What to look for when choosing a legal proofreading service?


Quality check on any document before they are sent for printing is an essential part of the production of the paper. It is also crucial when the materials are used for legal purposes or when the documents are related to research such as for dissertations of Ph.D. students.

For dissertation proofreading, most people tend to hire freelance proofreaders. But while utilizing legal proofreading services, most people can only hazard a guess at the required skill sets for the designation. Some graphic design houses, publications, and law firms hire trained proofreaders as PAs, paralegals and support staff to avoid mistakes and minor as well as crucial errors in the document.

Duties of proofreaders

Dissertation and legal proofreading is a serious affair and allows no room for mistakes. Careful but objective evaluation of the text is the chief responsibility of proofreaders.

  1. Proofreaders are tasked with checking whether the version matches the original or not. Correct and consistent spelling and grammar checks are the basis of proofreading.
  2. Proofreading also eliminates awkward phrasing and introduces right sentence structures and necessary framework for any body of work.
  3. Any text is aimed at a specific target audience. Proofreaders ensure that the specialist audiences receive the message conveyed through the document clearly.
  4. Legal proofreading also includes checking whether the page numbers, headings, and captions are apt.
  5. Dissertation proofreading also comprises monitoring whether the photographs, figures, and illustrations are appropriately captioned and listed in the tables.

Qualities and skill sets of proofreaders

In order to fulfill the above-mentioned responsibilities perfectly, there are many qualities that the proofreaders must possess.

  1. Proofreaders must read more slowly but accurately and be quick with spotting errors. This requires proficiency in written English and knowledge about various documents and their structural requirements.
  2. They should be flexible and be capable of functioning even under pressure such as tight deadlines.
  3. They should be trained in proofreading marks and using Track Changes and other software. Being comfortable while working with IT is essential for the tech-driven world that we live in.
  4. The proofreaders must be thorough and detail oriented.
  5. Self-motivation is a rare quality but quite vital in proofreaders. Concentrating for long spells is not easy and most people make mistakes when they are distracted or demotivated. Proofreaders advance in their careers by earning a solid reputation in the field. That is why being self-motivated is an essential quality of dissertation and legal proofreading.

Even though there is no set of formal qualifications that are required for proofreading, training on the job or funded training before freelancing is a must. However, high grades and ‘A levels’ in English is expected in addition to other subjects according to the type of documents. Training in related skills like copy-editing is also frequent among proofreaders. Proofreading offers many scopes for specializing in particular fields of publishing, and thus, it is an excellent option for those who possess the required qualities.

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