Who is the good proofreader?
There are many elements to be good proofreaders as below;
・Many years of experience.
・Plenty of experience that they worked for various media.
In general, you will probably come up with something like the above but it is still hard to decide which one is the best.
The reason is that criteria depend on proofreaders, media that they work for, or companies.
They require some factors like below;
・Clients who deal with multiple types of media need proofreaders that can work flexibly or having a lot of experience.
・If clients need general education/culture, proofreaders who have plenty of knowledge in various fields are suitable.
・Some who have particular knowledge in a certain industry are suitable for corresponding categories of media.
Also, features of ideal proofreaders are such as;
・Excellent comprehension skills for reading.
There are still some other factors but I cannot list everything right here.
Thus, I will demonstrate essential elements to be good proofreaders, who generally fit in this industry from the next section.
This is just my personal opinion so that I want you to know that some proofreaders who work in this industry might think like this.
Straightforwardly, I think good proofreaders are some who can retain the stable quality of their work.
It is necessary to have a certain level of skill set to keep the excellent quality but it does not mean high skilled proofreaders always maintain the solid standard.
In other words, there are also some proofreaders who have great skill but unbalanced quality.
Proofreading is a job that always contains the risk to make a mistake. Thus, clients tend to hire proofreaders who have stable skills and quality if it is a risky situation.
Ultimately, the client does not expect its outcome to be perfect but neither un-matured level. Great proofreaders always retain good standards.
*What causes unstable quality is not necessarily because of individuals. It might be affected by the working environment.
What I list below can be factors to be good proofreaders but might be unnecessary in the near future.
We cannot say proofreading speed is the core factor to be a great proofreader. In fact, it is nice if you can work quickly but not necessarily that much.
Even if you cannot work speedily, you can also manage it by doing something else such as adjusting the schedule and negotiating the proofreading period.
If speed is the most important for you because you have to finish a certain amount of work in a day, it means you had a mistake in scheduling or sold your skill at a cheap price. In that sense, you can improve the situation by yourself.
2. Expert knowledge
It is quite an advantage if you have knowledge in a particular field when it comes to proofreading. However, it is also controversial whether if it is an essential skill in the future. As you know, digital proofreading software for some industries has been progressing. Thus, you had better store knowledge as data rather than memorize them.
Even if humans have an advantage at this moment, the situation might be changed in the future.
Stable quality gives a sense of security
For clients who need proofreading, ideal candidates must have stable quality.
The reason is stable quality gives a sense of security for them.
Likewise, clients can assign a part of the entire task to proofreaders.
In that case, clients delegate tasks for proofreaders and focus on their own work.
The routine of working with good proofreaders is like below;
Stable quality → avoid random mistakes → predict the level of the final version → it helps them to make accurate plans/schedule
This routine gives security to clients.
In addition, stable quality reduces resubmission and burden.
If you work with multiple numbers of proofreaders, you might see someone who has solid quality. Those proofreaders have trust from their clients even if their experience is not long or do not have high skills.
What does make quality stable? Is it talent or effort?
Good proofreaders do not keep their stable quality without strategies. They do a lot of effort such as taking appropriate break time, stretch exercise, replenishing sugar for the brain. Even if they are busy, they retain their own routine without being bothered by the work they face to.
For example, easy actions such as taking break time at 3 in the afternoon every day, doing the stretch exercise once in 90 minutes help them to keep good quality of work.
Besides, they try to maintain themselves in a good condition by doing actions such as;
・Do not stay up until late midnight (it means they sleep enough)
・Do not eat that much, you should try eating until you're 80 percent full (because eating too much makes them sleepy)
In short, good proofreaders have their own strategies to retain quality.
No need to say, they do not overdo when they feel unwell. They understand well that they might have a mistake or miswrite when their brain cannot focus on work.
Therefore, they would not say like “I have a headache but I am fine because I took medicine.”
If they have to work under hard circumstances, they try these tips below;
・Check carefully with a slower speed than usual.
・Increase number of re-check.
・Ask other proofreaders to double-check, particularly for the complicated part.
With these strategies, they care for themselves and try to work on it.
In a conclusion, good proofreaders understand their competencies well and do not overestimate themselves. Consequently, they do not take work without thinking carefully. They try to perceive themselves objectively and work sincerely.
Some of you might think you do not have enough concentration or sustainability but you can try to get stable quality with your effort, not talent.
If you know someone who is a good proofreader, you might as well observe well and learn from them. You will understand that skill-up is not the only element that retains good quality. At the same time, it is clear that attitude tackling their work is significantly important.