How To Become a Professional Proofreader

Man reading book

A proofreader’s job involves reviewing written content for errors in spelling, sentence structure and grammar and ensuring that the content is perfect, free of typos and ready for publication. Proofreaders can be salaried employees or self-employed working on a ‘project’ basis. Listed below is information on how you can become a proofreader.

Job opportunities
Proofreaders can be employed by any company or organization which is in the business of providing content for a variety of media, in real-time or online. For example, publishing&printing companies, newspapers, magazines, journals, all online content on web sites, portals, etc.

As a self-employed proofreader, you can work on a freelance or contract basis which can range from handling one-time projects for numerous clients or regular assignments for a select group of clients, depending upon content volumes and the time you can devote to the activity. Proof reading is the ideal job for people who want to work from home or need jobs where flexi-hours are available or students looking for part-time work to make some money.

Education, skills and training

No formal or mandatory education is required, but you’ll find that most proofreaders are educated beyond high school levels. At the basic minimum level, you should have completed at least an associate degree or a recognized diploma, if not any further levels. A comprehensive list of education, skills and training required to become a proofreader is provided below:

  1. A strong command of the language in which content is created – English, French, German, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and other major languages in the world.
  2. A degree ( associate or bachelor) in subjects such as linguistics, any language, communications, media management or relations, advertising and marketing, professional editing, etc.
  3. High levels of competency in reading, writing and speaking the language(s) in which you will be proofreading.
  4. An eye for detail and thoroughness to check content to the minutest levels.
  5. Sound technical skills – sentence structuring, grammatical rules, use of apostrophes (this is one of the areas where most writers can go wrong), words and phrases which sound the same but have different spellings or convey different meanings (‘there’ and ‘their’ or ‘wont’ and ‘won’t’, ‘cant’ and ‘can’t’, etc).
  6. The ability to find and correct redundant use of synonyms, double positives or negatives.
  7. If necessary, take a short-term course or program to brush up your skills and ensure that you are up-to-date on rules of usage, modifications or new words added to dictionaries, etc.

Other than the points mentioned above, becoming a good proofreader is all about constant practice at checking the written word, even if you’re reading just for fun!


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