PROOFING YOUR WORK
I cannot stress enough the importance of carefully proofing your work when you are done. Even the very best typist/transcriptionist will make mistakes. It’s very easy when you’ve finally finished a long, time consuming and arduous job to give in to the temptation to not go back, read it over and check for problems.
I mean let’s be honest here. By the time you’ve finally finished the job, you’re sooooo tired of this document you just want to be DONE with it and move on. DON’T give in to this temptation. I’ve done this more than once and been sorry and very embarrassed later when my customer returned the document for corrections. This does not give the customer or your boss a very good impression of you as a professional. Most likely, you will not have a repeat customer or a good reference when that happens.
In addition, it is NOT a good idea to go back over and proof your work right after you’ve finished it especially if it was a long and tedious job. You’ll most likely have a tendency to rush through it and increase the chances that you won’t catch some of the mistakes you made. If you can, wait a day. If that’s not possible wait a few hours, get away from the computer and do something else to clear your mind. Then come back to it.
Things to look for:
- Grammar and punctuation.
- Line and paragraph spacing.
- Formatting errors or things you forgot to add i.e. underlines, bolded words, words in italics, apostrophes, ellipses (…), M or N dashes, etc.
- Paragraph breaks, proper bulleting and numbering indention. Look for partial paragraphs at the bottom of a page with the rest on the top of the next page.
Check to be sure you checked off Widows and Orphans in your paragraph formatting. Another option if possible, you might want to consider moving the entire paragraph down to the top of the next page.
- Proper placement of images, graphs, tables and diagrams on pages. You may not realize while you’re typing that one of these is not centered on the page properly. It might even have part on one page and the rest on the next page.
If at all possible, these items should be on the same page and not break over into the next page. If they do, you may have to reduce the size of the image. Sometimes tables because of the number rows, will spill over to the next page. If there are only a few pages on the next page, try reducing the size of the font.
Another tip: create sections for the page. You can change the width of the page that way.
Proper section and page breaks.
- Citations and references. If there are quotes in the document, be sure they are referenced in footnotes and in the bibliography.
- Don’t rush when proofing; take as much time as necessary to get the document right. Keep in mind that a document filled with a lot of technical terms you’re unfamiliar with will take longer to proof.
- When talking to a prospective customer regarding what you know in advance will be a long typing/transcription job, be sure to mention that the time involved will include proofing your document. Most people will assume this anyway but it never hurts to mention it to reassure your customer that getting a document right is as important to you as it is to them.
- If you’ve already quoted a “firm” time limit for the job, don’t let that influence you and make you rush through the proofing process. It would be better to spend more time even though you might not be paid for it than to give the customer a document with errors. You will regret it later.
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Food for thought: “A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” (Ayn Rand)
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