We’ve all been there… you receive a new editing assignment, tuck your red pen behind your ear, open the document, and jump into your efficient editorial process.
But when does efficiency become less effective?
As an editor, reading the full document before beginning the editing process is crucial in ensuring that you have a clear understanding of the content and the context in which it is written. This will allow you to make informed decisions about the editing process and ensure that the final product is of the highest quality.
When you read the full document, you can understand the context in which the content is written. This includes the audience, purpose, tone, and style of the document. This understanding will help you to determine what changes need to be made to the document to ensure that it is clear, concise, and relevant to the intended audience.
Reading the full document will also help you to identify any inconsistencies in the content. For example, if the author uses different terms or styles in different parts of the document, you can identify and correct them to ensure consistency throughout the document.
Flow and Structure
As you read the full document, you can also assess the flow and structure of the content. This will allow you to identify any areas that need to be reorganized or restructured to improve the readability and understandability of the document.
The Big Picture
Reading the full document will give you a better understanding of the “big picture” of the content. This includes the overall theme and message of the document. By understanding the big picture, you can ensure that your editing decisions align with the author’s intent and enhance the overall impact of the document.
Avoid Missing Information
If you only edit a portion of the document, you may miss important information or context that is necessary to make informed editing decisions. By reading the full document, you will ensure that you have a complete understanding of the content, and avoid missing any crucial information.
Think of it this way, reading the full document before beginning the editing process is essential in ensuring that you have a clear understanding of the content and context and can make informed decisions about the editing process. This will lead to a final product of the highest quality and meets the intended audience’s needs and expectations.
Want more? You might want to check out our 10 Commandments of Copyediting