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Four Eyes Are Better than Two

Why do authors, writers and translators require the help of a proofreader to review their work?

Producing literary works is an arduous and extensive task, and a work can change over time as it is being written. During this process, the author may often neglect some guidelines relating to the formal aspect of the language, and not always due to a lack of awareness or professional negligence.

A literary text is altered and modified throughout its creation; tweaks, new storylines and arguments are added and scenes are switched around. This can sometimes cause anacoluthon, situations isolated from their original contexts, a sort of widowed idea. One of the characters may be a gardener at first and then become a chauffeur months later because it better suits the storyline. The author may change around events and situations as well as timelines. Something that happened before, may now happen after. And during the process, traces of what had previously been written are left behind, resulting in paradoxical or erroneous situations. Even if the author reads the text over and over again, they will overlook many of these errors due to one simple reason: they do not need to read the text to understand it, since they are the creator and are familiar with it and know what happened, what is happening and what will happen. The proofreader, however, is not involved in the composition of the text, and can therefore detect problems that may be perceived by readers.

The task of the literary proofreader is, strictly speaking, not to make corrections, since most cases do not involve errors, but rather to offer possible improvements. The proofreader is a collaborator, a partner of the author/writer and their recommendations should be taken for what they are: suggestions for improving the style of a text.