Choosing a proofreading or copy-editing course

Knowing how to choose a proofreading course will give you access to an interesting and rewarding job that you can work part time or full time depending upon your specific circumstances and ability. You will generally have one of two fundamental choices in how you learn how to proofread: either a regular college course or learn online.

Many people are able to discipline themselves to a ‘self-taught’ environment, where you can learn your proofreading skills online without taking shortcuts or too much time off.  Others respond better to a classroom setting, where they must attend the course in order to pass it. It is your choice which of these options best suits your own temperament, but once you have made your decision you have to stick to it.

General and Technical Proofreading Courses

There are options with respect to the type of course you might take. A basic course will likely be sufficient for those with the intention of proofreading general copy for the press or popular publications.  However, if you have an ambition to work in the legal or financial fields, then you will be looking for a proofreading course specific to that field of work.

There is a world of difference between proofreading Dan Brown’s latest novel and proofing a legal text intended for publication as a college textbook. Many technical papers require intimate knowledge of the subject, although general proofreading will not generally demand such knowledge: simply expertise in the formatting standards and use of symbols and presentation conventions.

For example, most colleges and scientific publications employ a standard method of presenting references and bibliographies, and there are also frequently common paragraphing standards for professional papers and theses. A failure to utilize these conventions when presenting papers for assessment could result in down-marking.

The content of your proofreading course should therefore be pertinent to the type of proofreading work you intend to carry out. For most people that have no intention of taking up technical work, a basic course will be sufficient. In fact, such courses could be useful to office staff seeking to better themselves, particularly in jobs where written reports have frequently to be produced. A proofreading course will certainly improve your use of language, and largely eliminate written errors.

Choosing a Proofreading Course

So how do you choose a proofreading course to meet your specific needs? First decide what type of course you require:  basic proofreading or something more technical and specialized. Then decide whether it should be online or offline. That decision will depend on the spare time you have to attend college – if you are currently in employment will you be given time off work to attend college?  Is this an official course that your firm is subsidizing, or are you doing it yourself?

If the latter, you will know why you are taking the course.  If it is to improve your knowledge and skills, then ask your company if they will sponsor you – with paid time off or even with the cost of the course.  If the company believes your knowledge would be beneficial then it might pay for everything. It might even recommend a course to you, and offer the firm’s resources to help you study. Some companies pay for transport to and from college on a day-release or part time basis, while others would prefer you to take evening classes.

If you are doing it yourself, particularly if it is with a view to finding a better job, then go for an online course. Carry out a Google search for “online proofreading course” and check out what is available in your area. Most working people find online courses better for them:  they can take the course lessons online when it suits them, and often sit the examinations at home. Some courses require you to attend the nearest college for the examinations, but you can use vacation time for that if need be.

It might be useful for you to join an online proofreading service while you are studying. There are several sites online where you can register and apply for proofreading work that becomes available. One example is Elance, where you can apply to carry out work advertised by users of the service. By taking some of the easier online proofreading requests you can hone up your skills while you are learning- and also make some pocket money!

Another option, and some believe it to be a better one, is to offer your services online from your own website or blog.  Then you keep all the income, unlike a third party service where they take their cut. Many people believe that the best way to learn is through doing it.  You can benefit both ways: take our advice on how to choose a proofreading course online and also get practical experience while you are studying.

Proofreading and Editing Training

Interactive Training Ltd has been providing on-site proofreading courses for over 25 years with clients across the English-speaking world and from all sectors. Their training provides the skills that proofreaders need to identify and correct errors and to edit copy so that it achieves maximum impact.

Their one-day course is presented at their client’s premises and is tailored to meet their specific requirements. It is ideal training day for those responsible for checking documents for the errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar that can ruin good copy.

In an enjoyable, fast paced and informative day, attendees learn how proof-readers spot and correct errors and edit text to give it greater clarity and effectiveness, so that the copy gets the message across as powerfully as possible.

Those attending acquire the key proofreading and editing skills that will be a valuable resource for them, their colleagues and their organisations.

For further details, visit their Proofreading and Editing page or telephone 0115 9825315.

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