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Devil’s in the Details: Distance Learning for Picky Proofreaders


Devil’s in the Details: Distance Learning for Picky Proofreaders

Coggno Inc. | Jun, 30 2011

Regardless of whether you have experience in distance learning, if you’re a professional copy-editor and proofreader, you understand your work isn’t just about finding and correcting errors in text. Your ability to navigate the intricate web of factors and rules for deciding what parts of a text to change and how to change them, and when it’s best to leave good enough alone, ultimately decide how good you are at your trade.

Online proofreading courses are an affordable way for copy-editors and proofreaders to sharpen their existing skills. And for beginner copy-editors, gaining this skill in a formal context can open the door to many different jobs including writing reports, publicity writing, journalistic writing and news articles, marketing content, and more.

In a copy-editing course, you’ll learn to differentiate between the numerous editorial, proofreading and typesetting roles within the publishing industry.

Then, you’ll get into the nitty-gritty of copy-editing. To be an effective copy-editor, of course, you’ve got to have a solid grip on the basics. An online training course will review how to identify typical spelling, grammatical, punctuation and layout mistakes in printed text. To be a great copy-editor, proficiency in the application and understanding of the parts of speech including nouns and pronouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives is an absolute must.

Web editorial skills

Today most editors need to have some experience working with online content, and a growing market exists for proofreaders who can tailor their content for a web audience. A distance learning course in copy-editing will help you adapt your skills to the online medium to enable expanding your client base. Furthermore, if you yourself are responsible for online content, an online course in copy-editing can greatly improve your ranking and the quality of your web content. Learn how internet content differs from printed text, and how to structure and articulate your content in a way that is easily to read online.

Tech-savvy copy-editing

You will also build on or develop your knowledge of computer applications. More and more content copy-editors and proofreaders are expected to read is web-based. Perhaps you are already working from content on the web but aren’t sure that you’re doing it correctly. An online course can help smooth out the uncertainties and give you the tools for seeking guidelines for publishing on the web. You’ll gain an overall competency in your knowledge of theoretical and practical features of proofreading and copy-editing.

Get with the program….or is it programme?

Is it program or programme? One important topic in a copy-editing or proofreading distance learning course is that of regional and stylistic language differences, such as MLA or APA and differences between British and American English. Copy-editing is one of those professions where the devil is in the details: a UK-based client will not want to see z’s (realize, utilize, etc.) in their text where they do not belong, for example. Consistency is key.

An online course should cover these regional differences to guide proofreaders in their task of marking text accurately.

Proofreading vs. Copy-editing

All this talk of proofreading and copy-editing, but what really is the difference between a proofreader and a copy-editor? Simply put, the copy-editor works on a book in its manuscript stage, while the proofreader works on the galley proof. Proofreaders are expected to make less subtantive changes than copy-editors. If you are searching for an LMS online course to brush up on your marketable skills, check out Coggno’s selection of distance learning courses.


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