There are many who believe Copyediting and proofreading are one and the same job, and whilst there are similarities, there are also major differences between the two roles. In the first of a two-part article, we will consider the part a copyeditor performs in the publishing procedure. This is by no means a comprehensive study but should give a great indication of what is involved. The activities mentioned are in no specific order and for the purpose of illustration the topic is based on hard copy publication rather than online content. A copyeditor’s job is far more Challenging and complicated than many people realize, and even though they will correct spelling, grammar and punctuation errors as a matter of course, their experience goes far deeper.
Obviously, a significant portion of a copyeditor’s work will involve studying how the main body of this content reads. This sounds easy enough, but he or she will be taking into consideration the subject matter and the target readership to ascertain whether the writing is targeted at the proper level. To ensure that the copy flows easily and does not bog the reader down, a copyeditor will seem to choose using subheadings to break up large blocks of text and make the content easier to read. Abbreviations, acronyms and technical terms might need defining or describing and the copyeditor will also do this.
Consistency is a vital component In any written copy, typical examples being alternative spellings or the differences between UK and US English spellings both of which often creep into a bit of text unnoticed. To get a copyeditor however, the dilemma of consistency is a lot more involved and goes on to add things like tables, illustration captions, chapter headings, hyphenation and even page numbers to name but a few. All have to maintain their logical and proper order to make the book read and stream properly.
A copyright my book will assess that names of places and people are spelt correctly and sometimes, checks are also made to see any details quoted in the copy are right. Even though the final responsibility is with the publisher regarding legal issues, a copyeditor will normally flag some examples found in the text. Items like breach of copyright or possible libel are amongst the most likely things to be attracted to the publisher’s interest.