It’s wrong! I should have checked it.

A company spends thousands of pounds on producing a magazine: writers research topics and interview subjects; photographers take breathtaking photographs; illustrators create stunning pictures; and designers produce wonderful page-layouts.

A day before going to print, someone asks if anyone has proofread it. No. We’d better find a proofreader – quick!

Often, there is so much focus on making publications look good that the content itself is forgotten. It’s only when someone realises that errors cannot be corrected when a document has been printed that proofreading becomes important.

Is this unusual? Unfortunately, no.

Is proofreading expensive? Not when you think of the thousands of pounds spent on writing, designing and printing a magazine, newsletter or brochure – the cost is likely to be a hundred or two at the most.

Does proofreading take long? A magazine or newsletter of up to 20 pages can be proofread and checked in one day. Obviously, it’s better to build proofreading into the production schedule, just like any other activity.

What are all the proofreading symbols? These are rarely used, as most commercial proofreading is undertaken using the ‘track changes’ facility in Microsoft Word or the comments facilities in Adobe Acrobat. Files can be sent to a proofreader and returned by email. Modern proofreaders are as hi-tech as any other industry.

Isn’t it an unnecessary cost? How would you feel if, instead of being praised for your marvellous magazine, you only receive comments on all the mistakes?

Proofreading is as necessary today as it has ever been so that your magazines and newsletters not only look good, but read well too.

Robert Zarywacz