The Difference between Proofreading & Editing a Document

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A good publication often goes through various editing and proofreading processes. This is because an excellent, engaging publication needs to be free of any errors. This includes errors in grammar, language, context, wordiness, and, even, punctuation. Therefore, any article, thesis, dissertation, or even blogs need a second set of eyes to ensure that the document is perfect from all angles. A writer often is delved in the flow of putting the information out there that they tend to make errors. So, authors should hire editing and proofreading services after completing the first draft of any document. This helps ensure that the document flows smoothly especially if it is to be submitted for publication.

According to Jobvite statistics, 54% of employers would think twice before hiring if they find grammatical errors in your posts. The importance of proofreading and editing is then obvious. Writers confuse editing and proofreading as the same however, there are major differences between the two:

  • Addressing the different level of issues
  • Each performed at different stages
  • Turnaround time

Both Address Different Levels of Issues

One of the most important differences is that editing and proofreading both address different levels of issues. Proofreading addresses surface-level issues like:

  • Grammatical errors
  • Syntax
  • Typos
  • Ambiguous vocabulary
  • Punctuation
  • Formatting

Thus, proofreading ensures that the basic errors are fixed in a document that is already well-written. Hence, fixing already good writing does not include reducing the word count. A professional proofreader can look at errors that the writer missed out. Moreover, proofreaders belonging to expert fields can point out relevant jargon from their field. For example, a medical specialist proofreading an essay on health issues can find spelling errors in medical terms more effectively.

In contrast, editing addresses the core writing issues in a document. Editing looks at the following:

  • Language usage
  • Tone
  • Word choice
  • Wordiness
  • Expression
  • Jargons
  • Passive voice
  • Sentence structure
  • Sentence awkwardness

Hence, it aims to fix deeper level issues by giving the writing cohesiveness and clarity. Editors condense and organize content by fixing sentence structure and overall writing. In the case of thesis and articles, editing helps minimize difficult terminology so the readers can understand the document. Thus, editing is all about making sure that ideas and meanings are conveyed as clearly as possible to the audience. It may also include checking the content and fact-checking if necessary. Editors do not entirely change the content but if a sentence sounds awkward then the editor points it out to the writer. They work together to make sure that the writing sounds smooth. At every step the editor prepares the document ready for publication.

Therefore, it is said by many that proofreading is a science whereas editing is an art.

Both Carried Out at Different Stages

Another major difference is that each is performed at different stages of writing. Proofreading is carried out at the final stage of writing; it is done on the final draft. Therefore, it does not require so much collaboration with the author since a proofreader fixes errors on already edited writing. It also makes sense to proofread at the very end to make sure that work is complete.

In contrast, editing is done at several stages of the writing process. In particular, the editing process is carried out after every draft is completed. This is to ensure that quality is maintained at each stage of the writing. Hence, an editor assesses the quality of the written work at every stage by asking themselves primary questions when reading the document. Since the document is edited at several stages, an editor maintains regular and consistent collaboration with the writer.

Both Have Different Turnaround Time

Lastly, turnaround time is another important difference between the two tasks. Since proofreading is done at the final stage, the turnaround time is shorter compared to editing. How long proofreading will take depends on the length of the content, but the time span is relatively shorter than editing.

Editing requires looking at the writing in-depth therefore requires time. Since it is done at every stage of writing, it does require time to ensure that the draft is a better version from the previous one. An editor wants to ensure clarity and quality so it is wise to give the editing process some time.

Although, turnaround times could also vary depending on the length of the document. It is possible that proofreading takes longer because of the number of grammatical errors and mistakes. Often, the editing process tends to fix minor errors too yet a proofreader is essential to improving quality.

Despite the differences, editing and proofreading are highly important to any publication, document, or writing material to ensure worth, character, and originality. Hence, the second set of eyes tend to spot mistakes that the writer fails to recognize as errors. Many argue that proofreaders are unnecessary since spellchecks are great. However, a spell check might fail to differentiate between ‘same’ and ‘some’, even though such a mistake could transform a perfect sentence into an error. But, an editor can pinpoint the overuse of such errors that a writer may fail to see.

These practices are not only necessary to simply make them good. In fact they are necessary because an error-free writing gives credibility and reliability. Audiences are likely to come back and cite the writing for their own research. A professional, clear and concise piece of writing builds a level of trust with audiences.

In conclusion, hiring professional editors and proofreaders help polish the writing and smooth out the narration. Both these practices maximize the accuracy of the content. In a nutshell, a professional editor understands the science of dynamism and keeping the readers hooked while proofreaders ensure perfection. Both go hand in hand! Thus, having a second set of eyes helps improve and neaten up your writing objectively. Hiring someone to carry out these tasks is a smart move for any business, or writer. To tidy up your writing, eContentSol provides top professional editing and proofreading services.

Author: Munis Khan

Hi, I am Munis Khan(Growth Hacker), a pro in digital marketing, SEO, Social Media, and a content blogger who loves pitching in new ideas related to fashion, technology & digital marketing for blogs and articles. I’m always in search of great opportunities that can improve my skills and make me more professional. Adios!

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