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Course in proofreading - waste of money?
Thread poster: Paul Carmichael

Paul Carmichael  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:21
Spanish to English
Oct 4, 2012

I think I may have just wasted GBP400.

I ordered a course in proofreading. I have just found out that it uses some ancient symbol system, employing these little sticks called "pens".

Is this really of any use in this century?


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Fiona Kirton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not a waste of money Oct 4, 2012

I did the same course myself some time ago and in my view it was money well spent. First of all, the use of "ancient" symbols and proofreading on paper is still widespread within the publishing industry. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the course gives a very good grounding in proofreading skills that are just as relevant when doing revision on screen as they are when doing it on paper.

Good luck with the course!


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Paul Carmichael  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:21
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Canceled (sp?) Oct 4, 2012

Fiona Kirton wrote:

I did the same course myself some time ago and in my view it was money well spent. First of all, the use of "ancient" symbols and proofreading on paper is still widespread within the publishing industry. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the course gives a very good grounding in proofreading skills that are just as relevant when doing revision on screen as they are when doing it on paper.

Good luck with the course!


I asked them if the course was relevant for a 21st century translator, and they immediately refunded my money.

I'm going to look for one more appropriate.


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Georgia Morgan  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:21
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
waste of money Oct 4, 2012

I did a "traditional" proofreading 4 day course a few years back and wish I hadn't bothered. I think you've made the right decision.

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F Scott Ophof  Identity Verified
Belize
Local time: 09:21
Dutch to English
+ ...
Something missing? Oct 4, 2012

Did solely asking
Paul Carmichael wrote:
if the course was relevant for a 21st century translator

lead without mentioning anything else lead to this?
and they immediately refunded my money.

Or did you also mention your opinion in that communication? Including asking for a refund?


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The Misha
Local time: 10:21
Russian to English
+ ...
Snake oil takes many shapes and forms Oct 4, 2012

This is most certainly a waste of your time and money. You don't need any "proofreading courses". What you do need is superb knowledge of both your languages and some serious attention to detail. That's it. This isn't rocket science, folks.

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Paul Carmichael  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:21
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
It was agreed Oct 4, 2012

F Scott Ophof wrote:

Did solely asking
Paul Carmichael wrote:
if the course was relevant for a 21st century translator

lead without mentioning anything else lead to this?
and they immediately refunded my money.

Or did you also mention your opinion in that communication? Including asking for a refund?


I said "Is this course right for me, or should I cancel it and look for something else?", and it was agreed that this was not the right choice for me and that I would receive a refund.

All sorted within a few minutes of the conversation starting. The question arose when I asked them to justify the GBP35 postage, and the reply was that the course was paper-based, leading me to have a minor heart-attack.


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Paul Carmichael  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:21
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Magic certificates Oct 4, 2012

The Misha wrote:

This is most certainly a waste of your time and money. You don't need any "proofreading courses". What you do need is superb knowledge of both your languages and some serious attention to detail. That's it. This isn't rocket science, folks.


I know, but am always in search of more "training" aka "certificates to impress the punters"


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:21
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Proofreading and proofreading Oct 4, 2012

Paul Carmichael wrote:
I ordered a course in proofreading. I have just found out that it uses some ancient symbol system, employing these little sticks called "pens".


Firstly, are you sure this isn't a course in galley proofing? Because that is [nearly] always done on paper.

Secondly, regardless of what you might think, a lot of proofreading is still done on paper. This can be for many reasons in various circumstances.

For example, people whose work is regularly proofread learn not to make the same mistakes better if they are forced to fix their own mistakes (instead of simply hitting "Accept all changes"), so proofreading hardcopy can be very useful if you're a proofreader or translator in a company and you want to reduce your work load by reducing repeated errors.

Several academic paper editors that I know tell me that the bulk of their work is done on hardcopy. It is important, therefore, that whoever gets the job of fixing the errors (e.g. the student or professor himself, or his secretary, or someone else) must understand the proofreader's scribbles correctly and instantly.

Say, what kinds of things were you expecting to learn from the course?

Samuel


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:21
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Training is rarely a complete waste Oct 4, 2012

The Misha wrote:
This is most certainly a waste of your time and money. You don't need any "proofreading courses". What you do need is superb knowledge of both your languages and some serious attention to detail. That's it. This isn't rocket science, folks.

I agree that language knowledge and attention to detail are paramount, but I certainly don't agree that proofreaders can't benefit from something more in the way of formal training.

I don't do much bilingual proofreading, but I've been doing English copy-editing and proofreading for many years now - close to 15 years, in fact - and I'm still in the market for a course. It's not what's wrong that needs to be studied: if you can't see them, you're unlikely to learn how to spot them from a course book. But you can learn how to mark your changes in a standardised fashion that others will recognise immediately, and, very importantly, what NOT to change. How many translators get totally frustrated by proofreaders who retranslate their work rather than proofreading it? Even a monolingual course should discuss the difference between errors (to be corrected) and style changes (which may or may not be a requirement of the job), and thereby enable you to better defend your choices. That's important when a client is asked to pay more than he thinks is reasonable or the writer/translator complains.

Without training, my proofreading skills have definitely improved over the years, and I can now keep style changes for jobs where that's part of the spec. But I'm just getting into some "serious" monolingual proofreading, conforming to style guides etc. and I'd appreciate the extra ammo. that a training course would give me.


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Paul Carmichael  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:21
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
The course Oct 4, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

Paul Carmichael wrote:
I ordered a course in proofreading. I have just found out that it uses some ancient symbol system, employing these little sticks called "pens".


Firstly, are you sure this isn't a course in galley proofing? Because that is [nearly] always done on paper.


I've removed the http bit in case urls get stripped out automatically, as is sometimes the case on these forums.

www.train4publishing.co.uk/courses/distance-learning/basic-proofreading



Say, what kinds of things were you expecting to learn from the course?

Samuel


The blurb from the web site made it sound interesting, and of course it is a qualification.


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Carolyn Yohn  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:21
French to English
+ ...
A good course is not a waste of money or time Oct 4, 2012

This particular course looks questionable, but a good (preferably in-person) class will be invaluable in your translation tasks. I'd been translating for several years already, but my first job out of school lead me to take a proofreading class to assist them in the office. It did wonders for showing me the *how* in paying attention to details. Tricks to save your eyesight, maximize efficiency as well as accuracy, analyze the potential problems of a specific text...

I strongly recommend finding a course through a local college or community center. (In the Washington, DC area, EE/I Communications is good.) This is a skill that is helpful to discuss with a live instructor. Good luck! Don't give up on this idea yet.


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Paul Carmichael  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:21
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Noted. Oct 4, 2012

Carolyn Yohn wrote:

This particular course looks questionable



I strongly recommend finding a course through a local college or community center. (In the Washington, DC area, EE/I Communications is good.)


Heh. We barely have electricity and running water here, but I take your point.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:21
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Wow, looks impressive Oct 4, 2012

Carolyn Yohn wrote:
This particular course looks questionable...


I'm not a proofreader or copy editor, but I was not unimpressed by the blurb -- see page 1 of the brochure. I also like the fact that there is a follow-up course (this one is basic, the follow-up is more advanced). The length of time indicated on the brochure looks okay as well -- 35 hours of intensive study (so, 1 hour per day for 2 months), and 6 months in real time.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:21
English to German
+ ...
I agree with Samuel. Oct 4, 2012

This course is indeed impressive. I simply depends on your idea what a real proofreader really does. To anyone who believes that proofreading is limited to "checking a translation", this course is a waste.

There is an increasing demand for professional proofreaders. The two main reasons are:

- More and more DTP is done by amateurs and dilettantes. Everyone thinks that the mere purchase of InDesign, QuarkXPress or Illustrator magically comes with typographical training or graphic design skills. Proofreaders - in this case proofers - therefor have to deal with typographical screw-ups beyond belief.

- More and more agencies offer "typesetting", usually and unfortunately done by "typesetters" who have never heard the words "widow", "orphan" or "ligature". And who don't even speak the language of the text they are working with. There is no art director involved and those layout-atrocities are then delivered to the end client.


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