Academic writing, from student essays to published research, is a major source of work for freelance proofreaders. And the Becoming A Proofreader course is a great way to get into academic proofreading. To find out how this works, we spoke to Myra, a Proofreading Academy graduate who is now pursuing her dream of working as an academic proofreader.
Hi, Myra! What made you consider the Proofreading Academy course?
I wanted to learn about academic proofreading, and it seemed to cover what I needed. I also liked that the course offered a chance to do freelance work at the end.
What were you doing before you started the course?
I was teaching college-level academic ESL/EFL.
Was there anything in the course you found surprising or challenging?
I was familiar with APA style, but didn’t realize how many different referencing styles there are.
Have you been self-employed before? How are you finding it?
Yes, I have. I like it because I get to set my own schedule. It can be stressful not having a guaranteed salary, but I’m glad to always have work available with Proofed.
How have you found working as a freelance proofreader?
It has gone well. Starting with short documents was really good for getting familiar with the system at Proofed. Getting positive feedback has really encouraged me.
What is your day-to-day work like? And where do you work?
I’m a morning person, so I get up early. Most days I check the queue as soon as I finish my exercises and breakfast to see if there is something I can take on. If I have errands or tasks related to my college teaching, though, I make sure those are done before I accept anything.
In terms of where I do my proofreading, I have set up one side of my dining table as a workspace. I also have a small side table with a couple shelves for reference books. My dog has a bed by my chair, too. I keep my work contained to that area.
When I finish a document, I get a satisfying feeling of a job well done. I don’t have to worry about leaving something incomplete. And I appreciate the feedback from Proofed.
What do you enjoy most about proofreading?
I like the variety of topics I get to read about, and getting to help people around the world make their work accessible for the international academic community.
In the past, academic research and writing has been overly dominated by white, Western men. Proofreading is one small way to make sure more voices are heard.
Do you have a favourite type of document or subject area to proofread?
I have lived and worked in China, Korea, and parts of Latin America, so I like working with people from those areas. I prefer topics related to education, social issues, and culture.
What has been the single best benefit of having done the course?
It gave me an idea of what to expect as a proofreader, as well as some of the different kinds of documents I’d encounter. I also discovered tools in Word that I had never used.
Was the course good value for money?
Yes, it focused on exactly the tools I needed, and I was able to earn back what I had spent in the first month. I initially took a different course, but it didn’t help me work on the computer at all. The Microsoft Word module here was therefore very appreciated!
Is there anything else you want to share?
Six months ago, I was quite concerned about my future. I talked with a friend about how I’d like to do academic proofreading, then went online to see what I could find out.
After doing the course, it’s exciting to find myself actually working as a proofreader and to have opportunities that I didn’t even know existed before. Although the pandemic pushed me to look into it, I’m excited to have begun a new career that I can take anywhere with me.
Becoming A Proofreader
If, like Myra, you’re interested in a career as a freelance proofreader, Proofreading Academy can help. Sign up for a free trial of the Becoming A Proofreader course today to find out more.