Wednesday, 31 January 2018

PTC's Introduction to Editorial Skills: Copy-Editing and Proofreading

Susie Bertinshaw shares her recent experience of the course

I was lucky enough to attend the Introduction to Editorial Skills: Copy-Editing and Proofreading course with the Publishing Training Centre shortly before Christmas. The work had started several weeks earlier when we were sent two pre-course assignments, an online quiz and an informative course booklet to prepare beforehand.

Upon arriving at the venue, I was unsure as to whether I was in the right place. It was a theatre and film-themed hotel in central London, and they quite literally rolled out the red carpet for us!

I found the course to be very well-structured and informative. We were in a small group, which meant that each of us had plenty of opportunity to discuss our roles and apply our skills over the course of the two days. The independent and partner exercises supplemented by the group feedback system were really helpful, and I received personal support and advice with everything from grammatical mistakes to interpreting a brief. The exercises were challenging and varied - from proofreading a non-fiction piece on literary roses, to copy-editing a holiday website, to assembling an accurate contents page - I felt supported by the tutor despite stepping out of my comfort zone and area of experience. The additional follow-up exercises to be completed and submitted for marking after the end of the course were an excellent bonus and gave me a great opportunity to apply my newfound skills and knowledge.

I had originally approached the course expecting it to be focusing on grammar, structure and correcting errors, and the experience helped me to completely redefine what it meant to be a copy-editor and proofreader, particularly in the context of the modern publishing workflow. Learning to copy-edit and proofread using different software (including PDFs, Microsoft Word and official handwritten proofreading marks) has really expanded my capabilities both at work and for the future. Having completed the course, I now feel more confident in my copy-editing and proofreading abilities and have a much greater understanding of the publishing process that takes a raw manuscript to a polished publication.

Susie was a delegate on Introduction to Editorial Skills that ran in December 2017


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