Proof Reader

Proof readers read the trial copy or proof of the material to be printed along with the original copy to be sure that there are no errors.  Using a standardised code, proofreaders note any grammatical, typographical or compositional errors on the proof.  Some are specially trained to check Braille.



Proof readers correct or record omissions, errors or inconsistencies that they find.  They mark the copy to indicate and correct the errors in type, arrangement, grammar, punctuation or spelling, using standard printers' marks. They then read the corrected copies or proofs in order to ensure that all the corrections have been made. 

Proof readers compare the information or figures on one record against the same data on other records, or with the original copy to detect errors, and consult reference books or secure the aid of readers to check references with the rules of grammar and composition. They despatch the proofs with marked corrections to authors, editors, typists or typesetters for correction and/or reprinting.  They need to measure the dimensions, spacing and positioning of the page elements (copy and illustrations) in order to verify conformance to specifications, using a printer's ruler.

Some proof readers read and note corrections on the proof while others (copyholders) read the original aloud, calling out punctuation marks and spelling unusual words and proper names. 

Since proof readers need to concentrate hard on their task, most companies try to provide quiet rooms or offices close to the composing room.  The rooms are usually well-illuminated and ventilated.  Some proof readers work in the composing room, which may be untidy and noisy, while others freelance from home.


Personal Requirements

  • ability to concentrate under noisy conditions
  • enjoy performing routine work tasks
  • work accurately and quickly, even under pressure
  • pay close attention to details
  • follow directions closely
  • good vision and stamina
  • good work habits
  • have a good command of languages


How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate



What to Study

Proofreaders are usually trained in the work situation. Most printing houses first employ proofreaders as copyholders. Copyholders read original manuscripts aloud while experienced proofreaders make the proper corrections at the same time.


Employment

  • printing and publishing companies that produce books, magazines and newspapers
  • commercial printing shops that do work for small companies with no printing facilities
  • government departments e.g. the government printing works
  • self-employment, doing freelance work


Further Information

The South African Publishers Association
House Vincent
Wynberg Mews
1st Floor, Unit 104
Brodie Road, Wynberg
Tel: (021) 762-9083
http://www.publishsa.co.za/


Getting Started

  • work for your school paper
  • look for holiday or part-time work at a printing firm
  • try to increase your reading speed and comprehension skills
  • learn spelling and grammar and their applications
  • take good care of your eyes
  • speak to a proofreader about this type of career.


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