Frequently asked questions

about WordWright

I've got a document I'd like checking – how much will it cost?

How long will it take to edit my document?

I'm not sure whether my document needs proofreading or editing.

Can you do a ‘light touch' proofread on my publication? I need to keep costs down.

Money is tight. Is it really necessary to use a proofreader or editor?

Won't an editor dumb down what I want to say?

My document is in PDF format. Can you proofread it?

How will I know what changes you have made to my publication?

Do you proofread or edit on paper?

I've got a spellchecker on my computer, so why would I need a proofreader?

No one has ever complained about my reports, so what difference will editing make?

I know my subject matter — I don't need help with writing about it.

I get a design studio to prepare all my reports, and they check the text for me.

We have a Style Book for our corporate literature, and everyone uses that.

My question isn't here.

 

I've got a document I'd like checking – how much will it cost?

You can get a quick estimate of the cost using our quote generator on this website. Just click on the ‘Quote' tab from our homepage, and follow the instructions. Please note that all prices are exclusive of VAT, so remember to add 20% for VAT.

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How long will it take to edit my document?

It depends on the length and complexity of your document, but most documents of up to 20,000 words can be completed within two working days, and those between 20,000 and 60,000 words can be completed within three days. Call us for advice on 0121 420 3245 or email wordwright@sfep.net.

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I'm not sure whether my document needs proofreading or editing.

If your document is near-final and you are ready to publish, you probably just need proofreading, which will correct any spelling or grammatical mistakes, check references and make sure you publish an error-free document. If the document is at an earlier stage, it will probably benefit from editing, which addresses matters such as style, ambiguity, legal implications etc. Editing is also used to mark up a text ready for typesetting, although this is not often necessary these days because documents are prepared using word-processing software. For further advice, call us on 0121 420 3245 or email wordwright@sfep.net.

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Can you do a ‘light touch' proofread on my publication? I need to keep costs down.

In proofreading, there are no quick fixes; to pick up all the errors we have to read the whole document thoroughly from start to finish and also check consistency across the document in terms of page numbers, references, headers, footers, bibliographies and so on. So the short answer is, we don't do ‘light touch' proofreading because we regard proofreading as something that has to be thorough to be worthwhile.

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Money is tight. Is it really necessary to use a proofreader or editor?

Mistakes cost money and cause embarrassment, so we think that the small sum of money spent on making sure your publication does not contain errors is well spent. What will it cost your reputation if there are mistakes in your documents? Here are some recent examples where mistakes that would have been picked up in proofreading ended up costing the organisation a great deal more than a proofreading service would have done:

•  £230,000 – paid out by the Department of Trade and Industry to reprint a    guide that contained serious errors

•  £6,000 – paid out by the Department for Education to reprint 48,000 literacy    posters that spelled the word ‘vocabulary' incorrectly.

•  £2,850 – paid out by a city council to reprint brochures that had a map with    the wrong caption and streets missing on it

•  £10,000 a week – paid out by Royal Mail to deal with an 87 per cent error    rate in returned ‘Redirection of mail' forms because its customers simply did    not understand the form. A redesigned form using plain English reduced the    error rate to 19 per cent, saving £500,000 over the following nine months.

Don't risk embarrassment and reprinting costs – use WordWright's professional proofreaders and editors instead.

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Won't an editor dumb down what I want to say?

The best editors are invisible. They do not pretend to be experts in your subject matter, but they are experts at spotting where an inconsistency or ambiguity arises in your writing. Our professional editors are tactful and sensitive, and they will work with you, not to change what you have said, but to enhance the way you say it, making sure your audience receives a publication that is accurate and well-composed, while remaining authentic to its author. Good editors develop an uncanny instinct for something that may be factually incorrect, from complex statistics to the spelling of a name, and will always double-check anything in the text that does not ring true.

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My document is in PDF format. Can you proofread it?

Yes, we can, and what's more, we can mark up the corrections on-screen, so there will be no need to send us a printed copy, saving you time and money. We are one of only a handful of editing and proofreading services able to offer on-screen mark-up for PDFs.

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How will I know what changes you have made to my publication?

Most of the documents we work on are in Word format. We use ‘Track changes' to show you exactly what changes have been made. You can decide whether to accept or reject each change individually, so you are always in control of the amendments made to your publication. Similarly, if we mark up a PDF, you will be able to see the changes we have suggested.

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Do you proofread or edit on paper?

We can proofread and edit both on paper and electronically. We also offer a typing service, so if you have a printed or handwritten document that you would like in an electronic format, we can edit it at the same time as typing it out so that you have a corrected electronic copy.

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I've got a spellchecker on my computer, so why would I need a proofreader?

Spellcheckers are great for picking up typing errors and unfamiliar names, but they don't do what a good proofreader does. Unlike an automated spellchecker, a proofreader knows when to write ‘whose' and when to write ‘who's'. And he or she will notice when someone writes about ‘scared cows' instead of ‘sacred cows' or ‘polices' instead of ‘policies'– all genuine errors that have appeared in print. These, and many other legitimate words that are just in the wrong place, would not be picked up by a spellchecker. A proofreader also checks grammar, makes sure that names are spelled consistently and checks the sequence of numbered diagrams or alphabetically ordered lists.

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No one has ever complained about my reports, so what difference will editing make?

First impressions are everything, and mistakes and ambiguities don't give your customers a good impression of your business. They may not complain, but badly organised documents, broken website links and spelling mistakes do not inspire confidence. For many of the services we offer, your customers will notice a difference. Well-structured sentences, plain English, a helpful index, accurate website links and the correct telephone numbers are all appreciated by busy people who have to read a lot of material during their working day.

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I know my subject matter — I don't need help with writing about it.

You are great at your subject, but are you really getting your message across to your audience? A skilled editor knows how to shape language and structure text so that it is coherent, consistent and clear. Our professional editors are trained to do this quickly and efficiently. That means you can get on with what you're good at, while we take care of dotting the ‘i's' and crossing the ‘t's'.

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I get a design studio to prepare all my reports, and they check the text for me.

You wouldn't expect the electrician to check your water pipes, so why ask a designer to check your writing? Designers do a great job of making your text look good. We're there with them to make sure it reads well too.

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We have a Style Book for our corporate literature, and everyone uses that.

We encourage all our clients to have a short handbook telling staff how to prepare printed and website material. However, in our experience, not everyone has time to read and use it. We can create a style handbook for your organisation and apply it consistently to all your corporate documents. In many cases, we add items to the style handbook so that it becomes more useful and comprehensive over time.

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My question isn't here.

Call us on 0121 420 3245 or email wordwright@sfep.net and we will be happy to answer any further queries you have.

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