Both copyediting and proofreading involve close and cautious reading of a document or the content of written matter. The only difference between two is that they focus on different aspects of the writing. Therefore, each one makes use of different techniques.
Proofreading is the process that involves examination of text of the document to check for spelling mistakes, errors of grammatical nature, punctuation marks usage and minor mistakes, lack of consistency of the text style like fonts, highlights like bold and italics, spacing, underscore, etc.
On the other hand, copy-editing is a more in-depth process. This involves not just all the proofreading checks as well as a revision of the text to improve its flow and structure if at all and wherever necessary. This also means making an inspection for evident factual omissions made in the use of statistical data and improving the general readability from the reader’s point of view.
The proofreader mainly reads the copy of the document for checking consistency and layout of the information. In addition to that this also includes checking for accuracy level in the text, references and for pointing out errors. The proofreader, therefore, is only acting as a quality checker ensuring that nothing has been missed by the copy-editor or typesetter. They are not at all responsible for overall consistency and accuracy of the content, as per the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.
The process of proof reading does not comprise of re-writing or changing the form in which the document has been written. Therefore, this activity mostly is carried out after the copy-editing has been done.
To explain about copy editing, a copy-editor is the one who makes sure that the raw text or document is correct in relation to spelling and grammatical rules as written by the author. In addition, it should be checked that it is easy to read for the readers so that they can grasp writer’s ideas. A copy-editor also attempts to prevent disconcerting errors relating to facts, alarms the publisher in the context of any possible legal problems associated and make sure that it can be expected that the typesetter can do a better job.
There is a gaunt line of difference between proofreading and copy editing, therefore, many people get confuse between the two. Though these are two different reporting skills, but it becomes important to recognize why and how they differ. The most fundamental form of distinction between two is the form the medium takes. Copy editing at some point in time was performed by making codes or marks and marking writing revisions on the manuscript that use to be typewritten, but now such changes can be entered in a word-processing program called Microsoft Word.
Proofreading, on the other hand, is done on a copy of the finished document or text that is known as a proof; hence the name was coined as “proofreading”. Still proofreading is usually completed on a hard copy by marking with a pen or pencil, but sometimes it can also be done electronically by marking up in a PDF form (Adobe’s Portable Document Format).
It is just the beginning as the copy editor’s work is to deal with discretion a writer’s prose or document so as to ensure that it meets all the conventions and needs of a good writing. A writer may be very skilled at giving explanation of a procedure or depicting a scene verbally but it is the work of the copy editor to see and who makes the thing described in the manuscript’s composition smooth and understandable. In addition to this, he sees to it that the writing complies with to the conventions of grammar rules, proper, and correct vocabulary is used and the text contains correctly placed appropriate punctuation marks.
It can be expected from the copy editor that he may also suggest or he perform some reorganizing in the text for correction purpose, recommend needed changes to formatting like chapter titles or subheadings, and mark the loops in the grounded logic or sequential errors. This is a paramount task to be done by the copy editor as this draws attention and is important when the content editor faces issues of lack of time or is his absence.
Throughout the editing process, for example, the project comprise of a book manuscript or an extensive report of significant length, these skilled editors called copy editor compiles a style sheet, overall editorial policy statement and a record of peculiar usage of words. Most of the times style sheets attempt to enlist all proper nouns used in the document to make sure the specific names or characters are spelled correctly and consistently written in capitals. This is done even though search functions of the Microsoft Word and spell-checking programs already installed in such processors that have made such usage somewhat unnecessary these days.
On the contrary, the proofreader is assigned with the task of checking reproduction as to what the final documented text will look like. To bring to your notice the task is not about making revision but making a correction. Thus, it can be said that it is making sure of the total absence of any typographical mistakes from the manuscript and to proceed to the production stage. An element of correction may range from a letter to a paragraph or any accidentally omitted or repeated information, or misplaced database. All this occurs because; now a day most text is a work of copy and paste from an electronic document directly.
To summarise the whole, copy editing is considered to be more qualitative skill and proofreading as a lot more of quantitative, with a bit of overlap. Overlap because one who is good at one often successfully can do other as well. Proofreading usually is lesser payee job and often leads to copyediting, but most of the editors perform both the task. These days the demand for them have reduced as a money saving measure but still some value rigorous attention in written expression and, therefore, the copyediting and proofreading professions practitioners will remain in demand.