P S E D I T O R I A L S E R V I C E S
C O P Y - E D I T I N G • P R O O F R E A D I N G
C O P Y - E D I T I N G • P R O O F R E A D I N G
Frequently Asked Questions
What things will you check in my text?
I routinely check the following (where applicable) in all editing work: grammar, punctuation, spelling, syntax, comprehension, clarity, consistency, references, citations, tables, figures, cross-references, headings, preferred English style, publication layout, and format.
What are your fees?
My fees for copy-editing and proofreading depend on the length, technicality, complexity, and level of language editing required, and I will normally request a small sample of your work so that I can provide a fee.
Can you help me to get my thesis/dissertation into shape?
Yes, I can edit your thesis so that it meets the preferred style, format, and standards of your university, and reads clearly and grammatically. It is good practice to obtain your supervisor's permission if you wish to use a copy-editor to check your thesis.
What is the difference between copy-editing and proofreading?
The two terms are often used interchangeably, but strictly speaking, they are different tasks. Copy-editing refers to the process of editing your text before it is submitted for publication. Usually, the publisher's website will provide guidelines for formatting your document, e.g. whether to use UK- or US-style spelling. After your text has been copy-edited and submitted to the publisher for publication, the publisher will usually send you a proof of your written work, usually as a pdf file, to enable any final changes to be made to the text before it is published: this is proofreading, the final stage of checking. The proof will have been formatted to the layout and style of the journal, magazine, book, and so on, and will show you how your text will appear in its published form. Click here for a video, from the SfEP, showing more detailed descriptions of copy-editing and proofreading.
Why would I need a copy-editor or proofreader to check my work?
If you have written a text and want to ensure it is suitable for publication, an experienced copy-editor will help you to ensure that readers of your work are able to understand the information contained therein with absolute clarity.
If you are a medical publisher, you will want to ensure that micrograms are not mistaken for milligrams; if you are a student writing a dissertation, you will want your research results and conclusions to be understood among your peers; if you are the publications manager of a hardware company producing a user manual for your latest equipment, you will want to ensure your users are able to understand how to get the best out of the equipment’s features and how to operate the equipment safely.
My text was originally written in another language and translated into English. Can you help me edit and rewrite the text for an English-speaking readership?
Absolutely. If you can inform me of the nationality of the intended readership and/or publisher's preferred style of English, e.g. American English, Australian (Macquarie) English, Canadian English, etc., I will ensure your text is edited appropriately to meet any such guidelines.
The use of an experienced British editor is a good way to ensure that the final text reads well. Some linguistic nuances can be lost in translation, and colloquial expressions might not translate in the same way, so translated texts almost always benefit from a little English polishing. Perhaps you are an author of a research paper that is to be submitted to a publisher for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, but you want to make sure that your text reads clearly and unambiguously, and of course you want to ensure everything is correct grammatically. I can advise and perform a careful linguistic edit of your text.
Can you edit my work on paper?
Publishers will normally expect authors to submit their text in an electronic format, usually MS Word format, rather than on hard copy (paper), but I am happy to copy-edit or proofread your text on paper if you prefer. I can return the hard copy by post and/or scan and convert all pages to pdf format so that you can access the edited files on your computer.
My spell-checker software has a grammar-checking option. Will this be sufficient to check my text?
No. Because of the vast complexities of English written language, automated grammar, consistency, spell-checking, and text-analysis software cannot possibly do the same work as an experienced English copy-editor: it doesn’t have a human’s life experience to be able to discern what is right and wrong in a specific context. Most such software hasn’t been programmed to “look around” a word or phrase intelligently to detect and understand the specific context and meaning intended by the author, so false errors will often be highlighted. Software can certainly help to identify possible errors, but it should by no means be relied on entirely or in place of checking by eye. I always check every word in my editing work by eyes and brain.
What are the differences between -ise and -ize spelling in English?
American-English spelling adopts the suffix "-ize", e.g. "organize", never "-ise". British-English spelling can be either; specifically, Oxford English follows the suffix "-ize".
Can you just check all the references and citations in my text?
Yes, I can do that. I will check all references and citations, and provide a list of any mismatches, detailing any citations that do not have matching entries in the bibliography, and any items listed in the bibliography that do not have matching citations in the main text.
I have an urgent piece of text to be checked with a very tight deadline. Can you check and get the work back to me later today?
Yes, if I have no other similarly urgent jobs pending.
What about confidentiality?
All work for all of my clients is treated with absolute confidentiality.