This is the fourth in our series of blogs about proofreading. This is an important topic: how to present the results of your proofreading efforts to your ‘client’.
You need to agree with your client, before you start work, how the end results are going to be presented. Depending on how he or she is going to handle your feedback, and bearing in mind that someone else might be proofreading it at the same time, your client might want you to:
- Mark up a hard copy. If you feel comfortable using standard, professional proofreading symbols, you should use them — but make sure your client is comfortable with them too. And beware: using them correctly takes quite a bit of skill. One of the forthcoming blogs in this series will look at a scaled-down alternative to using professional proofreading symbols. Do also check whether the client has any preferences about you using, say, pencil or red ink for your mark up.
- Amend the document using your word processor’s ‘change tracking’ feature. The ‘Track changes’ feature in Microsoft Word, for example, is a very powerful tool. You can see exactly what has been changed, by whom and when, and the document can be viewed in its final ‘clean’ form as well as with all mark ups showing. Not all word processing programmes have a change tracking feature but many do. It’s worth becoming familiar with your word processor’s version of it, if you’re not already. Don’t forget to check also whether your client wants you to give the document containing your amendments a new filename, so that it’s clear which version is which.
- List out all your suggested changes in a separate document. This can be quite time-consuming, since you need to describe exactly what and where the errors are, and describe without any ambiguity the changes that need to be made. But, as with ‘Track changes’, it gives the client more freedom to decide whether or not to implement your changes.
These are the final considerations in your preparations for proofreading. The next blog in this series is going to suggest a process for carrying out your proofreading task. It is in the form of a checklist of the things you may need to do as you carry out your assignment.