10 Sep How to secure a job in proofreading in the UK
A Day in the Life of a Proofreader: the ‘proof’ is more than just in the reading
What is it like working as a proofreader for VoiceNotes? Below, we revisit a first-hand account from one of the members of our team charged with the responsibility for the critical stage of our transcription process, ensuring the renowned accuracy and quality of our delivery – proofreading.
To mark the completion of my first year of proofreading at VoiceNotes, I’d like to share some of my thoughts and experiences of what it’s like to work for the company, what a job in proofreading in the UK is like, and how my job has influenced my life over the past year.
Rewind 12 months, and I was just another graduate, searching yet another job site in the hope of finding ‘the one’. My lucky break came with VoiceNotes.
Since working for VoiceNotes, I have learnt that proofreading is far from a one-note skill. Through working for a transcription company, I have been introduced to the concept of ‘audio proofing’. The attention to detail needed in proofing audio transcripts throws an additional layer of complexity into the mix and goes way above and beyond proofing a standard piece of text. At VoiceNotes, we pride ourselves on the highest possible level of accuracy. This is our clients’ expectation and why they choose to work with us, and it derives from our being a company that employs qualified and experienced human beings with insight and intuition, and not ‘hit-and-miss’ AI programs, to process transcriptions.
It is the proofreader’s job to question everything about the text in front of them as they listen to the audio at the same time.
We are on the lookout for misheard or missing words, phrases or names (if the audio isn’t totally clear, this can be a factor, and while it is the job of our transcriptionists to get the words down as speedily and efficiently as possible, it is our job to finesse the text!). We also perfect the punctuation and grammatical/logical structure of the text and, via intensive web-based research, we check all details, including names of individuals, companies and products, so the client can be confident that their transcription is immediately ready for them to file or forward on to their own clients and colleagues. Some clients require verbatim transcripts; others seek our expertise in copy-editing their ‘on-the-go’ dictations, (when grammatical perfection is – understandably – perhaps not at the front of their minds while recalling and reciting the meeting details!).
Becoming accomplished at my job has taken dedication and focus.
Through my work here, I am constantly still learning, and becoming well-versed in what it takes to be a good editor, which has had a significant influence on my free-time projects outside of VoiceNotes. Whilst studying for my degree, I co-wrote a novel and it has given me great confidence to ‘go solo’ in the future, as being a published author is a life goal of mine.
My job has made editing this manuscript not only easier, but more enjoyable. The fear was that it would become very clinical after the ‘freeness’ and creativity that came with the writing itself, and this has not been the case. Not only that, I feel positive that I have done a much better, more informed, job of editing as a direct result of my experience here at VoiceNotes.
Being a proofreader at VoiceNotes is a job I am very proud and happy to have.
Getting to grips with the multiple new skills to learn certainly challenged me on all levels, but I can say with confidence that I feel valued as a member of the team, both as an employee and an individual.
Author: Sarah W.
The multiple essential skills to be a successful proofreader include:
A keen eye to spot and correct:
Typos, spelling errors
And exceptional language proficiency to ensure:
Perfect grammar and punctuation
…and to be a successful proofreader AND copy-editor:
In addition to the above, a copy-editor will address and improve:
Style and format
Clarity & cohesion
Rephrasing where necessary
How audio proofreading differs from ‘traditional’ proofreading
Amending a pre-written text is the ‘traditional’ form of proofreading, with the writer’s ‘voice’ solely present on the page/screen. However, in recent years, audio proofreading has gained significant momentum, perfecting audio typists’ output for those industries requiring absolute accuracy.
Audio proofreading involves listening to an audio file while concurrently reading the first-draft transcript. This could be from an audio typist, the client themselves, or generated via speech-to-text. Along with ‘standard’ proofreading amendments to punctuation and spelling, the audio proofreader amends mishears, fills gaps and checks name spellings. This normally wouldn’t be within the remit of a typist, whose focus is necessarily purely on speedy output. The resulting finessed, perfect transcription can immediately be forwarded by the client to their clients or peers, filed or published.
For the legal, financial and medical industries in particular, accuracy is paramount.
Here we feel we do need to – briefly – mention speech to text/AI programs and apps. The technology has, undisputedly, seen improvement in recent years. However, rarely, if ever, is the resulting automated text anywhere near a sufficiently high standard to present to clients. At least, certainly not without the input of a skilled audio proofreader to correct the mistakes, and – often bizarrely amusing! – ‘mishears’ that are, quite simply, unavoidable without the benefit of human intuitive language capability. A program simply cannot reliably interpret dialects, complex speech structure and the intricacies of the human voice.
If you’ve had jobs in proofreading in the UK, please let us know what your experience has been like!
We are more than happy to publish and share experiences from different companies or from being freelance.
Do you have a proofreading job for us?
If so, for a no-obligation discussion of your proofreading job/requirements, contact VoiceNotes Ltd today. You can reach us on 020 7117 0066 or via email. Or alternatively, request a quote using the form below.
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