What skills does a proofreader need?
Proofreading and editing skills can be learnt easily and readily as other skills. If you enjoy it, it can also be quite fun!
Working in publishing can be very rewarding. Freelancing offers the opportunity – when you can find the work – to be sent proofs or files that either need proofreading or editing.
But it’s important to have the necessary knowledge before you embark on a freelance career.
So what skills do you need for this kind of work?
- You don’t need a degree but it helps if you have a good grasp of the English language. Some people would disagree with this and say you should have formal training or pay a lot of money on a proofreading course. But some proofreaders or editors I know are completely self-taught.
- You need to have a good grasp of grammar and punctuation. Even if you’re not very good at this it’s easy enough to brush up on these skills.
- Enjoy working on your own.
- Self-discipline is very important, especially if you’re going to work as a freelancer. You’ll be working your own hours and will need to be motivated to get the work done. Most publishing houses work on tight deadlines.
- You will need to be able to deal with clients.
- You need to market yourself and promoting your business or no one will know you exist.
- Be able to write to a high standard of the English.
- Be prepared to work very hard.
- Be prepared to edit or proofread things that you don’t find interesting or that completely bore you.
- If you’re going to try a course, I’d recommend the proofreading and copyediting course run by CMP. This not only covers both proofreading and copyediting, but different areas about what it involves. It also guarantees you in paid work at the end.