Human beings make mistakes but those mistakes should be corrected. Writing an article sounds easy but actually it is far from the fact. It needs a person with a creative mind and good vocabulary skills to do the job. Some content may pass plagiarism and may be grammatically correct but the quality of the content may not be so good. Therefore an editor is needed for proofreading, editing, etc. to make the content more readable and attractive. The article tries to bring out the difference between Copy Editing, Content Editing, Line Editing & Proofreading which should draw the reader’s interest. Content generally should be meaningful and the sentences should be eye-catching.
What is Copy Editing?
A copy editor is person who points out all the flaws and drawback in the content including whether content is free from any legal issues or not. He or She makes sure that the quality of the content is high according to the industry standards and requirements. A copy editor corrects the spelling, grammar, puts punctuation marks where it is required, checks verb agreement etc. The Copy Editor looks at the whole structure of the content whether all the requirements are being adhered to or not. Copy Editing also includes the following:
- Checking the facts (names, dates, times, places, past events, etc.).
- Checking the math (percents, totals, tax rates, etc.).
- Ensuring that the writing is free from slander and conforms to the ethical standards of the publication and the profession.
- Smoothing/streamlining prose to make it flow cleanly from one point to the next.
- Trimming unnecessary words to make the prose clearer.
- Cutting to fit in a designated print space while preserving the most important points.
- Eliminating jargon and paraphrasing complex quotes to make the writing more understandable.
- Ensuring the grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct.
- Ensuring the prose conforms to style (AP, Chicago, APA, etc.).
- Ensuring all charts, maps and graphics are correct.
- Proofreading print and online pages.
- Last, but extremely important: Writing clear, accurate, engaging display type – headlines (print/web/mobile), sub-headlines and overlines, summaries, photo captions, teasers, refers – anything that stands apart from the actual text. This is so important because display type is the only part some people read.
What is Content Editing?
Content editing is very different from copy editing even though for many people it’s the same thing. A content editor looks for fictional or fake facts in the body of the article which is irrelevant to the topic. Reasonable amount of research is required to point out the errors such as inconsistencies, fictional errors and contradictions. Content editing mainly focuses on the body of the article as to whether it contains all the necessary details and facts.
The content editor is primarily concerned with the content, structure and readability of your copy. He/she will also work on your wording, phrasing, spelling, punctuation and grammar.
The content editor will check that your copy:
- Conveys your content and ideas to best effect;
- Makes a convincing case or argument;
- Speaks effectively to the target audience;
- Reads well with no ambiguity or capacity for misunderstandings;
- Has enough substance and justification to make its points stick;
- Makes its points clearly, concisely and in the best order;
- Uses correct spellings, punctuation and grammar; and
- Does not make exaggerated or unsubstantiated claims.
What is Line editing?
Sentences which are too catchy and pleasurable to read are preferred by readers. If the sentences are just like a question and answer session and doesn’t develop any interaction with the audience then the quality of the content is average. The sentences should have humor and they should be informative. The line editor looks out for sentences which are not so informative, formation of the sentence is dull, etc. They change such sentences and make them more interactive and pleasurable to read.
Line editing focuses on the most important part of your book – the language, the words that convey your story. Errors in mechanics or awkward sentence structure can take away the zing from the reading experience. A line editor goes through your manuscript, checking for grammar, punctuation, spelling, consistency and word usage, and assists with final rewrites.
Line editing includes:
- Grammatical errors
- Verb Agreement/Tense Issues
- Stylistic Inconsistencies
- Misspelled Words
What is Proofreading?
Proofreading is considered to be done just before publicizing the content. Proofreading is done when the manuscript is finally ready to be published. A proofreader is given a final copy and then he examines and evaluates the content. When the proofreader approves that the content is reliable and quality of the content is high only then the content gets published. Proofreaders are mostly professionals who have a degree in English literature or any degree equivalent to that.
The proofreader’s checklist includes:
- Spelling, grammar and punctuation;
- Styling — consistent headings, fonts, colours etc;
- Typesetting — leading, kerning, line breaks, letter/word spacing etc;
- Photographs and graphics — correctly placed and captioned;
- Ensuring there are no repeated words, headings or paragraphs;
- Ensuring there are no corrupted characters (sometimes caused when moving copy from one software program to another);
- Contents and page numbers correspond; and
- Checking for unfortunate or inappropriate juxtaposition of text and images on the same page.
We have learned what Copy editing, Content editing, Line editing and Proofreading is all about. All four of these editors have different tasks and work to do. They are different from each other and have diverse functions. Few of the tasks can be done by a single person but the proofreader has only one task to do i.e. just proofreading the content and sending for approval.
When the content has been written by a writer, there is no guarantee that it would be 100% qualitative therefore it needs some final touches. A copy editor for some people may be similar to content editing but they are different. Copy editor finds out the mistakes in the structure of the content and a Content editor analyses the content whether it is reliable or not. A line editor will try to improve the sentences and make it more desirable. A professional proofreader will give a final confirmation that content is 100% authentic and can be approved for publication. Therefore all functions are complementary and supplementary to each other.