So what does a proof-reader / copy-editor / transcriber / copy-writer actually do?

09 Feb

Today I thought I’d share a list of the projects I’ve worked on in the last month or so, to give an idea of what I actually do. Remember that I still work part-time in a library, if this doesn’t seem much; on the other hand, remember that I am always available to chat about booking in your work, and have a flexible schedule, if it seems like a lot!

So, since the beginning of 2011, I have…

Copy-edited a report on someone’s website for a US company.
Proof-read/copy-edited PDF and Word documents for 1 monthly and 1 quarterly issue of a Club magazine, various advertising materials for the Club, and half of their website, for the American PR agency which handles their publications (including a re-write on a particularly troublesome article).
Copy-edited 5 blog posts for one blog.
Copy-edited a PhD thesis on linguistics.
Copy-edited 2 essays for an ongoing client.
Copy-edited a PhD thesis on sports science.
Copy-edited part of a PhD thesis on Nigeria.
Proof-read/copy-edited a short newsletter for a physiotherapist I work for on an ongoing basis, including some re-writing.
Proof-read/copy-edited a tender for a company which writes tenders for other companies (another repeat customer).
Copy-edited a short non-fiction book on Bosnia.
Done some background research for 2 websites for which I’ll be writing the content for the web designer to place in the web pages he’s creating.
Set up working agreements with a printing company (to write content for them) and a virtual secretary (to provide copy-editing services) so that we can get going with projects once they come through.

And coming up, I have these booked in…

Another PhD thesis, psychology this time.
Going over yet another PhD thesis (on the EU) which I’ve already worked on once; the author has passed his viva but had to cut word-count so wants it checked over one last time.
Copy-editing a client’s submission for Chartership to their profession.
A novel.
Monthly newsletters for my physiotherapist client.
Monthly and quarterly newsletters plus the rest of the website for my Club client in the US.
Hopefully some more transcriptions of interviews for my journalist client – while I haven’t done any transcribing for her for a while, I did get to read the results of a few of my transcriptions in the magazine she writes for that I happen to read anyway!

And I think I have a topic for my next blog post… what is the difference between copy-editing and proof-reading?


Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Jobs, Organisation, What Do I Do?, Writing


Tags: , , , , ,

6 responses to “So what does a proof-reader / copy-editor / transcriber / copy-writer actually do?

  1. FionaC

    February 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Hi – the great thing about sub-editing and proofreading is that you get to learn all this new STUFF.

    I’ve mainly worked on magazines and newspapers but edited everything from romantic fiction and tabloid tales (a woman with 75 hamsters, haunted hospital wards, etc), to Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, to subbing Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess’s copy.

    Never a dull moment. Best career ever!


    • libroediting

      February 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm

      Yes, indeed – good on quiz teams! I already knew a lot of random facts, and I’m adding to those in-depth information on a variety of topics. I find it useful when I get another piece on a similar topic and know what the jargon and mistakes are likely to be. I’m also learning a lot about the Englishes of various nationalities of ESOL speakers, which is also fascinating.


  2. FionaC

    February 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    What is interesting to me is that I did a module at uni on writing pedagogies – essentially, how to mark uni essays and give feedback. Spelling/grammar errors were considered a low-level issue, which may be of comfort to ESOL students, who can often speak English really well but struggle to write it.

    Do you have to do a lot of changes on that kind of work?


    • Gill Rose

      February 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm

      “Spelling/grammar errors were considered a low-level issue”

      In my field as a uni lecturer (health professions) such careless errors in medical notes could be life-threatening so we pick on as many as we can in their assignments, to frighten them! We don’t take too many marks off, though, unless it’s really horrendous.


  3. Katharine O'Moore-Klopf

    February 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Nice day-in-the-life post, Liz. I think that it would be enlightening for a lot of the U.S. journalists who’ve been laid off from newspapers and wonder how they can still earn a living using their editing skills.



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