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What a Copy Editor Does and Why You Need One

Copy Editor

What a Copy Editor Does and Why You Need One

A professional copy editor is someone who checks and edits written copy a few stages before the copy is published. This stage is the final stage before the typeset stage, where the copy is changed into the final typography and layout.

Copy Editing in Detail

Specifically, copy editing involves making sure that the spelling, punctuation and grammar of the copy is accurate. If necessary, it also includes making sure that the copy is written according to a required style and consistency. As such, this process is not just about making sure everything is technically accurate, but that the content is of the highest possible quality and does not step over any boundaries. This is important when the copy is written for academic and literature publishers, newspapers, and for business and marketing purposes.

What do we mean by the highest possible quality? Quality means different things to different people, though in general the things that are changed and modified are things that everyone agrees makes the material better. In areas where there is more subjectivity, such as literature, this becomes a much more important issue, which is why literature editing is often very collaborative.

It is less a professional editor’s job to change the content, but more to change how the content is put across to the reader. However the editor will make additions and subtractions in certain cases, such as removing defamatory or libelous material, and creating preliminary pages and bibliographies if required. Depending on the editor’s exact role, they may also re-format the page and change the page design.

Here are some specific tasks:

  • Rephrasing: If a sentence or a paragraph is poorly structured, this could be changed and rephrased to make things clearer and easier to understand.

  • Consistency: If there are conflicting styles found at different points of the writing, this will be adapted to improve consistency and fluency.

  • Fact checking: Specific information such as dates and events are checked for correctness.

  • Spelling conventions: Adapting language according to meet the audience’s conventions.

  • Publishing style: According to the demands of the customer, or the publisher in which the editor works, conventions will need to be met. These include how things are abbreviated, chapters and headings, capitalizations etc.

Why You Need One

It can be very important to enlist these services - especially if the work is for higher education, or if it is intended to be a professional or academic publication. On top of this, it is important if you want to make sure that everything in your work is factually accurate, the style is good and readable, and there is nothing that will land you in trouble. It is also important if English is not your native language or there is a specific language style to stick to. If you take your work seriously and you want to make sure that it is nothing less than perfect, enlisting these services is a very rewarding option.

 
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