What is an editing? What is proofreading? What is the difference between editing and proofreading? Only those who know the answers to these three questions can appreciate the services behind them and use them purposefully. Here we explain to you what editing and proofreading are and compare both services.

What is an editing? (a simple definition of terms)

The term “editing” is borrowed from Latin. The associated Latin verb is “legere”, which means “to read”. In the 15th century, for example, “lector” was initially used for “academic teacher”. Later, the term was also given the meanings of “foreign language teacher” and “publishing editor”. The term “lecturer” would be similar in the sense of a teacher who imparts certain skills and abilities. In Christianity, the person who recites something in the service is called a lector. A “editing” then corresponds

  • either the organizational form of a lecturer as a profession
  • or the specific editing of a text.

According to the free encyclopedia Wikipedia, editing can be a department in a publishing house or in an advertising agency. On the other hand, the term could also mean the service of a certified legal translation agency or a company specializing in text corrections. If the term stands for text editing, editing includes the

  • spelling (correct spelling),
  • stylistic (appropriate language style),
  • grammatical (correct grammar)
  • and content (coherent content)

revision of a text. Beyond the actual editing

  • the editor of a publishing house checks incoming handwritten texts (manuscripts) or typed texts (typescripts), puts together a publishing program, takes over the publication marketing and accompanies scripts until they are published.

Are you looking for someone to proofread a text for you? Our language experts are of course able to do this.

What is proofreading? (a simple definition of terms)

The term “proofreading” also comes from Latin. A “corrector” is therefore a “corrector”, “improver” or “corrector”, i.e. someone who checks printed documents to see whether their spelling, grammar, typography, style and punctuation is correct. The term “proofreading” is therefore – and analogous to editing –

The proofreader uses traditional proofreading marks in the margins of the printed sentence when proofreading a print copy on paper. In modern editorial offices of printed media, the final editor often takes over the proofreading. In the case of book productions, the editor sometimes does the same.

Comparison of editing and proofreading: These are the differences!

According to what is prescribed, the essential difference between editing and proofreading is that

  • the proofreading primarily takes care of the linguistic correctness of the text and only checks for factual correctness
  • While the editing department also – and only if necessary – also checks the content factually and linguistically.

You could also explain the differences between editing and proofreading like this:

  • First, the editor goes to work and works out an edited version of the text, usually together with the author. The aim is to optimize readability, which depends on both the content and the language. Content-related changes can also be made during editing; it is not uncommon for whole characters to be introduced or deleted in novels and narrative strands to be added or removed. The edited version of a novel can therefore be shorter or longer than the submitted manuscript or typescript.
  • If the text fits, i.e. if it has been proofread, it is then sent to the proofreading department, which ensures that the spelling and grammar are correct. Proofreading is traditionally the last step in a text before it goes to press.

Why editing and proofreading are worthwhile

Whether private or professional, there are countless situations where texts have to be drafted without errors, for example as a

  • Theses in school, training and studies,
  • doctoral theses,
  • applications,
  • Contracts,
  • promotional materials,
  • Contributions to media on paper or online,
  • Talk,
  • scientific lectures and papers
  • as well as wills.

Investing in professional editing and proofreading is almost always worthwhile, because thanks to this, a text that is error-free in every respect not only guarantees high readability and the resulting unmistakable understanding. It also stands for excellent quality and can strengthen the image of a company, especially in the free economy.

How do you find editing or proofreading?

Outside of publishing houses, there are various providers of proofreading and editing services.

  • For example, these are freelancers who offer their services individually or collectively. If you search the Internet for the terms “editing” and proofreading, you will find plenty of independent providers.
  • Agencies with editing and/or proofreading services are also on the market.
  • It is not uncommon for Polish to English translation agencies to now offer editing and/or proofreading services separately, i.e. without a translation having been commissioned beforehand, in which editing and proofreading are naturally included services.

Finally, our tip: Ask potential providers of editing services for subject-specific editors when you first contact them. Because the more specialist knowledge an editor has about the content of a scientific text to be edited, the better he will be able to understand and edit it.

By Williumson

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