Top 8 tips for finding a good proofreader

6 Jan

Each and every piece of collateral that you need to be proofread is important…so make sure that you get the right person to do this important job for you. Below I’ve highlighted my top 8 tips – if you think there are any other important ones, I’d love to hear from you.

  1. Check out their experience – always check a proofreaders experience and ask for a portfolio. In this way you’ll be able to see what they’ve done and if they fit the bill for your particular requirements.
  2. References – ask for references. You can check things like quality of work as well as whether they are able to deliver on time and on budget.
  3. Industry knowledge – although this is not critical, it can help for a proofreader to have experience within your industry, as it makes your documents easier to understand. This is more important when you work in a very complex or technical industry with lots of acronyms and reference to specific acts or laws.
  4. Local knowledge – in my opinion this is incredibly important. Each country has its own special way of getting a point across. Also, when a particular document is more conversational in style a proofreader needs to be able to take this into account.
  5. Rates – cheapest is not always best, and as they say in Afrikaans ‘goedkoop is duurkoop’. In a nutshell, you get what you pay for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying go for the most expensive, but judging a proofreader on rates alone is not the wisest move. Obviously budget is critical to any project. If you really like a proofreaders experience, but they are too expensive, speak to them. You never know they might be able to help.
  6. Check their website – I know this sounds rather trivial, but if their website is full of errors, it doesn’t really say much for their proofreading skills.
  7. Developing relationships – again, this might sound trivial, but if you can’t have a good relationship with someone you are asking to do the work, then it is likely that there will be disagreements. Talk to them and see how you feel.
  8. Do a test piece – ask the proofreader to do a SHORT test for you so that you can see whether their skills are correct.

If there are any others that you can think of, I would love to hear from you!


4 Responses to “Top 8 tips for finding a good proofreader”

  1. Find a Proofreader January 7, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Great tips! Another one would be to visit a proofreader directory site, such as 😉

  2. karenselliott January 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    I think developing a relationship is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle. I cannot tell you how many times a complete stranger sends me a “I need an editor…” And of course they are in a hurry. I don’t know their style, their personality, their dreams or expectations. I have a fabulous relationship with my editor – we know each other well, we’ve been friends and associates for years, she knows my style, I know what to expect when I get her edits (and she makes ME a better editor).

    • capetowncopywriter January 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

      Thanks so much for your comment and coming to take a look! I couldn’t agree with you more…in fact I’m doing an article specifically related to building a good relationship with your copywriter or proofreader. It is incredibly important! Thanks again.

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