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Proofreading - On-Screen Vs Hard Copies

February 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 137

The old-fashioned way of editing and proofreading on hard copy was a lot more work than the current method of performing these tasks on-screen. On-screen programs have made editing and proofreading a much faster, more efficient way of producing a document and finalizing it for publication.

Let's review the old method. An author wrote several pages of material. A word processor was hired to enter in the text. A hard copy was printed on large sheets of paper with large margins on each side for the editors to make their corrections and comments. The font used for printing was usually Courier 12 for easier error-spotting. The document was printed in double-space so the editors and proofreaders had room to make corrections. A red pen was used for all edits. One had to know standard proofreading marks when they made their corrections. The left side margin was used for proofreader marks and the right side for editorial comments. Most publications would go through two or three passes depending on how much work was needed to improve the quality of the document. In addition to the text edits, graphics had to be incorporated into the document. That phase usually occurred after the final print-out. Cut and paste was the standard way of placing graphics into the document before going off to the publisher.

There was a lot of going back and forth with printed documents that cost a lot of money in paper, ink, salaries, and time to get the product out the door. Well things have changed quite a bit. Now we are able to do all these things using programs that keep track of our edits. One popular program is Microsoft Word's Track Changes.

Most authors have transitioned to writing their documents in a word processing program but they usually don't want to get involved in cleaning up the document. They are thinking about what they will write next. The authors submit their work in a draft format to be finalized for publication. Editors and proofreaders are now able to use Track Changes to make comments and corrections. All changes are shown in red and are noted in the right column using the balloon feature. The balloon feature in Track Changes allows the editors and proofreaders to post comments for the reviewer right on the document. As a matter of fact, all changes made to the document can be shown with the balloon feature; such as revisions, additions, deletions, and formatting changes. Additional editing and proofreading tools that are available include spelling and grammar checkers, research tools, and a thesaurus. After editing and proofreading are completed, reviewers can then go through each change and accept or reject the change. They can also accept or reject all the changes at once. Incorporating graphics has also become much easier with the ability to insert graphics into the on-screen document.

An original of the document is always available. Several editors and proofreaders can work on a copy of the document at the same time. Each person's input is differentiated by using different colors. There is an option to merge all the changes together into one document for a final pass. Once all corrections and comments have been addressed, the document can be saved as a final version. It can be printed with and without the markups.

Another great feature being used today is the ability to run word counts. Many editors and proofreaders charge their customers a fee based on word count so this feature has become very handy.

Proofreaders in the hard copy days were hired mainly to check that all edits were incorporated into the document. They did this anytime a document went through a revision. With the ability to do on-screen corrections, the proofreaders' responsibility has become a little unclear. They are now basically doing light copy-editing instead of proofreading.

The entire editing process has come a long way since performing them on hard copies but it is still recommended that any final version of a document be printed in whole for a final read-through. Sometimes it is easier to catch obvious errors by looking at a hard copy versus an on-screen version.

The author of this article has five years previous proofreading experience working in a Publications Department in San Jose, CA where technical documents were translated from Japanese to English. Currently, she offers proofreading and light copy-editing services at Her services include checking spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and consistent style. An easy 3-step process to producing documents with a more professional look. On-screen or hard copy proofreading is available.

Source: EzineArticles
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