between good and bad editions, is open for debate. This is essentially a quality control system to filter out, before the final product. The small imperfections that remain in the text sometimes are unavoidable, despite previous efforts.

Do you need training to do proofreading?


Can you make style corrections when proofreading?


From time to time a comma, a cacophony, a reiteration will be detected. From time to time there will be a meaningless phrase that will need the arrangement of a verb or the change of a word. From time to time there will be a macaronic paragraph, extensive and lost that everyone overlooks – but only once in a while.

Style corrections in proofreading should be minimal. The quantity itself will depend on the length of the text, but the percentage must be low in proportion to the entire text.

True style correction should be done earlier, when paragraph movement, insertion of titles, rewriting of texts, or cutting of verbiage do not have an impact on the formed pages of the book. Otherwise, there would be a great waste of resources and, instead of gaining time, it would be quickly lost.

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