It might seem shameful for someone promoting a proofreading course to admit to such oversights but – drum roll, please – I’m only human. And, unless there is some kind of intergalactic proofreading organisation I’ve yet to be introduced to, all proofreaders are ‘only human’.
I've yet to meet a proofreader who didn't fail to notice the odd spelling or grammatical error, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some extremely dedicated proofreaders from the glory days of hot metal. This is why many publishing departments try to ensure more the one proofreader checks each piece of work, and even then – even then – mistakes go unspotted. I’m currently reading a novel by Dennis Lehane in which, quite early on, there is a spelling error. When you see it staring up at you from the printed page, it seems incredible that anyone could have missed such a thing, let alone the surely
expert proofreaders at Random House. But miss it they did.
Proofreaders make mistakes. Proofreaders are human. Show me a proofreader who has yet to fall flat on his or her face and I’ll say, “It’s only a matter of time.”
The fact that I have gone to the trouble of dedicating an entire chapter of The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course to the subject of ‘what to do when it all goes horribly wrong’, should give you an idea of where I stand on the fallibility of proofreaders!
I’ll admit I’m not the greatest proofreader. When compared to the time-served proofreaders I’ve worked with over the years, my eye stands revealed as somewhat inadequate. However, my experience of proofreading is, even though I say it myself, pretty darn good. And my understanding of what makes a good proofreader and what makes for good proofreading is even better.
Mistakes, I've made a few, but I have never given bad advice when it comes to the subject of proofreading.