Copyeditor vs. Proofreader
“The biggest misconception that most people have is in believing that proofreading and copyediting are basically the same thing. While they are similar in nature, they are not the same by any means. There is a big difference between the tasks of a proofreader as compared to the tasks of a copyeditor. It’s why, if you go through job listings, you will see some positions open for copyeditors and some for proofreaders, but never just one single position for a “proofreader and copyeditor.
“Proofreading is done after a body of work is completed, but before it goes to press or is distributed. To put it simply, it’s the last step taken in the completion of the work. A proofreader’s job is to scan text for grammar, syntax, and punctuation errors. The meanings of words and terminology are not important to proofreaders. Their job focuses on the accurateness of the text and the layout in a body of work that is otherwise finished and ready to be published or distributed.
“While proofreaders concentrate on the form of the complete text, copyeditors concentrate on the details and terminology in a manuscript or draft. Copyeditors check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in text that hasn’t yet been formatted. Although the text they check is never just a rough draft, it’s considered a less-than-final version until it’s been edited.
“The copyeditor’s job is summarized in the Five Cs: to make the copy clear, correct, concise, comprehensible, and consistent. Typically, copyediting involves correcting spelling, terminology, punctuation, grammatical, and semantic errors; ensuring that the typescript adheres to the publisher’s house style; and adding standardized headers, footers, headlines, and more. The copyeditor is expected to ensure that the text flows, that it is sensible, fair, and accurate, and that it will provoke no legal problems for the publisher.
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