In my last post I spoke about the 5 reasons why you should hire an editor and today I will talk about the difference between a proofreader and an editor. All jobs are not created equal. You do not need an editor at each stage in a project, and there are stages where the use of a proofreader does not make sense.
Yes, deciding between a proofreader and an editor is an important distinction according to the stage at which your project is at. But don’t worry, I am here to help you understand the distinction between the two, so that the next time you need help, you know who to call on.
First thing’s first: what stage are you in your project?
Raw data stage: At this stage you just have all the information, but not necessarily in one document and you want it pulled together in one cohesive document that makes sense (think Annual report). This is the stage where you would call a copy-editor. We are the people who would make sense of all your raw information and pull it together in a way that makes the most sense and has the correct flow.
First draft/second draft stage: At this stage you have a document, the information is in the order that you want it (for the most part) and you think you need some help; call an editor. This is the stage where you would most benefit from the skills of an editor. An editor will give your work a deeper look, and you would benefit from them looking at how your work has been presented and flows. You will also get tips for improvement, structural changes, constructive criticism, overall readability and quality.
Final draft: At this stage your document has all the elements you need, the overall quality is as perfect as it will get and the flow is right. This is the time where you would most benefit from a proofreading service. Proofreading focuses on correcting ‘surface’ errors (grammar, spelling, punctuation etc.) so this works best at the final stage of your document. You do not need suggestions on quality and flow. You just need a final ‘clean up’ of sorts.
So there you have it, a simple breakdown for when to call either an editor/copy-editor or a proofreader. Happy writing!