Samira is an avid traveller and writer, currently in Rabat, Morocco. After completing the course, she started working for Proofed, which is her first professional proofreading job.
‘I’ve been self-employed for about two years now, and it’s ruined me for “regular” jobs. There’s no way I could go back to working in a restaurant or teaching in a classroom. I love the freedom, responsibility, and sense of accomplishment that self-employment gives me.
The transition to Proofed was as smooth as I could’ve hoped for. I like that they ease their new proofreaders into the work through word count increments. It made everything so much less overwhelming than it might have been otherwise. The HR/administrative staff is also very helpful, easy-going, and on top of things. The thing I enjoy most about proofreading is helping people polish their work and feel more confident with what they have written.
I think the course was beyond excellent value. The modules were concise and easy to follow, the exercises were very helpful, and the practice documents and model answers were invaluable.
Aside from proofreading, I write travel articles for various websites and teach ESL online. I also have my own travel blog that I work on when I have time in between everything else.
Although there are ebbs and flows as to how many documents come through, the money I make from Proofed is generally enough to cover my bills and allow me to travel out of the country at least once a month!
I’ll just leave this here: Proofreading Academy is worth it ten times over! If you’re looking to improve your professional proofreading skills, I highly recommend the course.’
Liz is an actor, working under the name Liz Jadav, and lives in London, England. You can get an idea of what she’s been up to here. Liz used to teach between acting jobs, but was looking for an alternative and had always liked the idea of proofreading. She started the Proofreading Academy course at the end of a theatre contract; she’d been performing in two plays written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn.
Liz has yet to see how proofreading will fit alongside a theatre contract, but this year she’s been doing bits of TV, and has set up a home studio for voice acting. If she’s not proofreading, she might be learning lines or delivering them. If she’s not working, she’s often just taking time to be with people, or having a walk. Liz tries to be disciplined about having one day a week when she doesn’t work at all.
‘I’d done bits and pieces of proofreading before, in a ‘making it up as you go along’ sort of way. Although I frequently corrected or edited content for friends, family and church, including business and academic documents, no one had ever paid me to do it. When I was taking the Proofreading Academy course I was surprised at how much I didn’t know, and felt quite defensive towards some of the rules I was introduced to.’
Liz was keen to get stuck in once she completed the course and made the transition from Proofreading Academy to Proofed after a few weeks.
‘It quickly became clear where my blind spots were, and I was able to work on those; it was great to get specific feedback where I made mistakes and encouraging to receive good feedback when those mistakes were few. Now, three months, ninety documents and well over a hundred thousand words in, I feel confident and in control of my freelancing. The support from the Get Proofed team has been friendly and comprehensive. Get Proofed pays me promptly, which is a great help when I’m waiting for what I’m owed for other work. I’ve been self-employed since 2000 and I love it. This is one of the two most flexible opportunities I’ve had (the other being courier work for my husband’s start-up, Street Stream; I’ve been taken aback at how similar the two set-ups are). There’s no such thing as a typical week for me, but I try to complete at least one short job a day, six days a week, even if I’m busy with other things. In my busiest week so far I worked ten hours or more each day.
I often enjoy non-academic documents, especially when I’m providing an editing service in addition to proofreading. I’ve worked on three collections of poetry in the last few weeks, and although I’ve had to be careful about how far to take my changes, it’s been a real privilege to read such personal pieces, and to put my skills to use in refining them. In complete contrast, I tackled a mammoth PhD thesis (sadly not a thesis on mammoths) during the last peak period and found the magnitude of that task strangely satisfying.’
Sue lives in Lincolnshire, in the UK, and decided to become a proofreader after being a homemaker for 16 years. She now works for Proofed four days a week and enjoys the freedom the job brings. She generally works from home and in her spare time likes to read and spend time with her family.
‘I think what I enjoy most about proofreading, aside from the challenge, is learning about a variety of different subjects that I would otherwise most probably never encounter. It can be very interesting!
The transition to working for Proofed has been seamless. Once I had passed the course, it was an organised “journey” through being advised of the next steps, completing and uploading the necessary documentation in order to register as a freelancer, having an online induction, and finally being let loose on the “unsuspecting public”! The transition could not have been easier. Thank you, Proofreading Academy and Get Proofed!
I would just say that if anyone has a good grasp of the English language and is fastidious, and if spotting mistakes in the public domain is something that just happens without giving it a second thought, then proofreading may be the path to follow! Proofreading Academy certainly fulfilled my expectations in this regard. I am pleased I took the decision to sign up to the course and progress to becoming a freelance proofreader!’
Marita is a full time proofreader and editor at a software company in Germany and has worked in the Technical Writing department, where operation manuals are written, since 2016. She checks her colleagues’ writing for basic spelling and consistency, and that their writing is in line with the in-house style and basic topic-based writing. She proofreads and edits manuals in PDF format and sometimes directly in the translation software.
A large part of her work is ensuring consistency: that recurring phrases are used consistently throughout the different products, and ensuring the original writing is as clear as possible to aid translation. She also checks the translations for errors or inconsistencies. Sometimes she is surprised about how many formatting, basic punctuation and case sensitivity errors she can find in languages that she doesn’t speak at all!
‘The Proofreading Academy course was great value, and the level of detail and aspects it covers was quite surprising and harder than I expected. The sections that I found most useful were the grammar, punctuation and general writing style sections, because they covered a lot of detail and some aspects like commas and independent clauses.
It takes a few modules and assessments to get a sense for the type of questions that will be asked at the end, and the level of detail, particularities and explicit examples I have to remember. I also find it quite hard to balance the amount of comments and corrections for style. I’m used to a high level of quality in the writing I edit, so when a text is generally “low” quality, I tend to make little corrections in phrasing etc. and just make sure it no longer contains any errors or very clumsy sentences.
The learning style worked for me and the mid module quiz was always useful to check if I had paid attention to the course content.’
Claudio Corbisiero lives in London and is a published author as well as a part-time proofreader and copywriter. He took the Proofreading Academy course while waiting for his first novel to be published, intending to go freelance, to give him more time for his creative writing. Shortly after beginning as a proofreader, he successfully applied for a role as an administrator and now works 10–15 hours a week for Proofed. Although going part-time in his office job meant taking a hit on his earnings, he’s happy to be able to dedicate more time to his writing – he’s currently working on his second novel.
Regarding the course and the transition to professional work, Claudio says:
‘Learning the different referencing styles was challenging. I’d never considered the work that goes into every comma, text format, issue number, and so on. I also found that some of the grammatical errors, such as dangling modifiers and faulty parallelisms, required a bit of thought to identify and correct. Formatting in Word was difficult at first, particularly since it was an area I’d never covered before. However, by the end of the course, which does require a fair amount of patience and dedication, I felt that I had got my money’s worth.
My transition to Proofed has been very smooth. I was very well looked after by the team, who guided me through the system to make sure that I was comfortable downloading and uploading documents. I was given guidance on how and when to leave comments for the customer and the different ways to phrase my suggestions when proofreading the work of ESL and native English speakers. Knowing the word count and the style requirements of each document in advance and being able to work wherever I am, whenever I have the time, is very helpful. There’s also a great system in place for alerting freelancers when there is a build-up of work in the queue, so you can check in and grab the work if you have the time to do it. Having your proofreading assessed to begin with shows that the team really cares about the quality of the work submitted and means that you are always improving. You start with smaller documents at first. You can then take on larger and more technical ones, entirely at your own pace.
The thing I enjoy most about proofreading is that you end up learning a fair amount about diverse subjects. I’ve read essays on Chinese cinema, dentistry, South Korean politics, virology and botany. Because you’re giving each piece such a close reading, and then reading it through at least one more time before submitting it, you absorb all sorts of interesting information you wouldn’t ordinarily come across. Often, you’ll take on a CV or an application letter for an internship or further study, written by someone with incredible credentials or life experiences. Knowing that you’re helping this person to achieve their ambition is very satisfying.’
Paula switched to the Proofreading Academy from a paper-based course as she was finding the feedback very slow and vague. She was attracted to the PA course for the instant feedback, the fact that she could study at her own pace, and, of course, the work guarantee on graduation!
Paula loves days out, reading, dog walking, painting, and piano playing. Before proofreading, she was a teacher for 23 years, and in leadership for 2.5 years. After redundancy, she decided to go self-employed which, although was a bit scary at first, she’s now settled into. She works from her kitchen, next to her garden, kettle, and dogs.
She says: “I love being my own boss, and thrive on searching for work and getting positive feedback, knowing that it’s something I’ve achieved on my own. I was very scared of my tax return and accounts. I decided to take on an accountant to do it for me. Best decision.
I have some regular private clients now and also do some outsourcing work for another proofreading company. I also do regular editing for companies in Greece and France and have done some for a website in Ireland, a novel in the US, and a new company setting up in the Netherlands. I have secured all of this work through LinkedIn. I’ve also just been asked to work as a co-author for an established author of thriller stories, which is a great honour!
Training with the Proofreading Academy actually changed my life. I was suffering badly with depression and stress in my previous job and due to relationship problems. Training to be a proofreader and starting to work freelance enabled me to take steps forward and, although I still struggle at times, my life has improved 100-fold. The admin team at the PA and Proofed have been a massive support throughout. I couldn’t ask for more.”