People in Malaysia often incorrectly use the words copy editing and proofreading interchangeably. We would like to tell our clients about this simple difference.
Proofreading refers to fixing errors in text at a basic level. This means errors in spelling, punctuation, basic grammar, and formatting.
The problems that proofreading addresses are typically obvious, even without special training or native English proficiency. See if you can spot the errors in the following examples:
Our initial survey showed that the sample was no broad enough to encompass the target population.
All human trials were approved by the Ethical Committee of the university of Malaya.
The conclusions of this thesis will be given below followed by recommendations for future studies.
Did you find them? Here, the sentences are properly edited:
Our initial survey showed that the sample was not broad enough to encompass the target population.
All human trials were approved by the Ethical Committee of the University of Malaya.
The conclusions of the thesis are presented below, followed by recommendations for future studies.
Most errors of this type are easy to spot. Your word processor will often catch them, or even correct them automatically. As word processing technology advances, it is likely that these types of errors will become even rarer. When is the last time you misspelled a word on your handphone using a ‘smart’ keyboard?
We recommend copy editing in addition to proofreading for most of our clients. Copy editing refers to broader changes in the style or tone of a text. These changes will improve readability and flow.
The issues that copy editing addresses may not be as obvious to a non-native or untrained reader. Here is an example of a passage before and after copy editing:
According to Example et al., (2010), they found that Unobtanium was unsuitable for chemical annealing. This means that another method must be found to complete the process. The reasons for this are unclear, but may be due to the physiochemical properties of the element. Further research is called for in this area and once completed Unobtanium may become a useful tool for both researchers and industry.
Example et al. (2010) found Unobtanium to be unsuitable for chemical annealing, meaning that another method must be found to complete the process. The reasons for this are unclear, but may include the element’s physiochemical properties. Further research may find important uses for Unobtanium in both academia and industry.
Note that the changes made in the text above are quite substantial. The edits make the text easier to read. Copy editing takes a lot more time than proofreading, and requires a trained editor, not a computer or untrained native reader.
Now that you know more about our services, please send us your paper for a fast and free quote!
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