You know when you're watching a police procedural on TV and the detective promises that he will find and return the missing uncle? Or when a surgeon promises he won't let the brother die on the operating table? And you're sitting at home inwardly screaming at the TV because now we know that neither the uncle nor the brother will make it to the end of the episode.
Well, although proofreading rarely carries with it the same level of threat and peril, the same potential for human error exists.
Can a document be proofread with 100% accuracy? Yes. Can a proofreader guarantee 100% accuracy every time? No.
In fact, I worry about some of the promises made online. I regularly see adverts 'guaranteeing' 100% accuracy which – in many a proofreader's mind – is misleading.
Have you ever read a book – a published book – where you have managed to spot the odd typo? We all have! And just think how many readers that book passed through to get to the point of publication with errors still present. Sometimes, that is a conscious choice on the part of the publisher. If a book has passed through all phases to the point of typesetting and printing and then someone notices that an erroneous comma has slipped through, the cost of rectifying that error will be too great. But sometimes it is simply human error and oversight.
The goal of any piece of writing is to be accessible to a reader, to convey with clarity and ease the message, emotion or story within it. Proofreading is essential to ensure that this goal is achieved.
Reading a book with a couple of typos throughout the entire manuscript should not ruin the reader's experience. On rare occasions, however, I have read a published book with so many errors that my focus was drawn to finding the next error, rather than losing myself in the story. The impact of the writing was completely lost.
Does this mean you should accept sloppy work from a proofreader? Of course not. When you find a proofreader you can trust, you know you can have confidence in their work. Check out their website, their social media posts, their correspondence with you. Are you pleased with the quality, accuracy and presentation of their own writing?
Although no proofreader can guarantee 100% accuracy all of the time, at Inky Frog Editorial we pride ourselves on our excellent attention to detail, our focus on the minutiae, delivering a professional service and ensuring you are happy with your manuscript. Check out our proofreading page for more information or contact us for a quote.