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writer, editor, proofreader, freelance, Japan

Copy editor and Proofreader in Japan

Copy editing involves the process of correcting spelling and punctuation, and grammatical and semantic errors. It also ensures that house styles are adhered to, as well as consistency in headers, footers, headlines, bullet-points, etc.

The copy editor must also ensure that the text is accurate, flows well and makes sense. In a lot of cases, a copyeditor may also be expected to abridge text – reducing the length either to fit the publication of a magazine or newspaper or to improve the piece. Sometimes it might be necessary for the copy editor to re-write parts of the text.

After a manuscript, letter, or any form of writing has been copy edited, it needs to be “proofread”. The distinction between copy editing and proofreading nowadays has become blurred with the advent of computers, and the decline of handwritten originals.

Proofing requires correcting typographical errors (typos) – fonts, font size, line length, line spacing, and letter spacing. A proofreader checks the copy and marks errors using ISO-5776 (the international standard) or BS-5261:2 (the British standard) of proof correction marks, or a system that resembles these. The proof is returned for correction, and usually will need to be proofread a number of times, particularly if the editing process is revised.

In Japan, there is little distinction between freelance copy editors and proofreaders – both jobs are considered to be carried out simultaneously. A client sends the manuscript to an “editor and proofreader”, who edits the material, then performs a final proofread before sending (often emailing or faxing) the finished manuscript back to the client.

Clients should ascertain the professionalism of the freelancer by checking his or her experience and qualifications. Many copy editors often have a university or college degree in journalism, Media Studies, English or Communications. Journalists often learn to copyedit through their line of work.

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