Can You Rely On Software Completely For Proofreading?
The job of a proofreader is to catch errors — not to improve word flow, sentence construction or writing organization. As such, the work is mostly mechanical, allowing an actual proofreader to be replaced by a properly designed writing software.
What kinds of errors can you expect a proofreading software to catch for you?
- Lists. Misaligned lists, improperly-sequenced lists and improper parallel constructions in lists tend to be relatively easy for software correctors to catch.
- Grammar. While English grammar is notoriously filled with exception to its own rules, software can sufficiently check copy for problems on that end. The “exceptions” part, however, make it necessary for the software to prompt you for errors and offer several options, instead of just changing items directly.
- Spelling. Make sure your spelling database is up-to-date to include proper nouns and special jargon that you may use.
Despite writing checkers getting the job done well, there are aspects of proofreading that are still best done manually. These include:
- Fact-checking. You couldn’t really expect a software to verify facts and information. Most proofreaders don’t either, unless it’s easy enough to check (and with the internet, it’s easier than ever).
- Numbers. Mistyping a number is a very common mistake. Proofreaders know this well enough to double-check.
- Dates. Just like with numbers, mistyping dates is very common. Proofreaders know this well enough to double-check.
Of course, there could be other things that a proofreader must check for. That, however, will depend on house rules and style guides that particular publications follow. For the most part, the above items will act as the common thread.