How long should you allow for professional proofreading?

If you’ve been closely involved in writing an important stakeholder or public facing document, it’s very easy to miss typos and other errors. This is so even if you’ve re-read the document a thousand times.

That’s because when you’re proofreading a document that you’ve written or been closely involved in producing, your brain skips ahead because you know what’s coming next. This means that you don’t see typos, missing words, extra words and other errors. We scan rather than read a sentence; we see what we logically think or expect we should see. But don’t be fooled. Those pesky mistakes are out there!

Why choose professional proofreaders?

Embarrassing typos and grammatical errors are regularly missed by the people who’ve written the document or given it the once-over. There are plenty of examples of companies not investing in proofreading and ending up with red faces.

That’s why when you have a professional proofreader onside, potentially embarrassing errors are avoided. Seeking a professional proofreader to proofread your document is a sound investment.

But for many organisations proofreading is often seen as a last minute add-on – a luxury rather than a necessity. Yet professional corporate proofreaders put documents under the microscope. They carefully read every sentence to identify errors and inconsistencies. Any proofreader worth their salt will ensure everything on a page is as it should be. A bad impression on an audience can be made by so much more than just typos in the text.

That’s why proofreading is essential for any content that’s shared with the public. Corporate proofreaders check for typos, omissions, inconsistencies and so on. Annual report proofreading, for example, is very important to ensure that there are no mistakes before the annual report is released to the public.

How long does proofreading take?

How long proofreading takes depends on a few factors, as you might imagine.

In terms of actual proofreading, for long, complex documents such as annual reports the proofreaders at Proof Communications work on the basis of 8-10 pages per hour. Hence, if your report has 150 pages, we estimate 15 to 18 hours, or two to 2.5 days. This gives us sufficient time to ensure a thorough proofread to our very high standard.

Other factors to consider include:

  • The length of the document. Clearly, the more pages, the longer proofreading will take.
  • Secondly, how long proofreading takes depends on the quality of the writing and graphic design. Some documents come to us in good shape. Others require a lot of editing as well as proofreading due to inconsistencies or poor writing. This means we have to make a lot of mark ups, which takes time.

As a guide, in an annual report with financial statements we typically make 10 mark ups a page – in a 100 page document, that’s 1,000 mark ups!

The number of mark ups we return often surprises our clients. That’s why we recommend you include time to review all the mark ups made by your proofreader and incorporate all the changes into the document.

How to become a proofreader for your business documents

If you need to proofread a document yourself, here are our quick tips on becoming your own proofreader:

  • Read slowly. Read one word at a time. If you go too fast, you are likely to miss mistakes.
  • Proofread from the hard copy – never, ever on screen.
  • Read the document out loud. This makes for perfect proofreading.
  • Ask somebody else to proofread your work. We’re often too close to our own work to proofread it perfectly. A fresh pair of eyes is usually the answer. If you don’t have anybody to help you, rest between the time you write and the time you proofread—at least overnight.

Contact us today for your professional proofreading needs

Partnering with the professional proof readers at Proof Communications will help you to ensure your documents are spot-on and increase your opportunity for success. Get in touch or ring us on 02 8036 5532 or 0448 566 377 to discover what we can do for your business.

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