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What is Copyediting?

typewriter

What is Copyediting?

 

If you already have some material you are reasonably happy with, copyediting is a crucial last step.

‘Copy’ means the text.

Copyediting refers to the process of checking the text for mistakes, inconsistencies, language flow, and repetition.

For example, do you use US English or UK English? Either is okay depending on your audience, as long as it’s consistent.

Authorize or authorise? Ageing or aging?  E-mail or email? When it comes to consistency, work with your existing style sheet, or develop one as you go.

Copyediting will weed out any errors you (or your staff) might not be aware of because you are too ‘close’ to the material, or have been through many revisions. There is a real phenomenon of ‘typo blindness’ when you have read the same thing over and over again.

Importantly copyediting also checks language flow and understandability.

Explain jargon in clear ways, even if it is difficult or complex information. Break it down so a child would understand. That could include using analogies and metaphors that not only help readers understand concepts, but it also builds trust between you and your reader.

Copyediting can also help identify factually incorrect statements and indicate where referencing might be required.

Copyediting can also include footnotes and link checking (if online).

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Danielle Spinks-Earl

BA Comm. M Mktg. Freelance writer, designer, marketing communications manager.