Introduction to proofreading

Congratulations on becoming a proofreader with us! As a proofreader, you will be guiding our writers through feedback on their tasks. You are a part of improving the content quality of Topcontent, and for that, we are very grateful! 

Proofreading is a skill that, if not done correctly, can result in a lot of extra work and editing. To avoid that, we have listed and explained six important skills of a proofreader, plus some more information about proofreading Topcontent.

Proofreading in a nutshell

Proofreading is not just about performing a spell check. In a nutshell, you are double-checking the work that was written by a writer to make sure there are absolutely no errors and that the content written has followed the client’s instructions. You might correct minor spelling errors, punctuation errors or typos, but more importantly, you will instruct and feedback to the writers when a task needs editing.

Remember: Being a good writer doesn’t automatically equal being a good proofreader (and vice-versa).

5 Important Skills of a Proofreader

    1. Eye for detail
    2. Giving feedback
    3. Receive and follow instructions
    4. Identify the flow of a text
    5. Keeping the original text (with corrections)
  • 1. An eye for detail

    Proofreading is all about looking into the details. Even though a text might look good at first glance, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has followed the instructions or has a good flow. 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. You should never dive directly into correcting a text but start by glancing over it to determine the overall quality. This will save you time and effort. A proofreader also needs to be able to detect details like minor mistakes in punctuation or spelling.

  • 2. Giving clear feedback

    Writing 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 feedback that is easy for the writer to understand and follow. Read more on giving feedback here. Also, make sure that you always communicate in line with our Code of Conduct.

    We want to encourage our writers and help them improve, so whenever you need to send back a task, say something positive to reinforce what they are doing right so they keep doing it. Afterwards, point out which part they could improve. Always be specific in what needs corrections.

    Remember!

    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 add related resources if necessary.

  • 3. Follow instructions

    As a proofreader you have to be able to understand and follow instructions given. Not only the instructions in this guide and from our Content Managers and Quality Checkers, but, of course, also the instructions of a specific task. You need to make sure that the writer has followed and correctly understood all instructions from the client, so it is super important that you read and understand them to a tee!

  • 4. Flow

    The ability to identify if a text has a good flow throughout the whole text and in all paragraphs is a very important skill. Some writers might write and not even read through again what they have written before delivering it. As a proofreader, you have to read through the task and make sure it flows well. Are sentences connected in a natural way? Is the content underneath a subheading related to the topic? Is the text easy to understand? Do paragraphs start with a topic sentence? If not, the writer needs to correct it.

  • 5. It’s not your text!

    As a proofreader, it is really important to remember that you are working on someone else’s text. Improving the text by correcting several grammatical errors and rewriting (lack of consistency, too long sentences, poorly phrased text, incorrect content) is the writer’s responsibility. If you fix it all yourself, the writer can’t improve. Therefore, a proofreader must have the skill to make minor corrections while letting the writer’s original work remain the same. A proofreader must always refrain from re-writing the text and turning the text into your own writing.

  • Important responsibilities of a proofreader

    In addition to the skills mentioned above, a proofreader has some other important responsibilities.

    Fact-checking

    We deliver content with research. This means that our writers are expected to research the topic of a task and include information from trusted sources. No matter the tone of voice and instructions from the client, all tasks should always be factually correct. As a proofreader, you should double check the facts a writer has included to make sure that we don’t deliver anything that is made up or outdated.

    Copyscape

    All content produced in Topcontent needs to be 100% unique. Whilst writers can take inspiration from other sources, no content can be copied/plagiarised. We run all our tasks through a system called Copyscape to make sure that the text is unique. As a proofreader, you have to make sure the article passes Copyscape. If any content is copied, the task should immediately be returned to the writer for a rewrite. Read more about Copyscape here.

    To summarise: Checklist with dos and don’ts of a proofreader

    DO

    • 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

    DON’T

    • 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 deliver poor quality content to our clients.

Remember, as a proofreader, your role is to support and help writers through 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!

And in case you encounter any difficulty, we have an online chat available at certain times. One of our Content Managers will help you out.

Happy proofreading and stay awesome!

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