Are Premium Proofreading Services Worth It?

in Software
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Spelling and grammar checks are everywhere these days, they’re integrated into most mobile operating systems, desktop operating systems and of course word-processing software.

But the fact remains that they are just computers checking over your document with algorithms. Can they really equal or even beat a trained professional?

To come to a conclusion, I wrote a very short 60 word document riddled with errors, from simple spelling and grammar mistakes to double negatives and words used in the wrong context. For example, “affect” instead of “effect”, “not not good”, and “wierd”; obviously they are quite basic mistakes but are easy to miss. I have been guilty of one or two before! You can find this document here.

To test, I used Microsoft Word, a free online service, and a premium proofreading service (Cambridge Proofreading Ltd). Costing £119, £0 and £9.50 respectively, assuming you’re buying a kosher copy of Microsoft Word and having 500 words proofread on the premium proofreading service.

First of all, I used Microsoft Word to check for errors. It managed to pick out all but one of the spelling errors and a double negative, but struggled on the words used in the wrong context. Plus, when correcting it doesn’t explain why it is wrong.

Onto the free online service. This particular one actually fared slightly worse, only getting the basic spelling errors right and marking things that aren’t an issue as grammar problems. This also has the same problem as Word in that you’re not told why something is wrong; it’s just corrected.

And finally onto the premium proofreading service. I used Cambridge Proofreading LTD for my best, a UK based company that had a nice looking website. Unlike software-based solutions, you don’t get your document checked instantly. Instead, this is real, trained people. Fewer than 5,000 words takes under 24 hours, under 20,000 is 72 hours, etc. In my case of an extremely short document it took only 3 hours for my document to be returned. It was returned with very comprehensive notes on their corrections, and all of my errors were found and corrected.

Microsoft Word was best for speed, the free online service had no advantages over Word, but the premium proofreading service came out on top. The only drawback was that because real people are looking over your work, speed isn’t incredible.

Conclusion

So, are premium proofreading services worth it? Only in certain contexts; for a simple personal blog post there really is no need. However, for longer and more important texts such as books, university papers and newspaper articles, the extra few quid is worth it. One of the services I looked at even has a dedicated university proofreading service!

In the document mentioned earlier

Original document

After after setting out on a warm, sunny summer morning, I made sure all of my wierd essentals were packed. they included a boyency aid for when im using my canoo and on my yacht! Speaking of my yacht, I ain’t never heard of no license needed for driving it, but you do need one! I was deeply effected by this, but I soldered on anyway.

Word

After after setting out on a warm, sunny summer morning, I made sure all of my weird essentials were packed. they included a buoyancy aid for when I’m using my canoe and on my yacht! Speaking of my yacht, I ain’t never heard of no license needed for driving it, but you do need one! I was deeply affected by this, but I soldered on anyway.

Free online

After after setting out on a warm, sunny summer morning, I made sure all of my weird essentials were packed. they included a buoyancy aid for when i’m using my canoe and on my yacht! Speaking of my yacht, I ain’t never heard of no license needed for driving it, but you do need one! I was deeply effected by this, but I soldered on anyway.

Premium

After after setting out on a warm, sunny summer morning, I made sure all of my weird essentials were packed. They included a buoyancy aid for when I’m using my canoe, and on my yacht! Speaking of my yacht, I have never heard of a license needed for driving it; but you do need one. I was deeply affected by this, but I soldiered on anyway.

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