The benefits of proofreading content before production

by Dean Cook, October 3, 2016
Category: Blog,   Tags: check copy, check text, copy editing, copy writing, edit text, editor, freelance editor, freelance proofreader, magazine editor, orphan, proof read, proof-reading, proofread, proofread copy, proofread text before production, proofreading, proofreading tips, proofreading tricks, rags, widow,

Working alongside a variety of independent publishers, many having limited resources, Dean Cook often experiences a rather relaxed approach to grammatical standards only to be corrected during the production stage. Here, he looks at ways to reduce the time and work to better and more efficient standards.

Professional publishers understand the importance of being able to communicate descriptive writing with accuracy, structure and creativity, however, the personal writing ability, sometimes found with the smaller independent publisher, often limits the end results.


The importance of broadcasting to the public

Radio, television, newspapers, magazines and websites, positioned in an open environment, aim for perfection, or, at the very least, meet minimum standards expected by the industries they operate. The quality of the written word is paramount as the publication’s creditability can easily be affected if content isn’t up to scratch.

Now, I readily admit, I am not a writer, journalist nor editor. I tend to leave content creation to the professionals. I am a production artist dealing with the intricacies of constructing publications for print while maintaining client timelines. Over recent years, our production team are increasingly spending more time filtering glaring errors and relaying them back to the editor. Although we take pride in every magazine we produce, the sub-editing of copy is outside our remit, yet, we wouldn’t be happy for anything to go to print knowing an error was apparent. So, how do we reduce the number of mistakes while maintaining content accuracy, speed and production efficiency?


Before sending copy to production proofread the copy, proofread it again and then have someone else proofread it

Continue to proofread and correct your editorial in Word to the best of your ability until you are completely satisfied to sign it off. Only then should finalised content be handed to production. To supply clean copy aids better format and construction minimises amendments during the production stage, reduces visual revisions, invites fewer proofs, speeds up the approval process and can attract lower production costs.

We appreciate copy errors can still be spotted after the page is composed but, in the majority of cases, there would be very few resulting in clients ultimately approving their magazine for print within just three production proofs.

To supply unfinished copy will only slow the production process as the production artist becomes involved in correcting every error. They would need to interpret each correction, locate it on the page, make the change, revert any text reflows each correction may have caused and supply another production proof so the editor can then cross-check that all amendments were applied. Subsequently, by altering a wealth of minor errors can soak up a serious amount of time, increase the cost and invite a risk of missing the print deadline.

For the best top-ten proofreading tips click here or, if you feel grammar isn’t your strong point, then Grammarly could be a very useful tool for you; as stand-alone software and as a plug-in working alongside programs on your system, it filters the majority of common grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. To find out more, click here.

Ideally, it’s always worth investing in your content to ensure it is to broadcast standards. Hiring a professional proofreader could certainly benefit your publication in the long run and aid to reduce your ongoing magazine design and production costs. Or, if you value meeting professional standards, then consider enlisting the services of a freelance editor who can apply content direction and creative flair.

For more information, then please contact us.

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