You’ve probably heard the terms proofreader, copy editor and maybe even substantive editor, but what can these people do for you and your writing? There are many levels of editing available to you. Here’s a brief explanation to help you determine the type of editing you need.
The most basic form of editing is proofreading. The proofreader looks for typos, spelling mistakes and basic grammar errors. She also looks for continuity problems. If a company name is spelled one way on page two, the proofreader should notice if it’s spelled differently on page nine.
A copy editor will take your document a step further. He will look for issues with style, and may suggest better words or phrases for your document. Most copy editors and proofreaders will cover both editing aspects for you.
If you have a lengthy document or you lack confidence in your writing skills, you may wish to employ the services of a substantive editor. She will look at the “big picture” of your document and suggest large changes, such as adding, moving or removing entire sections. She may rewrite troubled passages for you.
Many professionals can seamlessly blend all three editing tasks. Regardless of the type of help you need, the editor should work with you to improve your documents. Think of your editor as your partner in creating clear communications.