Congratulations on becoming a proofreader with us! You are now an integral part of ensuring our clients only receive the best! As a proofreader, we trust you to guide our writers through feedback on their tasks.
In this guide, we’ll go over what you can expect when getting started, define our expectations, and provide some great tips. Keep reading to find out how to become a successful proofreader with us!
Getting Started as a Proofreader
So, you just got your proofreading skills – now what? No fear! If you’re receiving proofreading skills, it’s likely that you’ve already worked with us for a while. If not, surely you have previous experience and are up to the test.
Similar to how all of our writers start out with only Standard Quality skills, all new proofreaders are first given Business Quality skills. Starting with BQ proofreading skills means all tasks proofread by you will then be sent to Quality Check. You can think of Quality Check as a second round of proofreading “just to be sure”. This is done to allow new proofreaders to familiarize themselves with how it works in our system and as a measure of quality control.
New proofreaders will be able to develop their skills from the feedback given by our veteran quality checkers. Depending on performance with BQ tasks, SQ proofreading skills can be added.
What’s Expected from a Proofreader?
It’s important to understand that being a great writer doesn’t necessarily equate to being a great proofreader. For this, our expectations and the skills required to fulfill them differ between the two roles.
The Top 5 Skills of a Great Proofreader
- Ability to adhere to instructions
- Expert fact checker
- Keen eye for detail
- Providing good feedback
- Maintaining the original text (with corrections)
1. Follow instructions
As a proofreader, you have to excel at understanding and following instructions. Not only the instructions in this guide but also from our clients, Project Managers, and Quality Checkers. Given that we work with a wide variety of clients and texts, the needs of each task are different. You should always approach a task as unique and thoroughly review instruction materials.
If something is unclear, then ask. Never assume.
2. Expert fact checker
Fact-checking is a core responsibility, and a proofreader is expected to do it for each task. What good is a well-written text if the information is all made up or outdated? Any type of fact, claim, or statistic should be double-checked by the proofreader.
Remember: If something is delivered to a client that is not properly fact-checked, the responsibility will fall on you to fix it.
If you need some advice on how to fact-check, check out our tips for researching.
3. An eye for detail
Proofreading is all about seeing the details and being able to differentiate “good” from “bad”. For example, a text might have perfect grammar and spelling but not follow the client’s instructions at all. As a proofreader, you are expected to quickly identify the overall quality and determine if the text should be returned back to the writer for corrections or not.
Along with this, we expect all of our proofreaders to have advanced knowledge of grammar and a native-level grasp of a language. You can only identify what you know, so it’s always best practice to brush up on your language knowledge. Spellcheck and grammar tools are also valuable assets for improving efficiency and speed.
4. Giving clear feedback
Giving clear and constructive feedback is a big part of proofreading. This is especially important in Topcontent as our goal is to guide our writers through feedback. When returning a task for corrections, it’s important that you provide comprehensive and easy-to-understand feedback. Read more on giving feedback here. Also, make sure that you always communicate in line with our Code of Conduct.
By giving clear feedback, our writers will be made aware of mistakes in their writing. Without feedback, our writers can’t be excepted to improve. Therefore, a really important skill of a proofreader is to guide writers to become better through thorough feedback. Be positive but constructive. Give specific details on what needs to be improved and provide related resources if necessary. Resources can range from a spellchecking and grammar tool to a Topcontent guide.
5. Maintaining the original text (with corrections)
As a proofreader, it is really important to remember that you are working on someone else’s text.
Improving the text by doing significant revision (lack of consistency, too long sentences, poorly phrased text, incorrect content) is the writer’s responsibility. We do not expect you to make significant edits to a text. Plus, if you fix it all yourself, the writer can’t improve. Therefore, a proofreader must have the ability to make minor corrections while letting the writer’s original work remain the same.
Our Proofreading Checklist
- Check that all instructions are read, understood and followed
- Check and correct minor mistakes in grammar and spelling
- Check that facts are correct
- Check that the content has no Copyscape hit
- Return tasks if they need to be rewritten or corrected
- Give clear and constructive feedback to the writer
- Rewrite parts of or a full task
- Accept content that is not following instructions
- Accept content that has Copyscape hit
Super Important Stuff!
We never want to deliver poor-quality content to our clients.
As a proofreader, your role is to not only ensure a text is of high-quality but also to help writers by guiding them on how they can rewrite the text in a better way. The quicker they learn, the fewer mistakes they will make in the future – which means you will be able to proofread more quickly! Win-Win for all!