Proofreading for everyone

Posts Tagged ‘proofreading’

Twisted words

Monday, April 15th, 2013

At FastProof we proofread lots of university papers written by students from overseas. They manage to study in an unfamiliar language, and we do our best to improve their grammar without influencing their content.

The topic is always interesting even if unfamiliar. In the last year proofreading has kept me well informed about housing in Mongolia, dairy farming in Brazil, the colonisation of Tonga, the construction of microwave conduits and the role of design in the restoration of Iraq.

One develops a relish for quickly absorbing new topics. Regrettably, most of the information the proofreader absorbs leaks out almost as fast as it went in. Or maybe that’s useful, because I don’t need to retain all that information for the proofreading.

In dealing with the “foreign” use of English, one encounters all kinds of grammatical constructions — unconventional, plain wrong or full-on wacky. English can be infinitely and divertingly mangled, and we can find ourselves smiling at the expressions they concoct.

Then I set to work dismantling the curious concoction. I constructed this communicative contrivance to depict and describe the problem of difficult passages. It seems apt:

Reprinting is ruinous

Monday, April 30th, 2012

You organise professional printing for the important documents: brochures, advertisements, product information, magazine articles. Before the printer makes the plates he asks you to sign the proof.

Hence you approve the colours, images, writing, fonts, layout and everything else. Then the job gets made.

So it has to be right. If someone finds a mistake later, it can’t be helped. You approved it — you either live with it or reprint it. Reprinting a job often leaves its cost-effectiveness in ruins.

But it’s easy to avoid both the ruinous expense and the blot on your reputation.

Just be smart — before you sign the proof, send it to FastProof.

Do you need FastProof?

Monday, April 30th, 2012

What exactly is proofreading?

Everyone’s different, and their documents are different. It’s hard to make rules for them all, so we’re flexible.

FastProof is designed to be fast, inexpensive and good quality. To fulfil the promise of bringing proofreading to everyone, we correct only spelling, punctuation and basic grammar. Correcting basic grammar means fixing missing words, an incorrect plural, replacing “than” with “then” — miscellaneous things like that. We love it.

So FastProof corrects mistakes but doesn’t try to “improve” your writing — it doesn’t try to find a better word than the one you’ve used.

We take the view that your writing is perfect, but there could be unintentional flaws (as anyone might leave). We spot and correct such flaws quickly, so the price stays down. Lingering over what you’ve said to consider how one might say it better takes longer, so we don’t do that. Unless you ask us to, then we give it to WordShine.

If the author is a native English speaker, FastProof is probably all you need to polish the writing.

The best proofreader

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Here’s a question: Who makes the best proofreader?

It’s never the author—they make the worst proofreaders. They’re just too close to the intention of the writing to judge the writing. The proofreader shouldn’t even be on the project team.

Say a product development team is building a revolutionary new model of Flostenhammer, and one of the team members writes a user instruction manual. If they made an inadvertent factual error, the best person to find it would be another member of the team, because to them the mistake would stand out like a sore thumb. So a team member should check all the instructional writing they produce.

But the writing itself is different. Continue Reading…