Editing, Copy-editing and Proofreading

With word and grammar checks on our computers, and online publishing tools, it is as easy as pie to get your great ideas into the public arena. If you are writing in a second language, your thoughts may not be as well-expressed as they would be in your native language. That’s where the copy-editor comes to the rescue. NETSHEILA partner Niala Maharaj’s copy-editing skills help people and organisations write as well as they think. We asked her to guide our clients as they manouevre their way through the terminology in publishing.

NM: An organization recently referred to the work I do as ‘proofreading’. I wasn’t happy about this, but they simply didn’t know the difference between editing and proofreading. Here’s a bit of guidance for people who might have to handle publishing projects.

1. Editors: Editors determine the content of a publication. They may commission writers to produce manuscripts, or only request changes to the finished text. They may ask for deletions, additions, revisions, restructuring, rewording, etc.

2. Copy-editors or sub-editors:These are the folks who go through the final manuscript and make corrections to wording, phrasing, structure, spelling, punctuation, expression and language use. They may write headings and photo captions and work with the designers to make the text fit optimally on the page. Spell-check does some of these tasks nowadays, but a good copy-editor can improve the finished product immensely, making the meaning clearer, more elegant, more factually correct and more readable.

3. Proof-readers: They take the ‘proofs’ (images of pages), after the manuscript has been laid out by the designers, and compare them to the original text to find flaws that may have crept in – typos, extra spaces, spelling mistakes, etc. This is very intense work, but computers are making this task obsolete. We no longer have typesetters keying in content and we have spell-check.

The best publication methodology for organisations

The beautiful publication ‘Count Me In’, produced by the Disability and Development Coalition, got rave reviews in that community and went into a second printing and translation immediately after publication.

Though it dealt with a very complicated subject, it was attractive, clear, emotive, highly readable and extremely usable. That was because of the methodology adopted.

The coalition hired me right at the start as Coordinating Editor. I guided the writers, did the copy-editing, contracted designers, selected illustrations and managed the production end of things. At the last stage, I found a proof-reader to assist [via NETSHEILA].



Niala Maharaj is a versatile publishing professional. She is available to NETSHEILA clients as a writer, editor and as a copy-editor. She has a masters in creative writing, is a published author, and has a long and international career as journalist and editor. She also gladly turns her hand to copy-editing and has learned from the copy-writers she has worked with how to make sure that the way non-native speaking authors write reflects the quality of their thinking, and not necessarily their ease in communicating in English.

If you have any questions or comments, get in touch and we will connect you with Niala Maharaj.

Call us on +31 6-15048468 or write to info @ netsheila.com




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