Errors can prevent your written materials from having the impact you want. Proofreading can help you ensure you make the right impression on your readers by guaranteeing your text is flawless.
Before you publish any written document, you need to check a certain number of aspects. The facts in the document need to be accurate. The meaning must be clear. The writing must have the right tone for your target audience. Last but certainly not least, the spelling, grammar and punctuation need to be correct. While editing will take care of the content, the structure and the style, proofreading makes sure that every ‘I’ is dotted and every ‘t’ is crossed.
Proofreading is the final step in checking a document’s quality. Spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes are often the first things a reader will notice. You want to make sure your text follows all the rules.
Check out our blog article here for more information on the difference between editing and proofreading.
ISO standards for your quality assurance
For the gold standard in proofreading, choose an ISO-certified language service provider like SwissGlobal. Our ISO certification is your guarantee that the proofreaders who check your documents will be native speakers of the language in question, as well as being qualified, experienced professionals. Why take the risk of using a platform or a freelancer who cannot promise you this level of quality assurance?
If your text is designed to introduce your company to a large number of people, proofreading is especially important. Imagine having 1,000 brochures and t-shirts printed for a trade show, only to find they contained a spelling mistake. If you use your carefully curated social media presence to publish the latest news about your business, a post with poor grammar can quickly go viral and create exactly the kind of impression you are keen to avoid.
Alternatively, you may work in a field where accuracy is important for other reasons. If you work in the legal profession and a ‘not’ is inadvertently left out of a ‘not guilty’ plea in trial documents, this could have serious consequences for the parties involved.
So what exactly does a proofreader check?
As with all language services, it is important to have a clear understanding of what precisely the requested service entails – and what it doesn’t. Despite of what misleading information you might read online, proofreading consists of three things:
Grammar: grammar is the set of rules governing the structure of language. It is designed to ensure not only that a text has meaning but also that that meaning is clear and unambiguous. Double negatives, singular subjects with plural verbs and inconsistent tenses are all errors that can creep into your texts – especially if those texts have been revised multiple times. Having a proofreader look over it will eliminate these errors.
Punctuation: punctuation is the set of marks used to make it easier to understand and interpret written text correctly. If you are not sure where to put an apostrophe, which set of quotation marks to use or whether you need a colon or a semicolon, a proofreader will know. If your source text is in French, for example, it will have non-breaking spaces before the question marks and exclamation marks. These spaces would stand out to a reader’s eye if they were left in the translated English text. Similarly, you want to avoid having German-style « » quotation marks in an English document.
Spelling: poor spelling can look unprofessional at best, and at worst can leave your readers unsure of what you are trying to say. Writing ‘accept’ instead of ‘except’, ‘ensure’ instead of ‘insure’ or ‘affect’ instead of ‘effect’ can muddy the meaning of your writing. As you can see from these examples, there is more involved than simply running the spell checker after you’ve finished writing. It can also be about making sure your text is adapted to its target market, such as by using US English spellings instead of British English ones if you are targeting the US market.
Don’t skimp on proofreading
In conclusion, proofreading is a wise investment that can help your message get across clearly. It presents a professional image of your business to current and future clients. Proofreading from an ISO-certified language service provider like SwissGlobal will ensure your written materials are checked to the highest possible standards by experienced, qualified professionals.