Proofreaders should not raise queries for the sake of it


We tell our proofreading course students that it is important to get the right balance with their query lists.

On the one hand, they need to be thorough. But, at the same time, they should not drive their client mad by querying things for the sake of it. Some proofreaders think this makes a good impression. We tell our online proofreading course students that it does not. Clients expect you to make decisions and professional judgments – not to keep batting the ball back into their court.

Make sure you get a clear brief from the client as to their requirements. It should cover things like when to use italics, bold and other aspects. Then follow it to the letter – quite literally!

However, there are occasions when the brief misses something or appears ambiguous.

This presents the proofreader with two options. You either make a decision yourself. Use your common sense: you may be able to work it out from the instructions provided for the rest of the text. Or, you add it to your query list and raise it with the author / client.

The best advice is to query things as a last resort. Use common sense and professional judgement first – that is what you are paid for.

See our proofreading course