How to become a proofreader

How to become a proofreader in the UK

Do you have a great attention to detail and want to work from home? Proofreading is highly flexible work that you can basically do from anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection.

So you want to become a proofreader?

You are in the right place!

Why listen to what I have to say? Well, my name is Michael a former freelance proofreader and I now own and run a proofreading business managing and hiring UK proofreaders. Read more about me here.

It is a big topic to cover which we cover in great detail in our become a proofreader online course. However, in this article we give you some basic pointers that will set you in the right direction.

Simply click on the links below in the table of contents to navigate the article  and you will be taken to the appropriate section.

In this article we look at the very basics of how to get started.

There are two steps you need to take:

  1. identify where you are in terms of experience and qualifications.
  2. decide on what type of proofreading niche you want to focus on.

Identify where you are now

How you can become a proofreader depends on which of the following situations you find yourself.

  1. You have a proofreading qualification and no experience
  2. You have no proofreading qualification but you do have experience
  3. You have no proofreading qualification and no experience, but you believe you have the aptitude to become a proofreader

You have a proofreading qualification and no experience

So you have the qualification but how do you get the experience? Depending on what kind of proofreading you would like to do (see “xxxx” below) you may not necessarily need to have experience. Publishers and academic proofreading companies will need you to complete their proofreading tests.

You have no proofreading qualification but you do have experience

The good news is that depending on what type of documents you want to proofread you DON’T always need to have a proofreading qualification.

You have no proofreading qualification and no experience, but you believe you have the aptitude to become a proofreader

This is the least optimal situation to be in. Often we find that people in this category really CAN proofread but lack the conviction and self-belief they need to get started. Most feel proofreading is something that they could be good at but just don’t know how to go about becoming a proofreader.

As mentioned above for academic proofreading companies often just having a university degree at a master’s level or higher is enough of a qualification. As long as you can pass their test you stand a good chance of becoming an academic proofreader.

If academic proofreading is not your thing or it is and you feel you would like to solidify and formalise your skills then follow the steps below.

Here are the steps you need to take.

Step 1. We would advise you to first brush up on your grammar and punctuation as these are at the core of all that you will be doing.  See here >>

Proofreading courses DO NOT teach grammar, rather they teach you HOW to proofread. So you need to already have a good grasp of grammar.

A “good grasp” of grammar would imply you know things like:

what a phrasal adjective is?

the rules of capitalisation?

the basic differences between American and UK spelling?

Step 2. Next you should take the free proofreading tests from xx and yy.

Step 3. Once you have done those and passed with flying colours then you should do the free proofreading taster courses offered by xx and yy.

Step 4. So you have brushed up on your grammar, completed and passed the free proofreading tests and done the free proofreading taster courses? Next is to do a proper, paid-for course!

In our article we outline which the best proofreading courses to take are.

Sign up for our free become a proofreader taster course!

Step 2 – Decide what kind of proofreading you want to do by understanding the proofreading market

Once you have a qualification and are confident in your grammar, you then need to get experience with the type of documents you want to specialise in.

The proofreading market in the UK broadly consists of:

  • Academic proofreading
  • Proofreading for publishers
  • Proofreading for businesses/corporate bodies
  • Proofreading for novelists (self-published or not)

Academic proofreading

– This includes proofreading and most times editing, the work of foreign, non-native English-speaking students.

  • Essays
  • Theses
  • Dissertations
  • Reports

Proofreading for publishers

– The majority of publishers require a proofreading qualification, unless you have prior experience with another publisher. This is perhaps the hardest niche of the market to break in to. Referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations are what help you to get your foot in the door most times.

Register for our course on becoming a proofreader - launching soon!

Proofreading for businesses/corporate bodies

– Many businesses avail of proofreading services to proofread their documents. These include:

  • blog posts
  • white papers
  • annual reports
  • brochures

Networking events are a good way of finding business clients. They can be good clients to have as the have a steady flow of documents throughout the year, so it will give you an element of recurring revenue.

Proofreading for novelists (self-published or not)

Enjoy working on books and novels? Then this may be the type of proofreading for you. Proofreading novels and books can be very rewarding but you need to carefully manage expectations

These are the very basics of becoming a proofreader.

To learn all the steps you need to take we offer a complete online, self-study course on how to become a proofreader in the UK.