What is copyediting?

What is copyediting?

Copyediting involves taking ‘raw’ text and making it ready for publication by improving the consistency, style, formatting, and ensuring the accuracy of the content. A copyeditor not only checks the technical accuracy of the text, but also ensures that the text if fit for its purpose, easy to understand, and has no inconsistencies.

Most copyediting services provide mechanical copyediting, which is different from substantive editing. Mechanical copyediting ensures that the ‘raw’ text follows the conventions of grammar, structure, and punctuation that are preferred in publication. Substantive editing involves rewriting and restructuring of content to ensure internal consistency in the text.

How is copyediting different from line editing and proofreading?

Proofreading is the last step in the process of creating a publication-ready document. Proofreading involves checking for spelling, font type and size, and typographical errors. In line editing, a document is checked for readability and flow of language, but it does not include checking for errors in syntax. In contrast to proofreading and line editing, copyediting checks for technical accuracy, completeness of the content, and consistency of syntax. Copyeditors are required to have technical knowledge as well as excellent language skills.

The tips discussed below will enable anyone with decent English-language skills to polish their work and become an expert copyeditor.

  1. Ensure the accuracy of all acronyms, abbreviations, and subject-specific nomenclature. Accuracy of the text is the responsibility of a copyeditor. If you lack technical knowledge in a certain field, spend enough time to crosscheck all technical terms, abbreviations, and acronyms. Attention to detail is one skill that all editors should practice.

  2. Ensure the accuracy of all references

    Any information that is included from previously published literature must be cited appropriately. Ensure that each reference is listed accurately. Multiple online resources such as Google Scholar are available to check the accuracy of your references.

  3. Remember the ‘bigger picture’

    The consistency and flow of the overall content are very important to its impact. If there is anything missing in the content or if the flow is not logical, make revisions and flag such issues with the author of the original content.

  4. Consistency

    Consistency must be ensured in all aspects. Spellings, capitalization, hyphenation, use of italics, boldface font, and quotation marks. This is not easy for lengthy documents, which makes it essential to proofread any content that has been copy-edited.

  5. Check for unwanted content

    It is important to check for plagiarized text, racially insensitive terms or phrases, obscene content, and content that can potentially violate a copyright. Such errors can result be extremely embarrassing and should be avoided at all costs.

  6. Pay close attention to figures, illustrations, graphs, and tables

    As a copyeditor, one must pay attention to the text as well as figures, illustrations, charts, and tables. The overall presentation of the content, including its accuracy depends on these aspects. It is important to spend time and ensure that any data in the text is consistent with that reported in a table or a graph. Captions and any other text that is part of a figure should be grammatically correct and consistent in font type and size with that used in other figures and illustrations.

    The best way for you to reduce hassles as an author is to employ professional copyediting services. Nonetheless, before employing a professional copyediting service, one must always take into account the skillset of the editors working on your content. For details about our copyediting service, please click here.

    Depending on the scope of the paper and the publication goals, prices for copyediting vary but are usually determined by total word count. To get a quote for the copyediting services you need to click here.