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Publishing copy-editor/proofreader

A publishing copy-editor/proofreader ensures that texts contain no factual, stylistic or grammatical errors before they go to press or are published online.

Job description

Copy-editors and proofreaders work on various publications, online content, manuals and journals in the final editorial stages. Their role is to check texts before they are published to ensure they read well, follow house style and there are no errors. A copy-editor focuses mainly on stylistic aspects, fact checks and consistency and makes suggestions for any re-working or re-writing; a proofreader looks for any grammatical, spelling or typographical mistakes.

Many copy-editors/proofreaders work as freelancers for publishing houses, companies and other organisations.

Work activities

  • Checking copy for grammatical, spelling and typographical errors.
  • Marking copy with standard proofreading marks to notify writers and editors of necessary changes.
  • Adding/deleting words, phrases or sentences to improve the reading of a text.
  • Checking facts and statistics to ensure a text is accurate and correct.
  • Making stylistic suggestions.
  • Re-wording/re-working sentences or whole sections of text.
  • Working with paper and online manuscripts.
  • Liaising with publishing editors, writers and other clients.

Work conditions

Travel: work is based at home or in an office environment.
Working hours: are flexible for freelancers; in-house copy-editors and proofreaders may work longer hours around busy periods.
Location: opportunities are based across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Entry requirements

The job is open to graduates of all disciplines, but a degree in English, publishing or languages may be advantageous. An excellent command and understanding of the required language is essential. Specialist publishers, such as those in legal or science sectors, often require graduates with relevant degrees.