Proofreading is the final check of a document before it is signed-off for reproduction. It is, in essence, a quality control exercise, and should not be seen as a substitute for copy editing. Proofreading involves comparing the approved version of a document with the first proof, checking each word, punctuation mark and graphic element. A good proofreader will also check for any further spelling inconsistencies that might have been overlooked at the copy editing stage, or introduced since the copy edit.
The list, below, summarises the tasks that I will undertake, where required:
• Validate that the proof is a copy of the approved version of the document.
• Ensure all prior amendments have been entered.
• Ensure the proof is complete: all preliminary matter is included; all tables, illustrations, footnotes, endnotes, labels, etc. are included in the body of the document; and all end matter – appendices, lists, glossary, bibliography, index, etc – are included.
• Check and correct any apparent spelling, typographical or punctuation errors, in consultation with the editor.
• Check conformity with the design specifications.
• Check list of contents, tables and illustrations against the text.
• Check all sequences, including page numbers, headings illustrations, etc.
• Proofread the index.
• Spot-check cross-references and refer any inconsistencies to the editor.
• Check that the layout is correct, including: page breaks; word breaks at end of lines and pages; white space; and that illustrations, captions and labels are placed appropriately.
• Mark-up any changes using standard proofreading marks.
•Provide list of any queries for the editor to review.
As you can see, proofreading is not just merely doing a spell check!