How to Become a Freelance Proofreader

how to become a freelance proofreader

Do you keep correcting between ‘they are’, ‘they’re’ and ‘there’ every time your friends make mistakes? Do you hate people who don’t use comma, period, and exclamation correctly, and mentally check their grammar? If yes, it seems like we have a perfect career waiting for you – How to Become a Freelance Proofreader.

Proofreaders play a huge role in content development and marketing, especially after Google algorithms have raised the standards of web content. If you are an English language aficionado and spot grammatical errors and typo almost instantly, this career is for you most definitely. You don’t need extensive educational background and prior experience to get into freelance proofreader jobs. All you need is expert knowledge of English grammar.

Let’s go through the steps required to become a freelance proofreader.

Freelance Proofreading Jobs

Proofreaders identify typo and grammatical errors and ensure the content is worthy of being posted on the webpage or printed on physical material.

People often confuse between proofreading and content editing. The main difference is that copy editors proofread the content, but proofreaders don’t edit content. It is as simple as that.

As a proofreader, you don’t have to change the structure of the content, rewrite it, or revise it as per client requisition. That’s the work of an editor. The copy editor ensures that content passes the context and meets the purpose of writing. He also makes sure that the paragraph, sentence structure, tone, content flow, style, genre, and language are appropriate.

On the other hand, you will make sure that the content is error-free in terms of grammar, syntax, formatting, diction, punctuation, and contextual spelling. You will be taking care of what we often called as ‘blind mistakes,’ such as missing a hyphen, adding an exclamation mark instead of the full stop, writing ‘their’ instead of ‘they are,’ etc.

Mostly, proofreading is reading proof after it has evolved through various stages of editing and revising. Proofreading is for visual appeal.

The need for proofreaders has escalated in the last 10 years, all because of the advancement in digitalization. More and more web pages are being launched every minute. This is providing much online or work from home opportunities for freelance proofreaders.

[Also Read: 7 Times When Freelance Content Writing Sucks]

What Skills Do You Require to Pursue Freelance Proofreading?

  • Basic English Skills

As we disclosed earlier, proofreading requires less of degrees and knowledge but more of writing skills, excellent command over English grammar, an eye for detail, and, most importantly, patience to read pages after pages.

Patience is a virtue in this career, as you have to go through word-by-word, sentence-by-sentence, and paragraph by paragraph to ensure error-free articles. And, you may have to do this for 100 pages every day.

It could be a fulfilling and rewarding job if you like the language and gain credibility by submitting accurate content.

Since there are different writing style guides and English languages available, such as US, UK, Canadian, Indian, etc., you must gain familiarity with at least two of them to score a goal in the career.

For instance, in UK English, it is written as despatch and colors, while in US English, it is written as dispatch and colors.

  • Digital Skills

Since proofreading is an online freelance job, you must also possess specific digital skills. Digital skills are required when you are working on website content.

You must know to operate a computer, Microsoft Word document, use specific digital tools that check plagiarism, and few tricks, like hyperlinking, inserting table, digital signature, etc.

Landing a job as a freelance proofreader will not be a problem if you make connections and keep searching for opportunities.

Freelance Proofreader’s Salary

The salary of proofreaders varies depending upon the industry and content type. For instance, proofreading medical, academic, technical content requires effort and commendable precision. The pay tends to be higher for other content niches.

Additionally, most online proofreaders are paid per project, per page, or per hour wise. It depends on you on how you want to set your rates. You can alter between the three based on the client and the project received.

According to the PayScale 2018 report, on average, entry-level proofreaders make USD 11.93 per hour, and experienced professionals make USD 30 per hour. In the USA, the average freelance proofreader salary range lies between $26.333 and $63.520.

Take Online Proofreading Training to Land the Perfect Job

You can launch your own proofreading business with a simple proofreading certification. The training and certification will add competence to your company and help you attract more clients.

Additionally, if you want to define your credibility and earn more from this career, you can participate in online proofreading tests and boost your expertise level. The test will not take much of your time, but help you understand where you stand at proofreading.

A few online tests that we thought could help you are:

  • Upwork UK English Proofreading Skill Test. It is based on Oxford Writing Style. You must have familiarity with Oxford Guide.
  • Society for Editors and Proofreaders(1) (STEP) Training and Examination
  • Freelancer English Proofreading Test
  • freelance writing Proofreading Exercise
  • ExpertRating Chicago Style Proofreading Test
  • Thomson Reuters Proofreading Challenge

Beginners’ Tips on to How to Become a Freelance Proofreader

If you are new to this career, the following tips will help you pass a proofreading test or exam.

  • Avoid distractions when working on content, including mobile phones.
  • To identify errors quickly, read the text aloud.
  • Proofread once. Then come back to the content later and proofread again.
  • To proofread long sentences, cut them into short sentences for an easy read.
  • Don’t start editing the content – like changing the structure, finding the meaning for a word, etc.
  • Start by correcting typical mistakes that are clear, such as capital and small letters.
  • Use an online dictionary to be sure. Grammarly is a good one.