What is copyediting?
A copyeditor makes sure that:
- the content of a text is organized in a sensible and logical way;
- the writing is coherent and conveys the author’s intended meaning to the audience;
- the style is accessible, inclusive, and sensitive;
- there are no spelling mistakes, and the grammar and punctuation are correct;
- the illustrations and tables relate to the text;
- the document is complete.
A copyeditor may, in addition, be asked to check facts for accuracy, although the final responsibility for factual accuracy lies with the client.
What is proofreading?
A proofreader will check that:
- the spelling and grammar are correct and the style consistent;
- the writing is accessible, inclusive, and sensitive;
- there are no awkward column breaks or word breaks at the end of a line;
- titles, headings, captions, and so on are in the correct font;
- illustrations and tables are present and correctly positioned;
- the contents list matches the actual text;
- the layout of pages makes sense;
- all the pages are present and the document is complete.
Do you need copyediting or proofreading?
If your text has not been professionally copyedited, it probably needs copyediting rather than proofreading. Ideally, copyediting should be done early on in the production of a book or document, while proofreading should be a final check, involving only minor corrections. Good copyediting at an early stage can save much unnecessary work and cost at the proof stage, when corrections tend to be much more expensive, especially in print publications. In online publications and web pages, the distinction between copyediting and proofreading is, naturally, more fluid.
Editing to a house style
I have experience of editing to many different style guides, including New Hart’s Rules (to which I am one of the contributors), The Chicago Manual of Style, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), and the American Anthropological Association Style Guide (AAA). I can edit to your house style or any style you prefer, British or American. I can also help you put together a style guide for your project or organization if you do not already have one.