Welcome to Write Bytes, a section designed to help you get your words right! Do you have questions about particular punctuation, grammar, or style? Send an email and the Write Word can help you write it right. Here are some definitions that help clear up questions about what editors do:
1. What is a copy editor? Freelance copy editors review all types of written materials for style consistency, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  

Copy editors also mark content that is unclear and review tables of contents, bibliographies, headings, captions for pictures, tables, and graphs, rewrite when hired to do so, and analyze the entire manuscript to ensure that the intended audiencethe readerwill not be confused or bored. 

Most copy editors use the publishing industry's standard style guidelines, such as Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), the Associated Press Stylebook (AP), American Psychological Association (APA), or the American Medical Association (AMA) Style Manual. Or, if hired to do so, copy editors are qualified to develop a specific style sheet for that particular client. 

2. What does a developmental editor do? If an author needs an editor who will work one on one to develop the manuscript or documentation from startup to completion, the author needs a developmental editor, not a copy editor. Most developmental editors work in-house at publishing firms or in marketing departments of large corporations. Developmental editors are usually involved in the entire production process and, if working for an independent author, will charge hourly rates based on the subject matter and tasks required. 

3. What is a proofreader? Proofreaders review copyedited manuscripts or documents for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and layout. A proofreader is sometimes called the "Third Eye," which means that she or he is the "third" person to review a document.

Proofreaders are hired after the copy editor has worked on the project, the author (or managing/production/developmental editor) has incorporated the changes, and the document is almost ready to go to press. 

At one time, proofreaders compared copyedited documents side-by-side to the typeset document to ensure accuracy after copyediting changes had been entered by the production team, but today this process is often eliminated because of deadline constraints. However, the human eye of the proofreader is still necessary to ensure an error-free document.

4. The latest trend:  editorial proofreaders. Editorial proofreaders will combine copyediting and proofreading tasks, and charge according to the particular needs of the client. For example, if the author or company needs someone to check grammar and consistency of style and perform minor rewriting, an editorial proofreader is qualified to perform all of these tasks, and will usually charge a fee according to the tasks performed. 

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