I can proofread, but I’m not a super human.
It’s not that I read faster than everyone else.
If it’s an easy job (simple answers with few errors), I can (and do!) read up to 100 pages in one hour, and I do it with excellence.
This “speed” did not come without lots and lots of practice, though. Harder, denser jobs, such as hearings, slow me down to about 40-60 pages an hour. Any faster than that, and you’d miss things.
How I’m able to do so much work to earn so “much” money is largely dependent on the method I use to proofread. I only use an iPad. It reads just like a book, and it keeps my eyes on the “page” — no need to dart my eyes up to the page number, over to the line number, and over to an errata sheet. My eyes never leave the words I’m reading. My iPad also saves me from having to wait on a printer to print or a scanner to scan, and I don’t have to separate clean pages from dirty pages — the app allows me to e-mail annotated pages only directly inside the app.
Looking up something used to mean opening up a browser and manually typing in a word or phrase. With new technology, however, it’s as easy as tapping the word on the screen and selecting “Google” or “Dictionary”. Not having all the tedious steps involved in “paper proofreading” and errata sheets allows me to take on more clients and work more efficiently. I did start out proofreading on paper and writing errata sheets. There is just so much wasted time doing it this way. Before, when I’d finish a job, I’d have to stop what I was doing, get up, scan in the pages, wait, save the PDF, attach them to an e-mail … that whole process was a time suck! If you’re working with a lot of clients, it can really add up.
Faster Technology = Faster Proofreading
The technology is new, I get that, but that doesn’t make it bad or wrong. It works, obviously — I’ve got lots of happy clients who love my PDF corrections. In the same vein, it totally makes sense there are many proofreaders who don’t make the kind of money I do if they’re not doing it the way I do it. The truth is, many proofreaders don’t do things the way I do them; the app I use on iPad (iAnnotate) was just released in 2011, so I’m not surprised some reporters and proofreaders haven’t heard of it.
It’s catching on, though. California court reporting agency Jilio-Ryan posted this article on March 16, 2015 which lauds iAnnotate as the “preferred method” for proofreading transcripts.
Got questions? Leave a comment below!