Do you examine your business documents for errors before they are issued or published? If the answer is yes, then you probably already appreciate the importance of establishing that your work is error-free. But, if the answer is no, are you aware of the potentially damaging consequences of releasing unchecked documents?
The meticulous examination of a document for any errors is known as proofreading and is the systematic identification and elimination of all inaccuracies and inconsistencies in a text, not just typos and spelling mistakes.
Here are 4 reasons why you should have your documents proofread – by a professional.
1. Why do I need to proofread? A few minor mistakes won’t hurt, will they?
Documents which are published with simple errors remaining and contain ambiguous and poorly written text are liable to cause incalculable damage to a business’ credibility and reputation. Ask yourself the following questions: Could this prevent you from having your next piece of work published? Could this result in future work being lost?
2. Do I need a professional? I’ll do it myself.
Of course, you can do it yourself. But if you’ve involved in writing a document, you’re more likely to be too familiar with the text to spot even the most basic errors. The human brain subconsciously processes information such as the spelling of words and the use of punctuation marks as it would expect to find them – both when you initially formulate the words and sentences, and then when you’re trying your best to concentrate whilst re-reading what’s on the paper or screen in front of you. In order to examine a text effectively, you need to be completely detached from the original thought process.
A professionally qualified proofreader will provide that fresh pair of eyes trained to spot those errors which may have been overlooked.
3. But I use a spellchecker!
Unfortunately, automatic spelling and grammar checkers are not foolproof. They will not identify all of the errors that may exist in your document’s text:
· Missing and incorrect punctuation
· Grammatical errors
· Misused words (even if spelled correctly)
· Wording which is confusing or conflicting in meaning.
A professional proofreader will find the errors a spellchecker won’t, and additionally s/he will check that the writing makes sense grammatically, giving a document that essential ‘final inspection’.
4. I’ll ask a colleague to proofread my writing.
Apart from the time it will take one of your colleagues to proofread a document correctly, s/he may also be overfamiliar with the subject and consequently ‘see what s/he is expecting to read’.
A qualified proofreader will have been taught to take a disciplined and methodical approach when proofreading a text, and s/he will have gained the experience necessary to ensure the different types of errors are identified and corrected in the most efficient way.
If you produce and distribute important information, communications and/or publications for both internal and external customers, perhaps you should consider employing a professional proofreader to ensure you always deliver high-quality, error-free documents.