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Need a quicker proofreading technique?

Many of our proofreading course students go on to run their own businesses, and some experiment with different proofreading techniques.

There are a range of options which our online proofreading course graduates use, depending on the circumstances.

If you are proofreading for a client who wants work completed quickly, you could use the copy holding proofreading technique to make sure the deadline is met.

Copy holding (or copy reading) is a proofreading technique where you use a second proofreader to help you. One person reads the copy aloud, at a fairly rapid rate and in a level tone. The other person follows along, marking any errors in the text as they go.

This method works well, because the reader will tend to read what they expect to see written, whereas the person following the text will generally notice any differences between what they are hearing and what they are reading. Copy holding can allow large bodies of text to be accurately proofread in a relatively short timeframe. It’s well worth considering if you have a job that needs doing quickly.

How to use the copy holding technique

To help pick up on any errors involving capital letters, punctuation etc, more experienced users of the technique will use codes and verbal short-cuts while reading the text out. The person reading aloud will use signals, such as, banging a finger on the table to indicate the use of a capital letter, a comma or period.

Other signals include saying the word ‘digit’ before a number, to indicate the use of a numeral instead of a number written in word format, and the word ‘bang’ to indicate the use of an exclamation point.

Other signals and tricks can be developed between the two proofreaders as they get used to working together and gain experience in the technique, improving their efficiency and accuracy.

Copy holding, if used correctly, can allow you to churn out large amounts of work, accurately and in a relatively short time, compared to traditional proofreading methods. It takes practice and good team-working skills, so make sure you use someone you work well with.

Copy holding proofreading technique will cost more

Copy holding is a more expensive way to have a document proofread than other techniques, because there are two proofreaders to pay instead of just one. Make sure you charge the client a fair price if they choose this option for the sake so that it remains a viable and worthwhile option for all parties involved.

The client doesn’t want to pay more than necessary for your services, but you and your partner will both want to be paid a reasonable fee for your time. Negotiation may be required if you decide this is the best option for a short deadline.

Proofreaders need experience before using this technique

Proofreading courses all teach that reading copy aloud helps find any errors you miss when reading silently. This technique of using two people just makes it quicker.

If your proofreading course did not cover this alternative system, or if it didn’t go into much detail about it, research the technique fully as it could prove to be a very useful skill to have in your portfolio.

However, remember that this technique will only be useful if both proofreaders understand all the issues surrounding proofreading. Or, at the very least, the proofreader doing the marking on paper should be qualified, and should have made the reader familiar with the issues.

Copy holding may not be covered in proofreading courses so it is worth looking into in more depth and, ideally, practicing before you find yourself in a situation you where you need to use it.

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