Having your work proofread electronically

Posted: 19th Feb 2013

If you’ve never had your work proofread before, it can seem like a complex process. While there are a few stages, knowledge of what to expect can make it easier for both you and the proofreader. Here is what you should do as a customer in a typical proofreading project:

  1. Send an enquiry. Once you’ve found a proofreader you’d like to work with, contact them with your requirements. To help them give you an accurate quotation, you should give as much of the following information as possible:
    1. When you can send the work.
    2. When you need it back (‘ASAP’ doesn’t count!).
    3. Any specific requirements (e.g. US English proofreading, Harvard style references, PDF proofreading, etc.)
    4. An estimate of how many words you need proofreading.

    It is really helpful to include a sample of the work or even a similar piece of your writing that hasn’t been proofread.

    You should never assume that sending an enquiry guarantees the proofreader will be available – they may have other work booked. For this reason, request the proofreading as early as possible so they can reserve their time for you.

  2. Wait for a response. Remember that most proofreaders work standard working hours (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm). When they respond, they will either ask you for more details or give you a quotation for the work. At this stage, you should agree with the proofreader when payment will be made.
  3. Send the file. Once you have finished writing your document, send it to the proofreader. If your needs have changed, like if the document is longer/shorter or if you need it returned earlier/later, let them know as soon as possible. They may not be able to accommodate the work if your needs have drastically changed or their fee may change.
  4. Wait while the proofreading magic happens! The proofreader will go through your work and make changes. Most proofreaders use the track changes tool in Word to do this. When they are finished, they will send you the proofread work (usually two versions – one with the changes accepted and one without).
  5. Review the changes. Look through the changes the proofreader has made to make sure they have understood your work correctly. If they have used track changes, go through and accept/reject them as necessary. If you have any questions on the changes they have made, don’t hesitate to ask. Also, make sure you let them know that you have received the work.


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