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difference editing and proofreading

Perhaps you’ve just finished writing your thesis, or you have a manuscript lying on your desk that is waiting to finally be published?

Then there is a good chance that you have found yourself asking the following questions: what exactly is the difference between editing and proofreading? What do I need for my text, editing or proofreading, or maybe both? And what are the rates for editing and proofreading?

In this article we untangle the confusion and answer these questions for you – so you can evaluate your options, make an informed decision and find exactly what you need for your text.

Content is king, and proofreading and editing makes sure that your content gets the attention it deserves. Because no matter how amazing your content is, no one will notice it if they constantly get distracted by typos, missing punctuation or an overall style of the text that prevents the reader from actually focusing on the content itself.

As a professional language service provider, EHLION is here to help you get the best out of your writing. With our copy editing, proofreading and translation services, we make sure that you get your message across exactly the way you intended it. We will be happy to advise you on which service is the perfect fit for your needs. Contact us and let’s get started.

Copy editing versus proofreading

It is often assumed that editing and proofreading are interchangeable terms, but they are not. Rather, they can be described as different stages of the revision process when preparing a document for publication. While editing takes an in-depth look at the content itself, proofreading is more like a surface level check for mistakes, such as misspellings and incorrect punctuation.

Copy editing versus proofreading

It’s important to know that in some cases, editing services may include proofreading. This is something you need to check in advance.

In order to decide whether your text needs editing and/or proofreading, let’s start by taking a look at the proofreading definition and how to define copyediting.

Copy editing definition

Copy editing normally involves correcting and reviewing texts with regard to:

  • Content
  • Style
  • Spelling, grammar and correct punctuation

A copy editor is there to help you tell the best story possible. Copy editors have the big picture in mind, while still paying attention to the small details.

Editing means making adjustments to the content, which can result in rewriting whole paragraphs. Therefore, it is only logical that editing has to happen before proofreading, otherwise it would be twice the work.

Editing – content

Let’s say you have written a novel and hired a professional editing service to go over your first draft. In this case, the editor is going to check your text regarding the following aspects:

  • Plot structure
  • Plot holes
  • Character development
  • Narrative perspective
  • Story arcs

When it comes to non-fiction books or texts, the editor will look for different things, such as:

  • Structure
  • Arrangement
  • Chapter subdivision
  • How the topic is approached

Copy editing – style

Great content cannot shine if it’s written in a bad style. If the style doesn’t support the message of your text, you will lose your readers along the way. Copy editing services are there to make sure that this doesn’t happen. When they check the style of your text, they’ll have a look at:

  • The tone of the text and choice of words
  • Repetitions
  • Sentence construction
  • Readability
  • Is there something that is somewhat unclear or could be misunderstood?

Proofreading definition

Proofreading can be seen as the final step before publishing a text. It should be done after a text has been revised for style and content. In other words, editing and proofreading activities are different.

Proofreading checks a text in regard to:

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Other language errors

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Copy editing or proofreading?

Now that we have talked about what is involved in the proofreading and editing process, the question remains: which service to choose when?

You are a good writer, you have already self-edited your text and you are satisfied with the result? You are confident of the structure and tone of voice used in your document? You think your text has publication quality? Then you probably only need a proofreading service.

If you are not a confident writer or you have already spent so much time working on a specific text that you have lost your objective point of view, then it might be worth considering an editing service. Because to you, your arguments might be crystal clear, simply because you have worked on this document for weeks, but from an outsider’s perspective the structure of the text might not support your arguments in the best possible way. This is where a professional editor comes in, helping you to get your message across in a clear and compelling way.

Editing and proofreading marks

Even though you and your editor speak the same language, you probably can’t make sense of the lines, circles and symbols that he or she will write in your text. This is why we have put together an overview of the most common editing and proofreading marks.

If you want to edit a text digitally, for example in Microsoft Word, common proofreading marks can be found on your keyboard. If you can’t find a symbol on your keyboard, click “Insert” and then click “Symbols”. You can also use the tool “Track Changes”. This way your edits stand out and the author can click “Accept” or “Reject”.

difference editing and proofreading-EHL
editing and proofreading

Copy editing rates

Copy editing rates are often charged per page or per hour. Copy editing rates per word do exist, but are a little less common.

The final price for copy editing varies depending on a couple of different factors.

Urgent work that is needed the same day or the next day will cost you extra. But copy editing service providers might offer a discount depending on the number of words or pages that need to be edited. As a general rule: the longer the text, the cheaper the price per page.

Another factor that influences the price is whether you’re dealing with basic or heavy copy editing, copy editing for a website or a book, and whether or not proofreading is included in the price.

Editing rates per page tend to vary between $5 and $15.

Editing rates per hour: costs per hour can vary a lot and are somewhere between $30 to $100.

Proofreading rates

When it comes to the question “what is the difference between editing and proofreading?” one of the answers, in addition to the ones mentioned already, is the price. Copy editing includes a wider range of tasks than proofreading. Therefore, proofreading is cheaper.

Proofreaders either charge per hour, per page or per word. How much it will cost in the end also depends on the factors mentioned above.

Proofreading rates per page: $3.50–$5.50

Proofreading rates per word: $0.015–$0.03

Proofreading rates per hour: $15–$45

If you would like to know how much it is going to cost to get your documents edited and proofread, feel free to get in touch with us.

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Looking for translation with professional DTP services for both print and digital files?

Our DTP team uses the full Adobe Creative Suite to produce print-ready documents for Mac and PC.
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Conclusion – the importance of proofreading and editing

What’s the difference between editing and proofreading?

Proofreading and editing are different stages of the revision process. Proofreading checks for surface errors like spelling and grammar and is done after editing. Editing, on the other hand, takes a closer look at the tone and style of a text as well as at the content itself. While editing services sometimes include proofreading, proofreading never includes editing.

There is a joke that says the surest way to find grammar and spelling mistakes in your text is to hit send. We’ve probably all been there.

If you don’t want that to happen again, and you want to be sure that your text will make a good first impression, it is worth using a provider of editing and proofreading services like EHLION.

Our professional editors will help you to improve the overall quality of your text, check for spelling, punctuation and grammar and make sure the end result is of high quality. We also review source texts before starting a translation project. This can end up enhancing the quality of your translations, as well as saving on translation costs.

As a professional language service provider, we work with qualified translators around the globe and offer translation services for many different industries.

Do you need  editing for texts in English or any other language? Are you in need of a professional translation, app localisation or express translation?

Don’t hesitate to reach out for a free initial consultation.

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