A long-established client recently asked us whether we could help their Swiss team, who write sales documents in English, by proofreading their proposals. “Yes,” I replied – but I questioned the real business need. Did they want:
1) A very detailed, line-by-line check of their text to ensure absolute compliance with the strictest rules of grammar?
2) A thorough read-through, pointing out any obvious errors and – given most contributors speak languages other than English as their mother tongue – checking that it would feel fluent to a native English reader?
3) As per the above, but editing the text rather than simply pointing out any mistakes?
Particularly with multinational teams of subject matter experts, all three might be needed. But the first of these – the detailed ‘professional’ proofread, actively seeking out errors – might not actually be the most important thing given time availability and budget.