Just as all software requires testing and checking software for bugs and other run-time errors, technical writing also needs rechecking to ensure that the quality of data written in the technical documentation is not compromised. A professional technical writer employs such practice of ensuring quality checks using specialized approaches. In this chapter, you will learn about those techniques.
What Is Proofreading in Technical Writing?
Proofreading can be defined as the process of correcting and approving errors in writing, such as grammatical stuff, spelling checks, and proper implementation of punctuation, technical arrangements as well as other verbal communication mistakes. Proofreading can be of the following types:
- Technical proofreading
- Scientific proofreading
- Medical proofreading
- Research paper proofreading
- Thesis proofreading
All the above types of proofreaders should be not only knowledgeable about the language but also be aware of the subject (technically sound) they are writing. Also, it is required for technical writers to know as well as comprehend the precise specialized terminology. Proofreading also involves the understanding of when a 'common' word has a substitute specialized word/meaning that can fit more accurately in any particular statement within the technical documentation.
Professionally Written Documentation Is Valued
Technical documentation is the face of a company's project, or you can say the image of your firm shows to the world. So, your document should look professional as the firm's stake depends to a large extent on it. Thus, the quality of manuals is just as significant as including an excellent support team. It should be noted that when your documentation expresses more and has a clear way of representing technical aspects, a lot of problems are defended without the fanatical involvement of support. So to make any technical documents or user manuals correct or accurate, proofreading plays an important role.
Who Does the Proofreading?
The pick of a person for doing the proofreading thing differs for every team/technical writing department. Ideally, it is, of course, the role of a responsible person to allocate this task. Quite habitually, professional writers are involved in proofreading their technical documentation or articles without any prior help from others. Though it is a difficult task in proofreading one's own work, this approach saves the money as well as resources of the firm.
Some Important Aspects of Proofreading
There are some most excellent practices that you should practice out for having the best outcome in proofreading:
- Take close notice that the manuscript is consistent and articulate as per the reader's choice. Proofreading does not merely involve grammar correction thing; logical correction and structured statement as per technical meaning is also what proofreader must check.
- Also, make use of a readability scoring service. Technical writers need to be aware of the concept of the readability score. The readability score is a particular degree in which many parameters are judged, which can evaluate the manuscript written by technical writers and allot a score to that.
- Try using the third-party spell checker tool. It is necessary because some spellings also differ from country to country.
- Produce a well-defined checklist. Proofreaders should pay attention to various aspects of quality checks within the technical document such as incorrect union and arrangement of words, implementation of proposals that do not fit, improper tense usage, mixing of numbers (e.g., 642 instead of 624), wrong Link cross-references, misuse of apostrophes, incorrect addition of images/screenshots, etc.
- Another tough call is when you need to go through each word and not sentences. While writing, our brain may skip some mistakes which get checked through this proofreading.
- A common practice that most proofreaders do is to put the technical documentation aside for a minimum of 15 minutes before starting the proofreading.