The moment that proofreaders enjoy, fulfill, or feel it is hard about their works
“Why do you work as a proofreader?”
“Is proofreading fun?”
Most people have a stereotype of the image that proofreaders silently work for documents. In fact, these questions are commonly asked.
When you ask that whether if I enjoy my work, I would definitely answer "Yes".
In this sense, “enjoy” does not mean a euphoric feeling when you go to your favorite singer’s concert. It is more like the joyful moment when you talk to your close friends or thinking what you are going to do tomorrow.
１：Suitable skill set
If I say “enjoy” as the meaning of fulfilling, it is the moment that I can fully utilize my advantage.
My skill sets that are suitable for proofreading …
- Keen to learn
- Good memory etc.
These are actually ordinary answers that I often write on my CV, but what I listed above are common elements that proofreaders have at a certain level. However, important factors such as “concentration” are the tricky part in terms of sustainability. Therefore, I always take a short break regularly and try to focus on my works.
The advantage that I realized when I proofreading are …
- Making decision quickly
- Good at finding patterns of mistakes
- Finding mistakes even if it is slight differences
- Understanding overall etc.
These are mostly what I got through experience and learning from other people.
I am not sure these elements are always necessary for proofreading work because personal strength depends on documents and the environment. However, utilizing my advantage for works is the moment that I enjoy.
２：Thinking, taking a note, and reviewing ⇒ step-up
You need to not only focusing on the work that you are facing at this moment but also thinking what you are going to do next. This is a common strategy that you can apply for any kind of job. If you are a person who likes to think deeply about one object, a proofreading job gives you to have a chance to step up and it is work that you feel fulfilling.
“There are expressions like this. I wonder if there are some other types of synonyms.”
“This mistake can happen in the other part as well. Or, I can imagine in case A or case B.”
For your skill up, not only experience from the current task but also estimating what happens next is helpful. In addition, it is important to take a note to review something that you feel when you proofread.
It often happens to proofread work that predicting common mistakes. Therefore, taking notes and converting them into knowledge can provide useful insight for you.
I felt fulfilled when I realized the routine of “thinking-taking a note-reviewing” helped me to have a step up in my career.
３：Accomplishment with a team
Some proofreading requires individual work but others are teamwork.
When it comes to a large volume of proofreading such as several hundreds of pages, proofreaders divide them into some parts and work on it. In that case, the quality is unstable if they work from different perspectives.
Thus, they need to decide the direction of work and set up detailed sections.
“You do not need to question this part.”
“Please add a red mark here. The style should be this.” etc,
The working process is like…
“First, we will start this work. The other part can be done later.”
The bigger the project gets, the more important to set up the working process in advance. In the case of dividing work by multiple numbers of proofreaders, it can waste time or be less efficient if they have a mistake in the beginning.
Then, it is vital that cooperating with each other. It means individuals focus on works but also have communication on appropriate timing.
It is worthwhile that achieving one big project with a team.
４：Delight after hardship
Of course, joyful moments are not everything. Since this work includes hard parts too, I personally think proofreading is a meaningful job. A combination of easy work and hardship provides you that even bigger accomplishment.
■ Tough moment of this job
・It always puts pressure on you.
Even if you are a great proofreader, there can be a mistake. It is unpredictable that when you have a mistake, but there is definitely something that you miss one day. Therefore, this is the job that always puts pressure on you. Even if you could not find mistakes as your client expects, you do not have that much time to mentally recover from your fault. As a professional, you need to have a strong mentality.
・Appropriate decisions depend on the situation is required.
Rules are different depend on documents when you have some projects. The criteria for making decisions are not the same for each task. You will encounter many tough cases in terms of judging, and the need to take appropriate actions depends on the situation. In other words, you are required to most suitable decisions in vague situations.
・Limitation for time and budget
If you have a task that does not have much time by the deadline, you might need to hurry up. It means you cannot always work at your pace. On the other hand, it also has budgetary limitations. For example, it does not allow you to work satisfactorily if your client’s budget is quite limited.
If you are patient enough, you will feel delighted and worthwhile more often.
On the other hand, proofreading can be tough work if you feel stress about those listed above.
５：Delight in the wrong way
When you have just started proofreading a job, finding mistakes and being appreciated by your client can be rewarding.
However, finding mistakes is not the goal of proofreading. You need to consider what causes mistakes at the same time. If you find any mistakes, it indicates that the working environment of the author might be problematic.
Thus, proofreaders should not try only to address surfaced issues but also figure out the root causes. This effort helps to increase the quality of work and improve the entire process.
There are a lot of delightful and worthwhile things about proofreading but what the most important is a personal skillset.
However, the perception and regulations are different depends on the contents and company that you work for. Indeed, some cases can be the best for company A but not for company B.
It can be simply employer/company or media matching rather than your personal skill set. Even if you think you are not a suitable person for this job, it might have been just a problem of affinity.