Editing, proofreading or training: which is more cost effective?

19 April 2021

Do you want to improve the professionalism of your written communications? Perhaps you have received phone calls from confused customers. Or perhaps you have noticed grammatical errors in emails and reports that reflect poorly on the professionalism of your organisation. Or perhaps your internal reports and procedures are longwinded and difficult to read, reducing productivity.

Whatever your communication challenge, there are likely to be several ways to achieve better outcomes from your written communications. For example, you could increase team members’ writing skills by providing writing skills training. Alternatively, outsourcing the document to a professional editor or proofreader may achieve a quicker and more polished result. To help guide you, here are some common scenarios.

Challenge: You need to convey complex or technical information to a general audience.

It’s vital that any communication being read by a general audience is written in plain English. If you are an expert in your field, it can be challenging to ‘translate’ certain concepts into language your reader will easily understand. For example, terminology familiar to you and others in your field may be unknown or confusing to a general audience.

Adopting an approachable tone is also important. Tone refers to the way you express ideas. It includes the words you use, the way you put them together and their level of formality. If the tone is too formal or bureaucratic, you will risk losing your reader.

The service we recommend: rewriting by a professional editor with plain English expertise.

Challenge: Team members need to write clearer and more concise internal reports and emails.

Our education system, including many tertiary courses, doesn’t prepare students for the types of communications they need to write at work. Writing an academic essay is very different from writing a workplace report or procedure document.

Investing in team members’ writing skills will contribute to greater efficiency. It will also create opportunities for team members to progress to supervisory and management positions where report writing is an essential skill.

The service we recommend: online or in-person customised training.

Challenge: Your communications contain grammatical errors.

English grammar is challenging for many people, including native English speakers. Ideally, children will begin learning basic grammar concepts in early primary school and build on these over several years. By the time they reach high school, they should be able to write a coherent sentence using correct sentence structure and punctuation.

If a team member does not have these skills, they will need to go back to basics and progressively build on their knowledge. While this learning is highly worthwhile, making up for 5 to 6 years of missed education in English grammar can take some time.

The service we recommend: professional proofreading for a cost effective, quick turnaround and highly professional finish.

Challenge: Your communications contain typographical errors.

Producing a publication free from typos is challenging and can be time consuming. Some team members may be able to improve their accuracy by honing their keyboard skills and learning proofreading techniques. However, team members who are not detail-oriented may always find this skill challenging.

Grammatical and typographical errors reflect poorly on your organisation. Customers or clients may conclude that you do not pay attention to detail in other aspects of your work and lose confidence in your services or products.

The service we recommend: professional proofreading for a cost effective, quick turnaround and highly professional finish.

Increasing team members’ writing skills by providing writing skills training is a good investment but training alone may not meet all your needs. Outsourcing the document to a professional editor or proofreader may achieve a quicker and more polished outcome.

Concise Writing Consultancy offers customised online or in-person training as well as professional writing, editing and proofreading services. If you are not sure whether your document needs editing or proofreading, we will provide an obligation-free preliminary review and quotation. You might be surprised at how many inconsistencies and errors we find and how much value we can add to your communications.

For further guidance read our blog How to get the most out of your writing consultant  

Not sure which service you need? Contact Concise Writing Consultancy today on 02 9238 6638 or email patricia.hoyle@concisewriting.com.au

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