Something that I “come up against” in my proofreading business is a request for a very quick turnaround time. I totally get it; deadlines approach, the unexpected is faced, and any number of various circumstances come up that require work being done and delivered quickly. Fair enough!
As a proofreader, however, I have a strict policy on needing a minimum of a full 48-hours, or 2 (of my) business days to turn around any project. If this can’t be allowed then I absolutely put a disclaimer on my work: it will not be the quality that it might be.
I can already hear the voices of past and potential clients: “it’s a really short document, shouldn’t take long.” “We’ve already edited it, just need another look.”
As the hired proofreader of any project it is vital that I have the turnaround time that I allot and here is why:
1.The more you proofread, the more you miss
First and foremost: when it comes to proofreading, one of the reasons you often miss your own mistakes, especially in a document that you’ve worked very hard on, is that you naturally start to subconsciously gloss over as you read, as you know what is written and what comes next. As such, you start to actually miss more of your errors the closer you are to being done. This is one of the reasons you need a proofreader. It is also one of the reasons I need an opportunity to come back to the document at least once on a completely different day, if not on multiple days. Like you, after I’ve given the document an initial read or two, it becomes easier to miss things. Being able to step away and come to the document fresh on a new day allows me to make sure your words are polished to the best of my ability.
2. I want to give your manuscript my best
I often have multiple projects often going at once and want to give them all my best effort. While I’m more than willing to take on last-minute projects, I’m not the type of person to be waiting around for something to come up that will keep me busy. I’m also the type who considers everything I do to be something of value, and as such, give all of my commitments the time and energy they deserve, which is how I will treat any work you give me. Therefore, having ample turn-around time gives me the ability to take on new work and deliver quality results.
3. Proofreading requires the calm
It is my belief that certain types of work is not done to top quality when rushed. Proofreading is an intricate, highly skilled service that requires a clear mind, a quiet room, and yes, time. It’s not the type of thing that I, at least, do well under stress and pressure. Give me a few days, however, and I promise to return a document much more polished than you found it.
*(Please note that the above does not necessarily apply to my court transcript services, which employs an entirely different skill set and which I am sometimes able to deliver much more rapidly.)*