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Job profile: Proof reader/Copy-editor

Proofreaders/copy-editors are like quality controllers. They make sure that published works are consistent and are of a high standard. They ensure that texts for publication are grammatically correct and well-written. These texts include articles for newspapers, journals and magazines, instruction manuals, brochures and manuscripts.

Depending on the project, proofreaders/copy-editors may be required to correct errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation as well as check facts, check that text is in the publisher or publication’s style (“house style?), and undertake significant rewriting or restructuring of the text.

Other activities involve:
  • ensuring that the meaning of the text is clear
  • checking that references are cited correctly and pictures have the correct captions
  • checking for possible legal issues, such as libel, racism or copyright infringements
  • resolving queries with the author
  • consulting the author if extensive revision to the text is needed
  • passing the edited copy to the typesetter for page formatting

To be a proof reader/copy-editor you need:

  • an aptitude for the English Language
  • concentration, accuracy and great attention to detail
  • the ability to work under pressure and to meet deadlines
  • to methodical and well organised
  • tact and diplomacy when working with authors
  • good IT skills
  • knowledge of production and printing process
  • self-motivation

Hours and Environment
When working in-house, proofreaders/copy-editors typically work regular hours but may need to work longer hours during busier periods and to meet tight deadlines.

Most proofreaders/copy-editors are university graduates, so it could be an advantage for you if you have a degree, perhaps in Journalism, Communication or English.

Rates vary and are dependent on an individual’s experience, type of employer and organisation’s budget. Rates may be paid per page or per hour based on the organisation and may range from J$700 to J$5000 per hour.

The University of the West Indies offers a degree in Media and Communication as well as a degree in English. The Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC),, at the University of the West Indies also runs short courses throughout the year covering areas such as grammar and copy-editing.

Local and regional newspapers, magazines, advertising agencies and publishers.

Source: Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC), University of the West Indies
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