What to look for when choosing a proofreading service?

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Proofreading is as important as any other stage of the documentation process in all the professions even if it is Ph.D. proofreading. A single punctuation, formatting, or spelling error is enough to ruin an entire piece of work. Proofreading services can put the necessary finishing touches on your work. When it comes to online services about proofreading and editing, people often conflate editing and proofreading, treating them as they are exactly the same. Although, they aren’t quite. Editing and proofreading services differ in two major ways: the purpose and the depth of the edit desired & documentation. Documents that require editing services are generally intended for an academic audience. These include dissertations and theses: journal articles, admissions essays, a persuasive, narrative, and expository essays often for undergraduate courses, speeches, PhD docs, and blog entries. Another category requiring this type of service would be English as a second language (ESL) i.e. documents. ESL docs actually require more proofreading than the same types of documents when written by native English speakers.

What to look for when choosing a proofreading service?

While choosing a professional proofreading service you have two fundamental factors to consider.

1. Competence of the professional to meet your needs 

2. The type of proofreading you want. The latter is important to you, so let’s consider that first, focusing on an online proofreader if that is what you are looking for.

How to Choose the Proofreader

Whether you are searching for a professional proofreading service to prove an online or offline paper/document. In these cases, the ‘Review’ & ‘Markup’ options of modern word processors has to be used to offer easy & useful service that is not available for offline hard copy proofreading.

You have Choice

Selecting from all the all the different English proofreading services available on the internet can seem like a complex task with concentration. There are factors like cost and delivery times to expert knowledge of your writing subject, and the wide range of options out there can feel overwhelming.

Understand your own requirements first

The first step is to consider your own requirements. Are you looking for an a business copy-editing service, academic proofreading service, or may be a professional review of a piece of text you have written? What level of proofreading and editing you require for the particular document. Do you just need proofreading for grammar and punctuation errors, or do you want full and proper editing to improve syntax, style, etc?

Experience and knowledge of your area/topic

When you are choosing someone for proofreading it can be actually useful if they have knowledge or experience with your writing subject/context. However, it may be less important than you may think. Generally you may find it equally beneficial/ethical to find a versatile, English expert with broad experience rather than a subject specialist, which can be harder to find and often incurs a premium fee.

Note: consider both English language experts that have diverse proofreading experience, as well as subject specialists. Do not rule either out and evaluate according to the charges they have.

Check for Qualifications or Experience

You might also want to choose to employ the services of a professionally qualified proofreader who has taken and passed a course in this discipline. While such a professional might give you more confidence, a good knowledge of the language is still very imperative and overrides any qualifications they have.

For document editing that we mentioned all of the above, we look at grammar, spelling, punctuation, citation, and formatting; sentence structure, tense and voice, vocabulary, and logic, organization, comprehensibility, and comprehensively. Document / Paper / PHD thesis proofreading is a bit different because writers typically want to preserve as much as possible their own voice; such services highly context-specific.

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