Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Editing, Content Editing, Copyediting or What the Hell?

When you start typing in the search box “what is the difference between proofread …”, this is what you get:

And you just wanted to make sure that you understand what editing is. But don’t start panicking when you see so many things that other people do with their texts. Although you have thoughts like “OMG, my writing could have been better if I had revised, edited, copyedited, content-edited it before proofreading!”, I’m positive that you did everything abovementioned by just correcting mistakes and making sure that your essay or article looks decent. Believe me: the fact that you didn’t know how all the stages of writing are called (which will be fixed in a few moments) doesn’t make you a bad writer.

When I mentioned “all stages of writing”, I didn’t make a mistake because just spilling out all the words on the paper or into a Word doc is not enough; if you want to do a great job, you need to thoroughly go through your text before sending it to a client. And I’ll tell you how to call every step of this process so that you can structure all the actions in your head, have a chance to show off in front of your employer and can feel how good you are.

So let’s begin.

I know that there are numerous definitions and contradictions regarding differences between different stages of text processing, so I’ll depend on my own classification that I’ve embraced by searching the internet, trying everything in practice and selecting the best ones. Consequently, I’ll refer to editing, content editing, copyediting and proofreading.

·         Editing – you look at your writing from the distance, so to say. You foresee that the structure is right, the organization is logical and your text looks harmonious when you give a quick glance at it. Thus, I sometimes call this stage “above ground”.

·         Content Editing – you check that the content actually meets the requirements of the assignments, whether the facts that you mention are truthful and relevant and if there are any contradictions. Consistency is very important in your career, so be sure to watch it.

·         Copyediting – here is the stage that can be called “underground” because you have to eradicate all the spelling, grammar or stylistic mistakes from your text. I’m sure that you do it regularly but maybe now, knowing how it’s called, you can say to every mistake in your writing “YOU SHALL NOT PASS”.

·         Proofreading – finally the words that freelance academic writers meet so often: on this stage you correct all the tiny winy errors or inconsistencies that could pass your guard before and polish your essay to be perfect before sending it to the client.

And that’s all. Isn’t really that bad, is it? Well, here I have to additionally mention “revising” or “revision” which comprises editing, content editing and copyediting into one word. But I wouldn’t risk missing even one stage during text processing because when you have everything in a crowd in your head, you surely can lose something out.

I hope that this classification will help you deliver academic content of the best quality and you won’t have problems with editing or proofreading anymore.
Good luck, my friends.