On the Job
Proofreaders read printed copy or proofs to find and mark errors.
Thank goodness for spell check! Try as we might, it's unavoidable to misspell certain words. Are there two r's or just one in embarrassment? (As you can see, there are two.) How does the "i before e" rule go again? Ah yes, "except after c."
Indeed, the spell check option in most word processing programs is quite helpful. However, it can't find every error. For instance, it's easy to type in "tine" instead of "time" - a simple typo. However, a spell check won't catch the mistake, and what a mistake it is, since the two words mean very different things! The same thing might happen for two words that sound the same, but have different meanings based on their spelling, such as "compliment" and "complement." And there are always small mistakes with punctuation and capitalization (do you capitalize directions, like east? Usually, no). This is where the trained eyes of a proofreader can help.Proofreaders perform their work in two ways. Sometimes they compare proofs to the original copy and mark any differences they find. In this type of proofreading, they may use a reader to read the original copy aloud while they compare the proofs. Other times, proofreaders read the copy without anything to compare it to. In this type of proofreading, they mark errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. In either case, they mark copy with standard proofreader marks that are understood by writers and printers. The only exception is when they read copy from a computer screen.
Proofreaders often consult reference books to do their work. This is especially true when they are reading proofs without a comparison copy. For example, proofreaders consult dictionaries for proper word usage and spelling. They consult grammar books for rules on grammar and punctuation. They also refer to stylebooks or style sheets used in the work place or with a specific client. In some cases, they create a style sheet that follows the main style of the copy they are reading. A style sheet is a well-organized list of preferred usages that have no single, official rule. It includes such items as abbreviations, hyphenation, and capitalization.
Proofreaders have other duties besides reading and marking copy. They may compare information or figures on one record against the same data on another record. They may measure the size and spacing on the page with a printer's ruler, to be sure they meet rules. Proofreaders sometimes ask writers about items that are awkward or inconsistent with the style. When they have questions, proofreaders mark the copy or make a list of their questions. Then they talk to the writer and decide what to do. When proofreaders finish reading and marking, they route the corrected proofs to be reprinted or reviewed.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Read proofs against copy and correct errors in type, format, grammar, punctuation, or spelling.
- Mark corrections on proofs using standard proofreader marks.
- Read corrected copies or proofs for errors and style.
- Compare information or figures on one record against same data on other records or original copy to detect errors.
- Consult reference books for rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
- Route proofs with marked corrections to be reprinted or reviewed.
- Measure size, spacing, and positioning on the page to verify agreement with rules, using printer's ruler.
- May read proof sheet aloud, calling out punctuation marks and spelling unusual words and names. May listen and compare while copyholder reads.
- Refer to stylebook, or create style sheet that follows the style of the copy being read.
- Talk to writer about questions.
- May read from and correct copy on computer screen.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Use computers.
- Think creatively.
- Explain the meaning of information to others.
- Teach others.
- Coach others.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Perform administrative tasks.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Analyze data or information.
- Convince others to buy goods or change their minds or actions.
- Document and record information.
- Develop goals and strategies.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a high level of social contact.
- Communicate with coworkers daily by telephone, in person, or e-mail.
- Write letters and memos on a daily basis.
- Work in a group or as part of a team.
- Always work indoors.
- Work somewhat close to other people, such as when sharing office space.
- Must be very exact in their work. Accuracy is the most important part of their job.
- Repeat the same physical activities.
- Make decisions on a daily basis that strongly impact the reputation of the company. They consult supervisors for some decisions, but make most without talking to a supervisor.
- Are able to set some tasks and goals for the day without talking to a supervisor.
- Must meet strict deadlines on a daily basis.
- Generally have a set schedule each week.
- May work part time or full time, but most work less than 40 hours a week.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Sit for long periods of time.
- Repeat the same movements.
- Use hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.