Professional corporate proofreaders put documents under the microscope. They carefully read documents 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.
Typos and grammatical errors are regularly missed by the people who’ve written the document or given it the once-over. 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!
That’s why proofreading is essential for any text 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.
Professional proofreaders strive for perfection: a successful proofread is one in which the document is supremely professional, clean and polished.
Their usual role is to:
- Proofread for punctuation, grammatical and typographical errors.
- Identify inconsistencies, for example, inconsistent use of capitals, hyphens and bullet points.
- Inconsistent formatting, such as line spacing, paragraph breaks, widows and orphans.
- Indicate content that does not seem to make sense, is wordy or inconsistent with the overall style and tone. However, their role is not to edit unless briefed to do so.
What types of documents do corporate proofreaders proofread?
At Proof Communications, for example, our professional proof readers proofread public-facing documents for government and listed and private companies. These include annual reports, RAPs, sustainability reports, financial reports, product disclosure statements, tenders and proposals, modern slavery statements and similar.
Why use a corporate proofreader?
Our clients are often surprised at how many mark-ups we return with their documents. We typically make 10 mark-ups on average per page – in a 100-page document, that’s around 1,000 mark-ups.
In fact, most documents have few typos. The most common mark-ups relate to inconsistencies in how job titles, programs, terms and bullet points are presented.
A professional proofreader knows what to look for. They are highly skilled at identifying inconsistencies. They are alert to all the possible variations of terms, use of capital letters and hyphens, just for example.
The best proofreaders print the document before proofreading. Proofreading on screen is a no-no. It’s fine for an email but anything longer should be printed for proofreading. This is because no one can read a document properly onscreen. You can’t easily see inconsistencies in heading styles, for example.
The best proofreaders also have a checklist. The checklist will include all the typical errors and inconsistencies that occur in corporate documents and they’ll check for all of these before they begin reading.
Examples of corporate typos that almost got away!
Here are a few typos we’ve picked up in recent times.
- A client’s global sustainability review confidently told us that their team was “Singing the agreement.”
- We discovered one of the country’s most famous listed companies describing itself as “Australain”. The same company also had a photo in its annual report with its major competitor’s logo on full display.
- Then there was the big 4 bank that was issuing “divideds” to its shareholders.
- And let’s not forget the major law firm, whose management were “nuclear about the brief”. A second law firm talked of “following strict polices”.
- Yet another report chose a shot of the entrance to the company’s head office. Fine, apart from accidentally using a reverse image showing the street numbers back to front.
Of course, there are repeat offender words where double up or missing letters can be hard to detect. “Managment”, “succcess”, “facilties”, “polices”, “liase”, “businessses”, “abilties”, “technincians”, and oh, about a thousand more.
It’s this kind of “peripheral mistake spotting” that’s equally important to getting the job done. Corporate proofreaders know this, and are adept at identifying such mistakes.
Of course, every language has its pitfalls. Pity the poor typesetter responsible for using the wrong Chinese character in an article published by Tencent, China’s online news portal. Instead of reporting that President Xi Jinping “delivered an important speech”, the similar sounding character changed the meaning to “violently flipped out”. Oops.
The secret to word perfect documents
The secret to word perfect documents? Outsource your proofreading to a professional proofreader and let them deal with the stress of putting your publication under the microscope.
If you are interested in protecting and enhancing your brand’s reputation through high quality professional proofreading, contact us today to discuss your project and request a quote.
Proof Communications proofreads for Australia’s largest listed companies and government. We’re also ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management certified, so your documents will be in the safest of hands.