Proofreading profession – challenges and solutions

English proofreading & editing profession

There are thousands of proofreading services providers around the world, with many based in the UK. 

Although they all serve a variety of clients, the key client base for most proofreading services providers are foreign and ESL students studying a master’s or PhD degree in a university in the Western world. Those students and academics, being non-native speakers of English, often seek the help of a professional proofreading services provider to correct and improve their dissertations, essays, and other types of academic papers.

There is thus a growing need for proofreaders and editors, but this has caused a number of challenges for the proofreading and editing profession. 

This article looks at some key challenges: 


One of the most essential challenges facing the English proofreading industry is the fact that it is open to amateurs. 

If you go through online threads involving questions about proofreading services, you would find that most of the enquiries are made by people who would like to enter the career of proofreading in pursuit of financial profit. 

When you look at their background, you would find that they had been involved in careers that have nothing to do English language proofreading and editing whatsoever. 

Unfortunately, it is those proofreaders and editors – who have neither had previous experience nor attended relevant proofreading training and courses – that cause a lot of trouble to professional proofreaders and editors and the proofreading industry as a whole. 

They basically can secure a job with a low-profile provider of English proofreading services or go and launch websites claiming that they provide excellent proofreading services for students, academics, businesses and others.

Definitely, the quality of any piece of work or text proofread by any such an inexperienced proofreader will be substandard.   

Pursuit of financial gains 

Competition among proofreading services providers has never been as fierce. Seeking profit from a proofreading services business is absolutely legitimate and fair. 

However, the key problem arises when companies offering editing and proofreading services put financial gain above everything else, mainly quality and reputation. 

Those providers would undersell their services in the hope of attracting more clients, but the ultimate result is a quality of service that can at least be described as unprofessional and substandard. 

It is those type of companies that hire people with no background or experience in proofreading and editing whatsoever and trust them with their clients’ papers and documents, where they unfortunately cause mayhem and wreak havoc.  

Teacher versus editor/proofreader  

A large number of proofreaders and editors come from English teaching background. For a start, being a teacher of English should never be synonymous with being a professional English proofreader or copy-editor. 

Being a teacher is different from being a copy-editor because these are two completely different jobs. 

When you copy-edit a book, a novel, a PhD thesis or essay, there are certain requirements that have to be met in order for the proofreading and editing task to be completed professionally and successfully. 

The good editor has to have a keen eye for detail and a flair for flow of language, consistency, coherence, and several aspects that not every teacher may necessarily have. On the other hand, not every editor or proofreader can do the job of an English teacher. In sum, both are two different jobs.

Are you a PhD or MA student looking for a proofreading service? Are you a business or a company and need professional proofreading help? We – at the Ultimate Proofreader – provide unique and cost-effective proofreading and editing services done only by professional copy-editors and proofreaders who have the right expertise, training and experience. 

Just get in touch with us and we can also do a free sample for you.