I can’t even begin to tell you how many emails I get asking for my recommendations on reference books, iPads, focus and concentration techniques, whether or not I use a stylus … the list is endless!
So I thought I’d put together a post with ALL of my recommended tools for proofreaders rolled into one.
Books/References for Transcript Proofreading
These are the three supplemental references we recommend for students enrolled in Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice™ course. We teach the course based on these manuals, and while the references are not required to succeed, they are great supplements and can be incredibly helpful.
Morson’s English Guide for Court Reporters, Second Edition — our entire proofreading program is based on this guidebook. It’s pricy because it’s been out of print since the mid ’90s, but it’s still highly regarded as the “bible” for court reporting punctuation.
One Word, Two Words, Hyphenated? — A VERY good reference and learning tool to help you overcome the common confusion related to hyphenation.
The Gregg Reference Manual — arguably the second most commonly used reference in the court reporting world, The Gregg Reference Manual offers a less expensive and more recent alternative to Morson’s Guide.
Hungry for more? Try these.
Legal Terminology for Transcription and Court Reporting — a textbook guide to the terminology you’ll find within transcripts. There are quite a few online references for these terms as well, but if you’re one of those people who likes a hard copy, this is a worthy investment.
The Court Reporter’s Reference of Commonly Used Words and Phrases — For all
intensive intents and purposes, this is a SUPER handy book for helping identify the misuse of these words and phrases, too!
Books/References for General Proofreading + Freelancing
The Freelancer’s Bible — one of the most common questions we get is whether or not we can help our students establish and manage their businesses as freelancers. The answer is YES, and one of the tools we recommend our students have in their arsenals is this book. At $10 and change, it’s a steal to have all the information you need to run your freelance business at your fingertips.
How to Start a Successful Proofreading Business — At just $3.99, this little book will give you some insight on what it takes to run a successful proofreading business in the general proofreading sphere (beware, it tells you NOTHING about transcript proofreading and is not a cheatsheet to bypass actual training).
McGraw Hill’s Proofreading Handbook (for general proofreading): This comprehensive guide provides you with all the tools of the trade, giving you valuable sample style sheets, proofreading checklists, a list of commonly misspelled words, and a chart of proofreading symbols — everything you need to dot your I’s and cross your T’s.
The Pocket Book of Proofreading — a handy mini-guide to the business side of things in the general proofreading world.
Find the Errors! Proofreading Activities and Find the Errors II — these books are technically designed for students, but we find the activities really useful to help train and sharpen your eyes. If you’re not quite the right fit for proofreading as a profession, but would like to sharpen your eye for error (we think that’s a GREAT idea — proofreading is such an important skill for anyone in any industry!), we recommend these exercises to help you do so.
Phunny Stuph: Proofreading Exercises With a Sense of Humor — an activity book that helps you identify errors by proofreading jokes! Great for all ages.
Equipment We Recommend to Help You Get the Job Done
Apple iPad mini 2, 16 GB — the iPad model I most recommend (although I have a 32GB model, 16GB is enough). For those who want the larger model, I recommend iPad Air 2. If you don’t know, go to Best Buy and hold both in your hands to try them.
Otterbox Defender Series Case + Screen Protector Combo for iPad Mini 2 — the very same case and screen protector system I have on my own iPad. Makes it water resistant, shatter-proof (if you drop it, it won’t break!), and is made of a nice grippy material.
Case, Handle, and Stand all in one — this combo is not only a great deal, it makes it easy to hold your iPad mini in your hand or stand it up while you sit at a desk.
Anker UltraSlim Aluminum Wireless Case + Keyboard — a really good-looking option for someone who prefers to use a keyboard with their iPad mini.
10-Pack of Styluses — No more greasy iPad screens! At $7.99 for 10, you can totally afford to have a stylus or two in every room or on every surface of your house!
Equipment to Help You Focus
Noise-Canceling Headphones — it’s a lot easier to “proofread anywhere” when the noises and sounds of your life aren’t always interrupting!
Brown Noise .mp3 — I use this $0.99 brown noise .mp3 when I’m in a noisy hotel room or when my husband has the TV on.
Liquid Mind audio CDs/.mp3 — for those who like soothing, no-vocals music in the background to help them focus. I also like Pandora, but every 20 minutes or so, a commercial comes on and ruins my focus 🙂
UPDATE: I am happy to announce that we have had the pleasure of interviewing THE Margie Wakeman Wells, grammar and punctuation expert for the court reporting industry! Her reference manuals have quickly made it to the top of our most recommended resources, and we invite you to head on over to see what she has to say!
[Affiliate disclaimer: I do receive a teeny-tiny commission if you choose to purchase one of the products listed on this post (emphasis on the tiny!!). You can rest assured I only recommend what I know works and what works for students in the PA community.]
What’s your favorite tool or resource for proofreaders? Share below (links are welcome)! Let’s get a LONG list going!