Reprinted from Strategies newsletter, 3rd Quarter © July 2002 by First Marketing, 3300 Gateway Drive, Pompano Beach, FL 33069.
First Marketing’s proofreaders: Our behind-the-scenes quality control specialists
An inside look at proofreading
At First Marketing, “proofread” means:
Finally: You should know that proofreading is not a last-minute step. It is part of each stage of the creative process for all your pieces — electronic and print.
- FIND misspelled words that spell-check doesn’t catch. Examples: You and your, than and then, they’re and their, site and sight, principle and principal.
- READ every sentence for grammar and punctuation.
Our proofreaders make dependent clauses independent,
convert semicolons to full-fledged colons and, if necessary,
rescue dangling modifiers.
- VERIFY dates. The copy in a calendar, for example,
might indicate an event happening on Wednesday, March 7,
when March 7 is actually a Thursday. "This is one type of
common error a proofreader looks for," says Proof Team
Manager Susie Shaw, a 21-year First Marketing veteran.
- INSPECT photos. A man in a photo might have his
wedding ring on his right hand. This means the photo was
accidentally flopped, and needs to be corrected.
- CHECK for client idiosyncrasies. This includes the use of trademarks and registration marks with product names. Also, some clients print their phone numbers with two hyphens. Others use periods or parentheses. Another, who prefers a very formal writing tone, doesn’t want any contractions. “We ensure that individual client preferences
are followed in regard to style,”
Shaw says. “This is one
more way we customize your publication.”
- LOOK at
typography. On the
layout, for instance,
a subhead or the
disclaimer might be
in the wrong font.
- MAKE SURE of consistency. In the same article, a writer might mistakenly
use “percent” in one sentence and the % symbol
in another. Or “web site” in one place and “website”
in another. E-mail and email. And so on.
- LOOK for widows and orphans. A widow is a
one-word line. An orphan is one line at the top of a
column. “Widows and orphans can negatively affect
the appearance of the piece,” says Shaw.
- CONFIRM that standing elements are in place. Example: The proofreader compares the layout
to the most recent printed sample and sees that
the phone number is missing.
- DOUBLE-CHECK all phone numbers, web site addresses and e-mail addresses. Phone numbers change all the time, so calling each one is part of the proofreading process. For e-mail addresses, a test e-mail is sent. For web sites, proofers go on the Internet and make sure the printed address takes them to the correct site.
It should — because it is.
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