Last night I missed a typo. Yes, me, the Typo Terminator. Can you believe it? It was a last-minute project, I’d already concentrated for a full day, and I only had time to do one read-through.
But you know what? I’m only human, and so are you. The best we can do is try to trick our brains into thinking we’re reading that email/press release/essay/blog post/tweet anew. Or to actually read that email/press release/essay/blog post/tweet anew, time permitting.
Of course time is a proofreader’s biggest enemy. If you don’t have enough of it, you’ll miss mistakes, period. Of course there are a few tricks, such as the following from ProfessionalEditing.net:
- Never proofread when you are tired. Leaving the document overnight is best. Or wait at least a few hours. If you have little time, wait ten minutes and then maybe go into a different room to proofread. These tips might help you bring a fresher set of eyes to the proofreading experience.
- Know how many readings it takes you to find all of the errors. One reading is never enough. I suggest two or three readings. If you can get another person to proofread, that is ideal. If you find very few errors, then you have probably read too fast. Assume that there are typos, as virtually every document will have some.
- Never proofread on the computer screen. Always print your document and read the hard copy.
- Have good lighting. Using Arial and size 14 font makes the document bigger and darker. This facilitates smoother reading.
- If your writing project is important and you can afford professional editing, hire an editor to review the document for you.
Yes, you read that right. If something’s important, and you really don’t want to miss any errors, hire a professional. Surprisingly, I happen to know where you can find one.