Prior to any piece of writing going into publication, it is absolutely mandatory that it should be reviewed by a capable and alert proof reader who will be able to detect any kind of mistake or error, if made. Being a proof reader is most certainly not an easy job at all, as it constantly requires you to be at the top of your game and if by chance some error happens to miss your eye then this will most certainly reflect badly on you. Given here is a list of some powerful proof reading tips as well as techniques which could really be useful.
1. Check if the work is original or copied from a source:
If someone aspires to be a writer and wishes to get ahead in the literary world, it is mandatory that he or she refrains from plagiarizing at any cost. In this day and age where any information is available to us, just a click of a button away, you should not even think that you can get away with stealing someone else’s’ intellectual labor. Borrowing from some famous writer or even using a quote from a song or poem is perfectly alright, provided you ensure that you give the credit to him or her. It is the job of the proof reader to ensure that the work has not been copied either in part or on the whole.
2. If the authors name has been mentioned correctly:
Though many might laugh at this point and state that it would be rather silly if a writer spelt his own name wrong, yet this having been said we are all human beings and typographical errors can happen to anyone of us. This having been said, it is absolutely mandatory that the proof reader checks that the writers name has been written in the correct manner with proper capitalization. In addition to this it is also important that the author mentions in entirety his or her contact details including address, phone numbers and email ids.
3. To ensure that the facts and figures which have been mentioned are accurate:
In the course of the work, it is natural that the writer is going to mention some facts and figures. Now if this piece is a work of fiction then the proof reader need not bother about trying to verify these details and ensure that they are correct yet this having been said, if the work is not a work of fiction then it is absolutely mandatory that the proof reader checks all the details in an accurate manner. Doing this is certainly not going to be easy and might prove to be excessively time consuming, yet if this is the career which you have chosen for yourself you have to go that extra mile to ensure that your work is top notch.
4. To ensure that the page numbering is accurate:
When doing proof reading there are a number of things which you have to keep an eye out for. One of the most important things which a proof reader has to look into is the page numbering. He or she has to ensure that the pages have been numbered in a proper as well as correct manner. It is of paramount importance that he or she makes no mistake in it. If the book numbering goes haywire then that is most certainly going to be a huge problem.
5. Make sure that the font selected is appropriate:
The proof reader is one of the first few people to read the book or work in its entirety. It is absolutely vital that he or she puts himself into the shoes of the reader and looks into every aspect of the work. If he does his work in a slovenly manner then chances are that no one will avail of his services in time to come. This having been said, the proof reader must ensure that the font which has been selected is alright and looks pleasing to the eye. In addition to this he or she must ensure that the color is appropriate and even that italics have been made use of as and when required.
6. That there are no spelling mistakes throughout:
One of the most basic, yet most important jobs, which a proof reader must look into, is to ensure that there are no spelling mistakes throughout the work. Needless to say that, for someone to be a good proof reader he or she must have a good grasp over the language. This having been said, he or she must always try to improve himself by reading more and even trying to increase his or her ability. If the work is filled with spelling mistakes then this is going to create a terrible impression in the mind of the readers. So ensure that you do not let even the smallest of mistakes escape your eye.
7. That the tense is consistent through the work:
Writers are people who are extremely gifted. Very often when they suddenly get inspired, they just pen it down and let their emotions flow, at such a time when they are trying their level best to get their ideas on paper, chances are that they might make a few errors here and there. Making such errors in no way reflects badly on them as writer. On the contrary it is the job of the proof reader to ensure that the tense used is appropriate as per the context.
8. To ensure that each page looks the same, with no inconsistencies:
When you pick up a book to read or even pick up a literary essay to skim through, to some extent, the manner in which the work is presented also makes a huge difference in the mind of the reader. When the work has gaping inconsistencies throughout then it naturally creates a terrible impression in the mind of the readers. It is of paramount importance that the proof reader ensures that each page of the work looks the same. All the margins should be even, the gaps between paragraphs are of equal length and that there is a proper flow of ideas from one chapter to the next.
9. To ensure that all brackets have been closed:
A common mistake which writer make when typing their work out is that they forget to close brackets which they have opened. It is the job of a proof reader to ensure that all brackets have been closed once opened and that when he submits the work for publication it is absolutely error free. A work submitted with errors could be a serious blow to the career of any proof writer. These things might seem like petty things, but they do make a big difference when critics and people assessing the work are deciding on the rating for such a book.
10. To check if there are any inconsistencies:
As mentioned above it is of paramount importance that there are no physical inconsistencies in the work which instantly grab the eye. Here inconsistencies do not mean anything physical; rather inconsistencies here mean inconsistencies in the story line in general. Even the smallest of mistakes or slightest ambiguity could really throw the reader or guard and make him or her deem the book as inconsistent, erroneous and incomprehensive. If the writer has entrusted you with the job of proof reading the work, it is absolutely vital that you take great pains to do it well and don’t let him down.
11. It is advisable to proof read a piece in quiet solitude:
If you are someone who has never proof read a literary work in the past, then one of the first tips which should be given to you is that it is always advisable to read the work in solitude. One of the worst mistakes you can make is trying you best to read the work in the midst of a huge noise and crowd. If you do this the chances are that there will be many mistakes which shall not be seen by you as you will not be able to immerse yourself completely into the work. Even the most skilled and experiences proof reader will not be able to function in disturbing atmosphere.
12. Going through the work multiple times is important:
As a proof reader you should make it a point that you do not take on too many projects simultaneously and rather focus on one book or project at a time. The more work you take on, chances are the more your quality of work will deteriorate. This having been said it is absolutely vital that you make it a point to go through the work a number of times as at once you might have missed out on a few things. So take your time and do the job entrusted to you well.
13. Immediately stop proof reading in the event of being tired:
One of the best tips which can be given to a proof reader is that the moment you start feeling tired as well as saturated then you should make it a point to put the book down and take a break. Proof reading is something which should be done with a cool as well as alert mind. So ensure that in the event of trying to finish your work fast you do not end up making any stupid errors or mistakes that could really cost you a lot in the time to come. So rather than trying to finish your work fast so that you can take on a new project and make more money ensure that you do your work as per your speed.
14. Double check things which you are unsure of:
In the event of being sure about something it is mandatory that you actually take the trouble to double check. Proof readers are certainly erudite individuals, yet this being said, he or she is not a know it all. So never shy away from doing reference as and when required and ensure that at all points in time you have a dictionary at arm’s length. The smartest people are those who are willing to acknowledge when they don’t know something and never shy away from accepting their mistakes as well.
15. To ensure that sentences are not too long and complex:
It is of paramount importance that proof readers ensure that the sentence construction of the writer is correct. It is vital that the proof reader makes it a point to shorten those sentences which are excessively long and even edit out unnecessary words and phrases.
16. To ensure that the document title is fitting:
Last but certainly not the least is that the proof reader should ensure that the title selected for the document is fitting and appropriate. It is important that the title is not too long and also is related to the work in some way or the other.
So these are some tips as well as techniques which really help you along the way. Initially you might find proof reading extremely tough as well as daunting, yet over time and with a little experience you will find that you will not only get a lot better, but you will instantly be able to detect any kind of mistake or typographical error which has been committed by the writer. It is of paramount importance that before you decide to become a proof reader, that you inculcate the love of reading within yourself, if you are not interested in reading then chances are that you will not like this career!