Proofreading and Copy-Editing - the Difference?
Broadly speaking, proofreading is checking your document for error. Copy-editing is more complex and also involves checking for sense, factual accuracy, ambiguity, etc.
In publishing, a copy-editor prepares copy for typesetting, including resolving queries with the author and specifying the technical aspects of production. Then a proofreader checks the typeset proof to make sure that the copy-editor's instructions have been followed and that no errors have been missed (or introduced!).
Standard proofreading checks include:
- Headings layout
- Lists layout
- Font styles and sizes
Additional copy-editing checks include:
- Reading for sense
- Use of lists
- Sentence length
- Use of white space
- Active/passive sense
- Headings hierarchy
- Potential copyright issues
Corrections to spelling, punctuation, etc. are marked straight on to the document, in red or blue ink (hard copy), tracked changes (Word files) or mark-up (PDF files).
More substantial changes, potential issues and suggested amendments, revisions, etc. are presented, via a query sheet (hard copy) or inserted comments (Word and PDF files), for the author to decide whether to implement or adapt them.