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Old 07-24-2013, 08:55 PM
 
Location: SNA=>PDX 2013
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I was curious, what kind of answer is the interviewer looking for? As an admin, I have been asked this question repeatedly. Before I say how I answer this, I'm curious what they are looking for.

I guess I never thought about what this answer really required. Especially since a lot of documents I do proof are very technical and out of my range of understanding (although, I do learn from what I read, which makes it easier as time goes by).

Thoughts?
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:56 PM
 
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This is a confusing question. I mean, are they asking how do YOU, specifically, proof documents or how do you proof documents as in explain to me how to proof documents. This could be answered in 2 different ways depending on what they're asking for. I think before I went about answering this question, I would ask them to explain what they mean by this question because it's very vague.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:45 AM
 
Location: SNA=>PDX 2013
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I always took it as how do I literally proof a document. As in what is the procedure I follow. I doubt an interviewer would be asking you how you proof something (as in the latter of your two ideas).

I always thought this was a weird question. I mean, if I proof and I'm thorough, does it matter how I go about it? And in that same breath, does this mean there's a specific answer they're looking for?
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:44 AM
 
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1) I don't see what's wrong with asking for a clarification. Is that so big an issue?

2) If you don't want to do that -- (afraid you'll look bad if you can't read their mind on question so vague it could mean anything. And THEY are stupid for asking it...but anyway....)...just answer ONE or TWO sentences about the general process, and ONE or TWO sentences about YOUR particular process. So you've answered BOTH issues

EXAMPLE:
"Accepted/general practices call for XYZ, and of course it's important to ABC. I've always been successful doing DEF, and also developed a new protocol for our department that other people also started to utilize....OR "my personal experience has been that when proofing it's also important to JKL.

THEN likely they'll ask a follow up and you'll be more clear as to the direction they're going.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:53 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 58,375,697 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psichick View Post
Especially since a lot of documents I do proof are very technical and out of my range of understanding (although, I do learn from what I read, which makes it easier as time goes by).
I'm confused. How can you proof a document the contents of which are outside your range of understanding?
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:53 PM
 
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One can proofread for grammar, punctuation, and sentence construction without having an understanding of the subject matter. For example, back in the olden days at newspapers they had these employees called "typesetters," who did exactly that. My mother was one for many years.

Secretaries/admins/scribes have been cleaning up their bosses' literary mess for millenia. Also too paralegals, technical writers, copywriters, grant writers, book editors, etc.

The proper answer to the question is (so long as the job is not for legal proofreading): I proof documents using computerized spell-check followed by a manual read-through following the standards established in the Chicago Manual of Style (alternatively called CMS or CMOS).

Make sure you have read the CMOS. Understand the principles. One must read the actual document, specifically looking for usage mistakes spell-check won't catch (there/their/they're, this happens a LOT with non-native English speakers). There is a method for professional proofreading and it involves the CMOS and a red pencil.

Anyone asking such a question would expect that as a reply. They want to make sure you are not depending on computerized spell & grammar check alone.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:58 PM
 
Location: SNA=>PDX 2013
2,660 posts, read 3,048,788 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STT Resident View Post
I'm confused. How can you proof a document the contents of which are outside your range of understanding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by katheh View Post
One can proofread for grammar, punctuation, and sentence construction without having an understanding of the subject matter. For example, back in the olden days at newspapers they had these employees called "typesetters," who did exactly that. My mother was one for many years.

Secretaries/admins/scribes have been cleaning up their bosses' literary mess for millenia. Also too paralegals, technical writers, copywriters, grant writers, book editors, etc.
Exactly. Also, I mark up areas that don't seem right, to me, but could technically be correct due to the subject matter at hand. It's how I learn what is right in their field, but maybe not in everyday language. I proofed many research papers for a microbiologist with a PhD, she's always happy at the things I catch and I catch most of her errors. The ones I miss are the ones that relate to specific numbers (which I wouldn't know anyways as that's her research that she's quoting and I've never seen the numbers). Actually, it's usually the only errors I miss. So, I'd say I do a good job.



Quote:
The proper answer to the question is (so long as the job is not for legal proofreading): I proof documents using computerized spell-check followed by a manual read-through following the standards established in the Chicago Manual of Style (alternatively called CMS or CMOS).
Hmm....too many styles out there. Can't say I've ever used CMOS. I just looked it up, it says it's more for publishing (as in press), is that correct? Usually what I've learned is MLA, AMA, ACS, CSE, APA (do you see a theme, lol), and of course, Gregg. But then, most of the places I've worked at are scientific in nature.


Quote:
Anyone asking such a question would expect that as a reply. They want to make sure you are not depending on computerized spell & grammar check alone.
Good point though, to let them know that I don't depend on Microsoft Word to catch spelling and grammatical errors. I never thought that people would do that, but I'm sure they're out there. Food for thought. Thanks.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:02 PM
 
Location: SNA=>PDX 2013
2,660 posts, read 3,048,788 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdflk View Post
1) I don't see what's wrong with asking for a clarification. Is that so big an issue?

2) If you don't want to do that -- (afraid you'll look bad if you can't read their mind on question so vague it could mean anything. And THEY are stupid for asking it...but anyway....)...just answer ONE or TWO sentences about the general process, and ONE or TWO sentences about YOUR particular process. So you've answered BOTH issues

EXAMPLE:
"Accepted/general practices call for XYZ, and of course it's important to ABC. I've always been successful doing DEF, and also developed a new protocol for our department that other people also started to utilize....OR "my personal experience has been that when proofing it's also important to JKL.

THEN likely they'll ask a follow up and you'll be more clear as to the direction they're going.

Was #1 for me? I don't think asking them, "what answer are you looking for?" is really a good idea. And again, I always assumed they wanted to know the steps I take to proof. I never thought the question was vague, but I figured I'd ask the board to see if I was correct or way off. So far, looks like I'm answering it correctly, but could do a better job with my answer.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:12 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 58,375,697 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psichick View Post
Exactly. Also, I mark up areas that don't seem right, to me, but could technically be correct due to the subject matter at hand.
Makes sense and has assuaged my curiosity which was based on your phrasing. I was a proof reader for a pharmaceutical company for a couple of years way back and have also done proof-reading in medical specialities with which I'm familiar. As I said, it was your phrasing which caught me off guard. As far as your thread question is concerned, I've no suggestions. Maybe the question does relate to all the tools available nowadays and your knowledge of them.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:07 PM
 
90 posts, read 307,840 times
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CMOS is more of a literary or press resource.

Depending on your field, it is pick-your-style to name, as appropriate. It was VERY difficult for me to produce papers in proper MLA format when I went back to college (due to many years of experience with and use of CMS). It's almost the same, but not quite. After I had an issue with my first paper, I paid my son (then in 11th grade LOL) to proofread them and suggest edits to conform to MLA (that is their school style). Then I took a medical-ish class and the professor wanted AMA (I think, can't really recall) - a fellow student helped me clean up the final format.

Anyway I would let them know you are able to use technology to quick proof, yet you still read through manually and conform to [whatever is the accepted] style. I would also try to work in there an acknowledgement that mistakes can be made when proofing ones own documents (because when reading over our own work we "see what we expect to see"), and that trading proofing off with another coworker/team associate would be the best way to handle that.
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