Starting from English enthusiasts to commoners, editing and proofreading are the two terms that tend to confuse us all often. Well, it is quite justified as they have similar traits but there is a fine line of responsibilities and task differentiation between an editor and a proof-reader.
An editor is an individual who corrects the initial mistakes of a writer. For example, an editor is supposed to identify poorly constructed or insensible sentences. That individual has to understand whether the language used is appropriate for conveying the message it intends to or not.
On the other hand, a proofreader is someone who has to take up the role of grammar police and skim through all the errors in grammar or punctuation. For example, a proof-reader is held responsible for any and every spelling mistake or inconsistency in a sentence. It can either be numerical or textual; a proof-reader has to track it all.
Summarizing the differences between these two terms is a task on its own. However, here are some of the ways you can define editing and proofreading.
1. An editor has to rewrite when required
For an editor, it is difficult to work when the writer has unorganized paragraphs as it disrupts the flow of the paper. The writer then has to oblige by the rewriting policy to satisfy a client's needs. Generally, proofreaders do not have to go through this hassle. They just correct the mistakes and are least bothered about the chronological order.
2. A proofreader has to go beyond systems to check a paper
Proofreaders have to abide by the manual and automatic spell checking since each and every mistake counts. From grammar to punctuation, the proof-reader has to go through and every word individually to figure out possible errors. It is extremely time-consuming and editors are not bound to do the same. They are more concerned about the content.
3. An editor provides clarity to the writing
It is very important for each and every paragraph to phrase to be clear enough to understand. The editor has to make sure that the reader does not struggle while reading the paper or is not confused with the idea it is trying to portray. Luckily, the proof-readers are mainly concerned with spelling and punctuation, not the meaning of the paper.
4. A proofreader ensures zero grammatical error
Editors are not usually bound to do spelling or grammar check. However, a proofreader is supposed to do both. A proof-reader has to make sure that there are no grammatical or punctuation mistakes since it hampers the readers' experience of reading. This is a crucial job responsibility for a proof-reader and it is an inevitable task for them.
5. Incorporation of specialized knowledge by editors
An editor is allegedly responsible for adding extra or missing information to the text in order to make it look complete. This is usually done when the text is not up to the mark or lacks enough information. The editor will use his/her knowledge to fill in the gaps. A proof-reader only cares about the sentence structure, not what it describes.
In Conclusion, proofreading and editing are two different terms of the English Language. Both of the individuals have an important role to play when it comes to making a text perfect and appropriate although they are definitely not identical.