For many people, spelling, punctuation and grammar are a source of constant irritation. How many times have you written a college essay or business letter only to find embarrassing mistakes that the spell check has not caught? The spell check on a computer is very useful, but it won't be able to spot every spelling or grammatical error. This is where having your own personal team of proofreaders may come in very handy.
Proofreaders are trained to spot grammar, punctuation or spelling errors in written copy by quickly scanning the page. Proofreaders usually perform their work in two ways. One way is to compare proof documents against the original copy and mark any differences they find. They sometimes have a person read aloud from the original while comparing the proofs.
Proofreaders also read copy on its own with nothing to compare it to, marking down the errors they find on the written page. Trained proofreaders signal these errors with marks on the page. These marks are standard marks used by proofreaders, but they can also be understood by printers and writers.
Most proofreaders also have their own set of reference books that they use when checking for errors. They refer to dictionaries in order to verify unfamiliar or unusual words. They also use reference books that explain the diverse range of correct grammatical usage. These are very helpful when the proofreader has only the original copy to work from.
If a proofreader is working for a particular company or client, he or she may have to check that the copy is written to the client's standard guidelines. The company usually has a style guidebook that is specific only to their company. Proofreaders check the writer's copy to make sure it is written strictly to these guidelines. If it is not, the proofreader may contact the writer and ask questions regarding inconsistencies of style. Errors will then be marked and sent back for correction.
With the advent of the Internet and telecommuting, the flexibility offered by proofreading has become appealing to many people. People can train as proofreaders at college, or through one of the numerous night-classes and Internet courses available on the subject. Once training is complete, proofreading is a job that can be performed in a traditional work environment or just as easily from home. Many large and smaller businesses farm out this type of work to trained individuals. It's an ideal job for stay-at-home parents, or just about anyone looking to earn some extra money with very little overhead.