If you have never used professional proofreading services before, you will almost certainly be asking yourself whether paying somebody else for professional proofreading is really worth it? Even after hearing about the success stories from your peers, colleagues, or clients who may have used professional proofreading services in the past, you still might be asking this question. The answer to this question will inevitably differ depending on who you are, the purpose of your document, and what your budget is.
For example, if you are writing a WhatsApp message to a family member, I would argue that proofreading this particular piece of writing is definitely not worth it. Similarly, if all you are writing is an email meant for your supervisor at university or a colleague at work, perhaps one asking them to schedule a meeting, then hiring an expert in editing and proofreading services to check over that is probably not a good idea. In cases like this, automated spell checkers like Grammarly can play an extremely powerful role, and they are much better suited for the task – and much more cost-effective –compared to a human proofreader.
So, if proofreading your written work is sometimes not worth it, when is it actually worth it? Well, as already mentioned, there are a few issues to consider. The first key issue is what the purpose of your document is. As we saw earlier, proofreading for a short and informal email or text message that you intend to send to a family member is not somewhere where proofreading would be called for. By contrast, if you are writing a book, a social media post for your company, a blog article, an academic essay, or a journal article on its way to peer-review and, eventually, publication, the value of proofreading becomes enormous.
For documents like books, blog posts, academic essays, journal articles, press releases, and many others, the cost of inaccurate information may be huge. At the same time, the cost of errors in your document, whether these relate to grammar, spelling, or punctuation, can be equally dramatic. In many cases, even a single letter can change the entire meaning of a sentence. Consider, for example, the sentence: “We have not grown our profits”. The letter “t” is quite close to the letter “w” on a QWERTY keyboard, and if we accidentally hit one rather than the other when writing the word “now” or “not”, the impact on our business communication might be very consequential.
Altogether, it is clear that in many cases, proofreading your work is not only worth it but also vital. However, since proofreaders, despite offering affordable services, cost money to hire, it’s important to consider whether the document you have written would be best improved by using a spellchecker or recruiting the services of a human expert. As a general rule, you could say that if errors in your writing would seriously and materially affect your future outcomes in life (e.g., as in an academic essay or an important press release), hiring a professional proofreader is critical. If errors would not be looked on so badly, proofreading is probably not the best way to spend your money in this case. Just remember the required end result is to present well developed concise, interesting and considered documents that a reader will enjoy spending time reading.