Technical documentation is rarely complete. Over time, the content evolves, and each release brings a new requirement for updates and new content. Some businesses import products with documentation that has been translated, which can lead to errors and problems for the end user.
Our technical editors can proofread your content and check the technical wording. We can also edit, restructure and rewrite sections to improve the consistency of the language and layout, making the documentation much more useful for the user.
Our Technical Proofread Service
As part of our technical writing services, we offer specialist proofreading for technical documentation such as user manuals, help documents, product descriptions, data sheets and much more. We also offer a proofreading service for instructional video scripts and similar.
Technical documentation has a number of special characteristics which make the proofread process particularly important. Documents can often be lengthy, but require clarity in structure and style so they are easy for the end user to read. They might contain a lot of technical language and specialist terms, so it is important to double check things like spellings, abbreviations and capital letters for proper nouns such as brand names.
Manuals and product sheets are often created by compiling text and data from different sources. When lots of cutting and pasting is involved, it is easy to make and miss mistakes. Many technical documents are also translated from one language into another. For example: our proofreaders edited technical manuals for Pioneer after they were translated from the original Japanese.
Proofreading is therefore all about quality control, ensuring grammatical accuracy, correct punctuation and spellings and consistent style and structure throughout a complex writing process.
We understand how the quality of your final product reflects on our brand. Some services employ junior staff to proofread and edit technical documentation. We don’t. Our senior team of qualified professional writers are also our proofreaders and editors. This is because it takes experience and a critical eye for detail to spot typos and small errors in pages and pages of copy, and to proofread for accuracy, consistency and style all at the same time.
As part of our technical proofreading and editing service, we will:
- Check all copy complies with your style and brand guidelines.
- Identify any errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation.
- Ensure that the entire document is correctly laid out to a consistent structure.
- Advise on readability and clarity, offering suggestions for where sentences or sections could be reworded using fewer words or set out to aid reading and comprehension.
- Cross-reference all technical terms and abbreviations, including checking that capital letters are correctly used for proper nouns.
Copy Editing and Rewriting
Proofreading traditionally only involves flagging up errors and issues in copy for the original author to edit. However, as part of our commitment to providing a flexible, client-friendly service, we will also gladly copy edit your documents, providing you with a clean, accurate final document at the end of the process.
Please note that our ability to copy edit your technical documentation depends on having access to compatible production software. We use MadCap Flare for most technical authoring projects.
If we believe your content could be improved considerably, we may recommend that it is rewritten completely. We believe it is important to be honest and upfront with our clients in situations like these. If we feel a document will reflect badly on your brand in its current state, we would rather tell you than let it be published.
If rewriting is required, it will be charged at our usual technical authoring rates. We will ask you to confirm this before we begin.
Red Robot will not proofread or edit thin content, plagiarised text or unfinished work. We do not copy edit articles that have been spun or stolen, and we will check material using plagiarism scanners before we confirm the order.
What is the difference between proofreading and copy editing?
In print media, proofreading is traditionally the final part of the production process. On a newspaper or magazine, an article would pass from the writer to an editor, who would check it firstly for accuracy and style, and then edit it so it fit in the space available on a page.
Once a page was completed, it would then pass to a proofreader, who would do a final check for accuracy of spellings, punctuation and grammar before going to print. Proofreading and editing are therefore technically two different things. A proofreader would indicate errors and typos by marking them up on a printed sheet, but it would be up to an editor to make the actual changes.
Things have changed in the digital age. Writing, editing and proofreading all tend to take place on a screen nowadays, often in the same content production platform. The distinctions between the three activities have been blurred, as it makes sense to change typos and spelling mistakes in a content editor as you proofread.
The distinction between proofreading and editing now tends to be when significant changes are required, whether that involves re-writing paragraphs or sections or altering the structure and layout of a document. For our purposes, we would class these bigger changes as copy editing rather than proofreading.
Hiring Red Robot Media
Proofreading should be the final stage in your documentation process, and should be carried out only when the writing or translation is complete.
When we proofread, we are looking primarily for grammatical and spelling mistakes, rather than documenting new features. However, if we feel bigger changes are necessary or would significantly improve your document, we will let you know. But we will never make changes without express permission.
We charge for our proofreading and copy editing services by the clock at the same rate. In other words, there is no difference in the value of hiring us as proofreaders or copy editors – editing may simply take a bit longer. In either case, whether you hire us to proofread or edit your copy, we guarantee fast turnaround times without compromising on quality.
Proofreading and editing FAQs
I am a non-native English speaker, can you help me check my documentation for accuracy?
Yes. A lot of our technical proofreading and editing work comes about when copy is translated from one language into another, and a client wants help to check the accuracy in English. Whether you have written the document yourself, or want some support checking a document you are responsible for is 100 per cent accurate, we can help you ensure there are no errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation. Equally, if you wish, we can edit the document for you to make stylistic and structural changes we feel will make your copy read more naturally.
Do you offer proofreading and editing services on anything other than technical documentation?
Yes. Whatever type of text you have, we are more than happy to proofread and edit it for you. Although it is most common for us to be asked to edit technical documents, we have plenty of experience editing blogs, ebooks, white papers, reports, press releases and static web page copy too.
What are your credentials for editing my documentation?
Everyone who works for Red Robot Media is an experienced professional writer, with specialisms ranging from technical writing to journalism to blogging. We know what good writing looks like, because that is our job. And when you write professionally, part of the work is to check and edit your own writing, or copy produced by a colleague. We pride ourselves on the quality of what we write, we hate sending out sub-standard copy, so we proofread and edit our own work vigorously on a daily basis. All in all, we all have plenty of professional experience as proofreaders and editors.
In addition, Claire has been hired to work exclusively as an editor on several big-name websites, while we also have a former magazine proofreader and newswire sub-editor in our team.