If we were to list some of the attributes of someone ideally suited to the proofreading task it might look something like this:
- High process compliance focus.
- Strong attention to detail.
- High self-discipline.
- A completer finisher.
- Ability to concentrate on a task for long periods.
- Happy working alone for long periods.
- Low natural tendency to subconsciously correct errors in text.
- Ability to resist management pressure to rush work.
Without these attributes, it is highly unlikely that an individual is going to be able to do a good job of proofreading if they are called upon to do so for a significant proportion of their time. Some would argue that, even if they only perform proofreading for small periods of their time, unless they have most of these attributes, they will still do a poor proofreading job.
Firstly, we would recommend selecting individuals who meet a profile suitable for proofreading if they are to be asked to perform proofreading duties for a significant part of their jobs.
Secondly, we would recommend that organisations look closely at the roles which are required to perform proofreading in the artwork process and consider if the typical skill set of individuals in these roles lends itself to effective proofreading. If not, then consideration should be given to changing the process to put critical proofreading activity in the hands of those with the appropriate skills.
This is the tenth of a series of 15 blogs giving a view of the causes of proof reading errors. Please help me improve the thinking by adding your comments and share this with others who may have a view. To obtain an e-copy of our Top 15 Causes of Proof Reading Errors booklet, go to www.be4ward.com.