Is Proofreading the same as editing?

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Hello,

I had a very interesting conversation with a new client today and I want to get people's opinions as his opinion surprised me.

You have the need of a Proofreader.
You have the need of an Editor.

Do you regard these as 2 separate jobs or as one combined job?

My personal opinion is that they're the same because when you proofread, you always find things to edit.

I look forward to hearing your responses.
#client #editing #opinion #proofreading
  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Laurence,

    If you're talking about online services, the two disciplines are often combined, but in the publishing world, they're quite different.

    Because it's expensive to alter a "proof" once the typesetting has been carried out, a proofreader is traditionally the last person to check that the manuscript is suitable for publishing. Before that stage, the editor (or copy-editor) would have already had an important input.

    Professional copy-editors correct errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, style and usage. They also ensure that the writing is pitched at the correct level for the intended audience by, for example, checking whether any technical or industry-specific terms need to be further explained or simplified.

    A copy-editor will look for any obvious factual discrepancies within the piece and alert the client to potential legal issues (such as breaches of copyright or libel), although the responsibility for them remains with the author/publisher.

    Generally, a copy-editor will check that the text flows in an orderly and logical fashion, without unnecessarily complicated words or phrases. If the author is a non-native English speaker, the editor will be particularly careful to ensure that the writing reads smoothly and naturally for native English speakers, and contains appropriate idiomatic terms. This may well require a restructuring of sentences or paragraphs and the rewording of some existing text. Of course, any major alterations would be carried out in consultation with the author.

    The proofreader will check for any spelling or grammatical errors that may have slipped past the editor, check for inconsistencies in style across the entirety of the manuscript, make sure page numbers, chapter headings etc. are correctly listed (cross-checking with the TOC), and check that the text and captions correspond to any pictures or illustrations.

    There's a more detailed explanation of the individual roles on this site (The Society for Editors and Proofreaders): Copy-editing - Society for Editors and Proofreaders


    Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Hi Frank,

    Thanks for your reply.
    I should have clarified what I am talking about further.
    Yes, I am only talking about online material.
    It could be articles, ebooks, sales letters, website content, reports or anything else.

    I agree that in the publishing world they are far different and I have not worked in that field before. I mainly do online material BUT, having said that, I just picked up a new client that I am editing/proofing reports for court cases.
    Obviously I won't say anything more about that actual job but it will be used as hard copy material but for ease and convenience, we are communicating via email.

    I hope what I am saying makes sense to you and maybe you have a different answer now I have clarified my intentions further.
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    Cheers, Laurence.
    Writer/Editor/Proofreader.

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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Hi Laurence,

      Yes, I understand you deal with online clients. But even online, the two roles encompass potentially separate disciplines. An editor often changes (or recommends a change to) large chunks of text - rewriting where necessary - to ensure the style is appropriate for the intended audience. This usually requires a lot more liaison with the original author than regular proofreading.

      If you're taking on that extra responsibility, be sure you charge accordingly.


      Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Thanks Frank.
    I think so far I have been more of a proofreader with some suggestions thrown in but never changing large chunks of text. So I guess I could say I am a Proofreader/Editor instead of a Copy Editor or Editor/Proofreader.
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    Cheers, Laurence.
    Writer/Editor/Proofreader.

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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      Thanks Frank.
      I think so far I have been more of a proofreader with some suggestions thrown in but never changing large chunks of text. So I guess I could say I am a Proofreader/Editor instead of a Copy Editor or Editor/Proofreader.

      Let's take it from a less experiences person. Me.

      If I see the word "proofreader", I think that means tat the punctuation and spelling will be corrected.

      A "copy editor", I would expect to smooth out my sentences, make editing changes, and get my copy ready for publication. And I would expect that the proofreading was included.

      I would expect to pay far more for editing.
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Let's take it from a less experiences person. Me.

        If I see the word "proofreader", I think that means tat the punctuation and spelling will be corrected.

        A "copy editor", I would expect to smooth out my sentences, make editing changes, and get my copy ready for publication. And I would expect that the proofreading was included.

        I would expect to pay far more for editing.

        You should hire Laurence to proof your posts...
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    (ignoring Dan), Thanks Claude. I will certainly keep that in mind.
    I was wondering if you were going to use me....I do recall you saying that quite a while ago. But I guess you went elsewhere or did it yourself.
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    Cheers, Laurence.
    Writer/Editor/Proofreader.

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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      (ignoring Dan), Thanks Claude. I will certainly keep that in mind.
      I was wondering if you were going to use me....I do recall you saying that quite a while ago. But I guess you went elsewhere or did it yourself.
      Dearest Darling Lawrence; (edit; I mean Laurence)

      You have my word, on my next book, you can proofread it. My wife did it for me last time. Try saying "No" to your wife.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I don't have one of those so I have no trouble saying "no." hehehe. and btw, as for spelling, there's no W in my name I would be honoured to proofread your work anytime, Claude.
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    Cheers, Laurence.
    Writer/Editor/Proofreader.

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  • Profile picture of the author jameswud
    Although the concepts of proofreading and editing might seem the same to many people, they are not exactly the same.
    Proofreading mainly involves scanning the text for grammar, syntax, and spelling errors. It does not generally involve extensive changes to a document.
    Editing involves checking the terminology used in a document to ensure that correct terminology is used. An editor usually researches each term that raises a doubt or even terms that he knows to ensure that the usage is appropriate. This typically involves research, either online or in specialized dictionaries, accompanied by recommended corrections. The changes made by an editor can be extensive. They may involve rewriting sentences and paragraphs to make them more understandable or restructuring the content for proper flow. Editing is generally performed by people from the subject area to ensure accuracy and relevancy of the data.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
    Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

    Hello,

    I had a very interesting conversation with a new client today and I want to get people's opinions as his opinion surprised me.

    You have the need of a Proofreader.
    You have the need of an Editor.

    Do you regard these as 2 separate jobs or as one combined job?

    My personal opinion is that they're the same because when you proofread, you always find things to edit.

    I look forward to hearing your responses.

    For content - basically one job.

    For copywriting - two very distinct things... though a copywriter should be doing everything themselves, since copy is so important and precise.

    Therefore for all intents and purposes, I'd say it's really one job (since you should only be hiring for content, not copywriting).
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

    Hello,

    I had a very interesting conversation with a new client today and I want to get people's opinions as his opinion surprised me.

    You have the need of a Proofreader.
    You have the need of an Editor.

    Do you regard these as 2 separate jobs or as one combined job?

    My personal opinion is that they're the same because when you proofread, you always find things to edit.

    I look forward to hearing your responses.
    It looks like I would be in agreement with the others here. A Proofreader is EXPECTED to be only making sure that it is understandable, has proper grammar, is broken up the right way, etc.... Editor, today, could mean almost anything, but generally DOESN'T mean proofreading. You can always check the dictionary!

    EDITOR:

    1. a person who is in charge of and determines the final content of a text, particularly a newspaper or magazine.
    "the editor of The New York Times"
    •a person who works for a publishing company, commissioning or preparing material for publication.

    2. a computer program enabling the user to enter or alter text.
    PROOFREADER
    1. Proofreading is the reading of a galley proof or an electronic copy of a publication to detect and correct production errors of text or art. Proofreaders are expected to be consistently accurate by default because they occupy the last stage of typographic production before publication.
    BTW An editor in computer terms used to ONLY deal with TEXT! A WORDPROCESSOR used to only deal with the spelling of words and their placement on the page, along with appearance criteria, like font size. For YEARS, there were programs like grammatik http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatik that provided the simple automated proofreading.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      My personal opinion is that they're the same
      I don't agree. I've done both proofreading and editing jobs online and offline and never considered them interchangeable. I have found, however, some online buyers like to consider them the "same". Of course, they want to pay proofreading prices for editing work.
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