What is the difference between proofreading and editing?

If a proofread corrects surface-level errors, an edit goes much deeper. The imagery used in an article might not suit the target audience, or the readability may need some work. Perhaps the style doesn’t quite hit the tone required. The level of corrections made to a document can be adjusted depending on the requirements.

An edit always includes a proofread, though, so spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes are also corrected. The result is a beautiful piece of writing that effectively communicates its message.

What does correct copy look like? Really good!

But it is not enough to have copy that is just correct. It also needs to be appealing for the reader and communicate with its target group using the type of language they expect. This can be achieved with editing services.

Eloquently communicating with your target group

A message contains more than pure information – it also contains emotion. And this is generated using the right forms of expression, the right style and, above all, lively language with imagery and turns of phrase that give your writing a little something extra.

Editing services can do all that. The information just has to be right. There is no alternative for that in corporate communications.

Editing – the gold standard

An edit always include a proofread, but focuses deeper on reviewing the content stylistically and considers the text as a whole. 

The main task is to decide whether the text, in its current form, achieves its objective and gets through to the target group. 

Does it convey its message – product information, or a call to action, for example – to the readers effectively and appropriately, and without losing anything along the way?

Editing is the ideal approach for nearly all types of writing. Why? It comes down to the complex requirements. The piece has to be coherent and consistent – in terms of form, orthography and content. And it has to be appropriate for the target group in order to reach them.

Consistency is king

Content is non-negotiable. ‘One euro’ in a document on page 10, for instance, is worth just as much as ‘€1’ on page 25. Even though each option is correct in itself, this type of difference indicates imprecision in the text. During editing, however, this deviation is uncovered and corrected to ensure consistency.  

The same thing goes for proper nouns, places and other designations that come up multiple times in a document, regardless of how comprehensive it is.

In summary: 

A proofread is a search for errors. A text is reviewed for formal errors and spelling, punctuation and grammar are corrected where necessary. The result is a text in which everything is written correctly.

An edit goes a step further and also takes the style and consistency of a text into account. Does it fit the target group and is it consistent in terms of language use, terminology and style? The result is a comprehensively optimised text that meets all of the requirements placed upon it.

What is a professional edit?

The editor intensively reviews your texts for correct spelling and grammar as well as punctuation and consistency. The objective being that the message reaches your target group clearly and without errors.

The first step: proofread

For the underlying proofread, the editor primarily checks the following aspects:

  • Spelling
  • Typography (quotation marks, apostrophes, en dashes and hyphens, etc.)
  • Punctuation
  • Proper word splits

The second step: edit

During the edit, qualified proofreaders then review the text with regard to additional important aspects, including correct grammar. But this also involves terminology (with a glossary), the formal consistency (e.g. capitalisation of headlines, punctuation of bullet lists) and the imagery and expressions used. 

In addition, attention is also paid to the consistent use of terms and factual plausibility. We make stylistic changes with your approval because, generally, we are cautious when making changes to the style and focus more on deviations that are not suitable in the larger context.

Proper gender use: a particular challenge

A current and increasingly important aspect of proofreads in German is the proper use of genders. To this end, we offer an editing service with an emphasis on gender use. We first provide you with consultation on the subject of gender use where we discuss the linguistic options available and how they fit with the specific requirements. 

This ranges from generic masculine terms and the specification of feminine and masculine forms, to the use of gender-neutral expressions such as ‘Mitarbeitende’ (‘employed persons’), through to the graphic adaptation of terms with asterisks, underscore or colons, if and when non-binary genders are to be addressed. 

After the consultation, the ideal approach is determined and realised within the text.

Would you like to know more? Ask us!

Do you have any questions? Would you like to work with us?

I would be delighted to introduce you to Apostroph Germany and its services in person.
Tamara Weßel
Operational Management
Tamara Weßel

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