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If you are in the content industry, you must have obviously come across two terms, proofreading and editing. However, both of these terms differ a lot in their meaning. While one is a simple cursory glance through your work to detect underlying errors (that you might have missed while writing), the other is more detailed and comprehensive. Today, we are going to discuss proofreading. Let’s start with the definition. What is proofreading and why should you consider it an important part of content writing?

As you might already be aware, proofreading is not as detailed as editing. Proofreading does not require you to make extensive changes or cross-check facts. It is a kind of reviewing process that ensures if the final written piece is accurate in terms of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and format. It also checks if the writer has maintained consistency while writing a piece. 

Yes, this is the generic definition of proofreading. But this meaning can change from industry to industry. For instance, the definition of proofreading for someone in publishing would mean the final revision of a manuscript before it is submitted for printing and publishing. The included activities would comprise comparing the sample printed write-ups (proofs) on the basis of page numbers, formats, and other related factors. The proofreader does this in order to make sure that the final print does not have any mistakes re-introduced after the printing process.

Proofreading is the final polishing touch to your content. It ensures that your message is clearly communicated without any ambiguity. This practice also ensures that you avoid embarrassment or negative feedback, while saving time and cost in correcting errors.

We all know that our fingers type/write faster than our brain works. So spelling typos that can arise due to transposition of letters, missing or miss-typed letters are common. These small mistakes can be easily rectified via proofreading.

Again, incorrect word usage such as there vs their, to vs too, etc can be caught during the proofreading process. This practice also enables checking inconsistencies, such as UK vs US English, capitalization, abbreviations, and hyphenation errors.

So, when we say proofreading, we mean the entire process of reading through a document in order to scan it for grammatical, typographical, or formatting errors. It is and should be the last step before finally submitting any paper, be it for publishing, to your professor, posting online, or during a job application. 

Note that whenever you start proofreading a document, your editing process must already be completed. The more detailed aspects like organization, readability, and understandability must already be checked. Even during editing, we check and correct errors but it is more comprehensive as you have to see if the article actually makes sense and is readable. 

Whereas, in proofreading, you have to check the paper for both minute and big errors, which are mistakes that were introduced during editing or missed even after editing. Some things to check in proofreading include an agreement between subject and verb, use of incorrect words, wrong usage of punctuation, and formatting and typographical errors. During proofreading, you also need to ensure that the article follows the given style guide.

Below, we have outlined the step-by-step process of revising a complete document:

  • Content editing: This is the most detailed revision stage, where you make major changes to the first draft. This can include adding new material, deleting obsolete sentences, moving content, and reading thoroughly through every line.
  • Line editing: This is basically a type of language editing, where you check if the style of telling the story, ideas, or arguments is effective.
  • Copy editing: The third stage, known as copy editing, includes checking the content for grammar, syntax, and adherence to the given style guide
  • Proofreading: The final stage checks for any stray mistakes, which can be spelling, punctuation, or stylistic inconsistency errors.

A proofreading software is an application that automates the entire process of catching errors in your final content drafts. You need not employ a person or use additional resources to get the job done. And since the whole process is done by software, you minimize the chances of errors that are common when the action is performed through a set of human eyes. Below, we have listed some of the reasons why you should use proofreading software in order to submit polished and accurate documents. 

  • You save valuable time by instantly reviewing any type of errors in your content,  which can be spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes. The whole process is much faster when compared to getting the job done manually.
  • Many tools arrive with suggestions for alternative words or phrases to improve your content. Hence, you not only submit a more polished, professional piece of work but also enhance your vocabulary.
  • Several premium proofreading applications provide you with explanations as they check your document for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
  • Finally, many applications are even integrated with templates to help you in correctly constructing your sentences.

With the increasing emphasis on content by companies, the proofreading software market has shown huge growth in recent years. The current market is dominated by the following major players:

  • WhiteSmoke
  • Proofreading Tool
  • Orpheus Technology
  • Literature and Latte
  • Grammarly
  • Indigo Stream Technologies
  • RussTek
  • Maklabu
  • Ginger Software
  • Paper Rater
  • Wordrake
  • Automattic
  • Editor Software
  • LanguageTooler
  • Plagiarism checker
  • Proofread Bot

The industry is divided into two segments by type, which can be either Cloud-Based or On-Premise software. And the industries which mainly use this software are education, government, and enterprise businesses. 

As is the case with all other kinds of software, you must check certain aspects before investing in proofreading software:

  • See if the software helps you in saving all the proofread documents and merge them with the existing document. 
  • Also, crosscheck if you can make the changes in the current paper.
  • Premium proofreading software usually arrives with Browser extensions, and the ability to integrate with Web-Apps, Desktop Native Apps, Word Processor, and others.
  • You should be able to upload and export documents directly from the dashboard. 
  • Some tools also give comprehensive reports on your content and provide recommendations to improve your final draft
  • The best proofreading tools will be able to inspect millions of possible grammar and spelling errors instantly
  • It should be simple and showcase an easy-to-use interface
  • Any proofreading software should be able to guide you with sentence formation errors along with addressing grammatical mistakes
  • It should be compatible with all kinds of operating systems such as Android App and iOS App 

Finally, you should know if you need only proofreading or editing as well? Sometimes, people assume that they require only proofreading services when their text would take help of some editing as well. For instance, if your content is packed with grammatical errors, confusing sentences, and difficult paragraphs, a simple proofreading service won’t suffice. In such a case, you should consider software that combines both editing and proofreading.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • A. While proofreading primary deals with the removal of stray errors from a document, editing is more detailed in its approach as it not only corrects mistakes but also improves the quality of the content as a whole. While proofreading is usually done at the final stage before the draft is submitted, editing delves a bit deeper into the text and corrects errors related to the choice of words, the structure of sentences, flow, tone, style, etc.
  • A. No, rewriting means, as the name suggests, rewriting and paraphrasing the whole content from scratch. This is mainly done to avoid the detection of plagiarism. Proofreading, on the other hand, is more superficial in nature and involves all the actions that we have already described in the previous sections.
  • A. The best proofreading software is designed to work with any style guide. Some of these names include:

    1. ACS
    2. AMA
    3. AP
    4. APA
    5. Bluebook
    6. Chicago
    7. Harvard
    8. House/custom style
    9. IEEE
    10. MLA
    11. Turabian
    Customized style guides
  • A. Usually, proofreading software should be able to review any kind of document. But here are the most common types:

    1. Academic work
    2. Books
    3. Business documents
    4. Dissertations
    5. Essays
    6. Manuscripts
    7. Papers
    8. Theses
    8. Websites
  • A. This question does not have a definite answer. The cost of proofreading depends on the experience of the proofreader, his/her specialization, the type of content, and the turnaround time. Rates are generally calculated on the basis of words (per word) or as hourly rates. Certain services are also priced on a per-page basis.
  • A. Proofreading software providers offer various timeframes, but, you as a customer, should give them at least 24-hours of time so that they can do a decent job. For huge content, you can't expect someone to deliver the task within a day. The job might not be finished in this time frame even when the content is tough, has many errors, and requires editing as well.
  • A. You should do proper research so that you can arrive at the best proofreading software. Check for online reviews, professional qualifications, customer service, and complaint policies. Once you are sure that all the aspects are correct, you can invest in the correct software for your business.

Proofreading software in following industries

Chirantan MungaraBy Chirantan Mungara | Last Updated: October 26, 2020

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