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The Difference between Proofreading and Editing

By Branden Broown

There has always existed a dilemma about the difference between editing and proofreading. To a great many of us, these two terms mean just the same thing but there is a pretty big difference. While the task of proofreading a task may take a short period of time such as one hour, the editing process may take a great deal more time. So what is the difference between these two terms?

Especially if you are looking for editing services, you really have to understand what editing entails as opposed to proofreading. To begin with, it is imperative to have a definition of these two terminologies before we delve into some pithier differences.

Proofreading is the process during which a text is checked for syntactical accurateness, grammaticality, and spellings. This is what a high school teacher might do while assessing a student’s written piece of work. In the world of language and translation, proofreading services are only paid by the hour. However, it may be changed to pay-per-word if the work is so poorly written. More so if more than 50 per cent of the work has to be retyped.

Typically, proofreading should be paid 25 per cent of the amount that would be paid for the translation of the same text. This means that if a piece of work were to be paid 0.12 USD, then, proofreading the same work would be paid 0.3 USD.

On the other hand, editing concentrates on the terminology part of a written piece as opposed to its form. Editing services involve the process of ensuring that words and phrases are used with the necessary verbal economy and terminological exactitude. It involves the meticulous process of researching just to make sure that the right terminologies were used. Even if such terms were known to the editor, he still would research to ensure that no assumptions are made. Whether done online or through advanced dictionaries, the process must be done with painstaking attention to detail.

Further, it is imperative to note that editing services are paid much more than proofreading ones. This is due to the fact that more time has to be spent on editing more than proofreading. Again, a lot of mental exertion is required in order to thoroughly edit a written piece of work. The knowledge that an editor is supposed to have is deeper than that required of a proofreader.

Just like proofreading, editing can be paid by the word or by the hour depending on the present quality of the work to be edited. Although editing no doubt costs as much as proofreading, it may be charged the same as translation depending on the outsourcing agency. In order to ensure that you are not short-changed by any client while selling proofreading or editing services, make sure that you have the original work as it was when it was given to you and separately have the edited or proofread one, ready for handing in to the client on the condition that they have paid every single cent.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Broown, Branden "The Difference between Proofreading and Editing." The Difference between Proofreading and Editing. 10 Apr. 2014. 24 Jul 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Broown, B (2014, April 10). The Difference between Proofreading and Editing. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Broown, Branden "The Difference between Proofreading and Editing"

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