Proofreading is Not Really About Getting the Text Right

(This would be a very narrow view.)

  • Let’s take as an example, the Pharmaceutical industry:
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In Pharma, all labelling material (leaflets, labels, cartons…) must be proofread, and usually this is done many, many times.

  • What do Pharmaceutical companies do?

They sell drugs to treat patients.

  • Why do they provide labelling text with their drugs?

- It is mandatory (regulatory requirement), would be a short, but incomplete answer.

- It helps prevent lawsuits (especially U.S. leaflets), is part of the answer.

- To ensure patients get treated correctly, is still not the full reason.

- Pharma companies provide labelling text with their drugs to give patients the highest possible chance of recovery from a disease or symptom.

  • So, remember:

If you are in the Pharma industry, next time you tell someone you are proofreading, this is not to get the text right, you do it to help a patient recover from a disease or cope with a symptom. If you proofread in the book editing industry, this can be to ensure the reader has a pleasant experience, if you proofread in the financial industry, it can be to ensure the readers make the right investment decisions.

Suddenly proofreading has a lot more value.