MET workshops

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

Language professionals proofread every day. Improve this skill with methods you can immediately apply in your work, in combinations that take account of your own strengths and weaknesses.

Developer and facilitator: Karen Tkaczyk

Purpose: This workshop introduces methods to make the final process of checking a text more reliable and to assure translators, editors and writers that they are delivering an accurate, well-presented and professional product.

Description: We’ll explore old-fashioned, time-tested proofreading techniques and newer electronic tools, and fashion them into processes that work in our fast-paced, deadline-driven world. Participants will leave with practical tips that can be applied immediately. The workshop will include exercises, quizzes and multiple interactive segments, so participants should plan to have their cameras on and be active throughout.

Structure: We start with defining the basics of proofreading and exploring the wide variety of available tools. Next, we look at how we can build a set of tools to form a process, and then we consider how that process changes in less-than-optimal circumstances such as fatigue, haste due to an impending deadline, and blindness due to repeated rereading. After the break we consider other areas of proofreading. First, how to watch out for over-editing and errors made during editing. Second, differences between proofreading our own work and that of other authors and translators. And third, and perhaps most importantly, how we can use awareness of our own strengths and weaknesses in proofreading to optimize our personal proofreading process.

Who should attend? Editors and translators working into English. This applies to any field and text type, though most of the examples will be from academic or technical texts that come from Karen’s practice.

Outcome skills:
  • Know more about tried and tested manual proofreading techniques
  • Know which electronic tools are available and what they do
  • Make a start on developing a customized, personal process
  • Know where to go to read more on this topic
  • Eventually, be able to deliver texts that have been proofread accurately, efficiently and quickly

Pre-workshop information: Participants will receive background information and sources they can consult in preparation for the workshop.
About the facilitator: Karen McMillan Tkaczyk first trained as a chemist, then after having children changed course and became a French to English translator and scientific editor. She has been translating, editing and proofreading in a narrow technical subject range since 2005. She didn’t enjoy proofreading in the early days and worked hard to define what worked best for her. That resulted in this training. She is certified by ATA and is a Fellow of ITI. Karen is originally from Scotland and now works from her home in the Denver, Colorado, area.