Seeing bright light at the end of the tunnel: successful, efficient proofreading

Workshop review

Proofreading your own work: pleasure or pain? For our speaker, Karen Tkaczyk, a specialist technical translator, it was once the latter. Yet with experience and hard graft, she developed a system that worked for her – and now she helps others do the same.

Kicking off the workshop, Karen made sure that we were all speaking the same language: proofreading, here, meant the final process of checking a text. Not editing, not revising. What concerned us was the final polish to ensure an accurate, well-presented and professional product.

We examined different approaches and steps to take as part of that final process. Karen extolled both time-tested analogue methods and swish automated add-ins, including the famed two-ruler technique and QA tools such as PerfectIt and Xbench. Whatever the tool or technique, the aim was the same: to help us to “see” texts differently and spot errors missed while drafting.

A key theme throughout the workshop was recognizing our own weaknesses and modifying our processes accordingly. Memory is not enough – a formal, written checklist will promote a calm, methodical approach, helping prevent human error from setting in.

But what happens when you’re up against the clock and you need to get the job done? Again, Karen argued that planning was essential. If you have an emergency procedure in place before you start, the job will be less stressful and the product better.

To keep us on our toes, Karen punctuated her presentation with quizzes, exercises and group chat. She even offered a prize to anyone who spotted a mistake in her slides, so congratulations to Nikki Bone for having the sharpest eyes on the day. Did Karen leave in the typo on purpose? We wouldn’t bet against it!

Our thanks go to Karen for an enjoyable, practical workshop.

Proofreading workshop Proofreading workshop