Proofreading for non-native speakers

It is a great achievement to be awarded an MA or a PhD, but this involves conducting time-consuming research. Once the research is complete, it needs to be collated into a thesis in a readable and well-structured format. A thesis ought to be the candidate’s original work, but almost all candidates gather information from various scholars who have themselves researched the subject. 

With a growing tendency for students to study in countries other than their own, writing a thesis for a post-graduate degree may well be in a language other than the student’s first language; for example, a student may be very competent in English, even if it is not his/her first language, but difficulties can arise in writing a thesis of an excellent literary standard. This is how a professional proofreader/editor can help. 

Firstly, there are the basic matters of correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, which apply to native and non-native English speakers alike. Sometimes, grammatical mistakes can change the meaning of a sentence, which can even lead to the candidates destroying their own arguments. A professional proofreader will notice grammatical errors and will draw the candidate’s attention to any ambiguous meanings caused by incorrect spelling, grammar or punctuation. 

Secondly, a good presentation of the argument is vital in a thesis. A good editor will notice if an argument is not made clearly, or if there is unnecessary repetitive material in the text. Sometimes, a thesis can be improved by changing sentence structure or replacing ‘conversational words’ by more academic words. This makes the thesis appear more professional. The English language is rich with words that have similar or even the same meanings, and there are often many ways of conveying the same thought, but usually one of these ways is better than all the others. Experienced editors are aware of this and can find the best way of expressing your argument. 

Thirdly, there is the matter of citation. The correct way of including citations can be complicated, in fact there are many accepted formats for citation. It is certainly vital that the candidate chooses one citation method and keeps to it throughout the document. The professional editor will correct any mistakes in citation formats, and also if quotation marks have been incorrectly used. At the very least, it is a matter of common courtesy to acknowledge your sources and where it is obvious you have not done this, the editor will draw your attention to it. An example for this is text such as ‘Certain scholars contend that….’ or ‘According to a well-known researcher….’. 

A good thesis can indeed result in a post-graduate degree, but beyond that it can result in good career prospects. With regard to a thesis written in English, it is advisable for a native English speaker to get it proofread/edited, but is indeed essential for a non-native English speaker to get the thesis professionally proofread/edited. Therefore, don't leave it to chance with a project as important as your post-graduate thesis, employ a professional proofreader/editor. 

The Ultimate Proofreader provides unique proofreading services UK-based, specialising in thesis/dissertation proofreading services, book copy-editing services, and business proofreading services.