· Follow the guidelines
If you're proofreading for someone else, chances are they have given you a set of instructions. Always tweak grammar and edit sentences under the guidelines. This will increase the chance for content accuracy and you won't have to keep doing corrections back and forth.
· Attention to detail
There is no alternative to paying attention to every detail in a material that you're proofreading. No matter how engaging and consuming a piece is, you must read slowly and pay attention to each word. If you're lost in the middle of a story and you haven't followed it word by word, then you need to pause, go back and restart.
· Read several times
Anybody who has experience in proofreading knows that patience is key. Your eyes may play tricks with you and make you miss out on a sentence that needs revision and correction. That is why reading the material several times is important, no matter how monotonous the task is.
· Proofreading is more than spell checks!
When it comes to proofreading digital documents, you don't have to worry much as those get autocorrected by MS Word or Google Docs.
Remember that proofreading is not limited to spell checks only. Issues such as syntax errors, misplacement of punctuation, grammar, and possible repetition, all come as a bundle that you need to keep in check with.
· Readout loud
It happens frequently that you may lose track of the context or may not be able to identify the tone of the sentence. That's when you should be reading the document out loud. Whether it's a narrative piece or an informative article, your mind won't play tricks with you if you voice the text out. This trick helps to better your proofreading skills in a massive way.
· Use tools to be efficient and fast
It's okay to use proofreading tools to catalyze the process and make it a foolproof check! There are tons of great tools to rely on. Available both free and for purchase, these online tools detect critical grammatical errors. They also provide suggestions for optional fixes and more importantly, check for plagiarism. We cannot stress enough on how identifying possible plagiarised content and removing or rephrasing them is important. You shouldn't take the chance with any content as plagiarism scans don't take that long.
· Edit in context
Remember that you're not supposed to just strictly follow grammatical rules. As long as the text has the right tone and style, use of appropriate vocabulary and is written in continuation depending on the type of document - it is a great material. If a content piece only has short sentences, it may sound boring or may not make sense at all. In these cases, you'll have to insert contextual sentences according to your client's guidelines.
· Take breaks
Remove any kind of clutter or noise that may impede the work. You should always proofread in an environment where you're comfortable and won't feel disturbed. If the material is overwhelming, either because of the volume or due to numerous mistakes, don't hesitate to take necessary breaks.