Why should I choose Grammar Guardians?
Besides having a team of highly qualified and experienced language practitioners, Grammar Guardians offers you a comprehensive service. The following sets us apart from other proofreaders:
- Two people proofread your document, which ensures that no mistakes are overlooked.
- We do formatting and layout (Also see What exactly is layout and formatting?).
- We cross-check your references and indicate missing and/or incorrect sources.
We are vendors at many universities and therefore come highly recommended.
How do I find out what the costs will be?
We will gladly assist you with a quotation. For formatting and layout, we require the number of pages of your document for drawing up a quotation, and for translation and proofreading quotations, we require the number of words that must be translated/proofread.
For proofreading, we also require that you indicate which pricing package you are interested in (See Pricing packages
You may also request a quotation that reflects the different pricing packages if you wish to compare them.
Why do I need to pay a deposit?
A deposit secures your place on our calendar. This is very important in peak academic times when our services are in high demand. We can only accommodate a certain number of clients per timeframe, so we need to know that the client is serious about securing and using our services.
Why don’t you charge per page for proofreading?
In order to be as accurate as possible, we charge per word because some pages contain more words than others. For example, if your thesis contains many graphs and/or photos, you will end up paying for pages where no proofreading or editing was done. Also, we don’t charge per 100 words as most proofreaders do because if your document is, for example, 51 words, we would have to round the number up to 100, so you would pay for 49 words you didn’t write.
What is copywriting and why is it so “expensive”?
Copywriting usually entails the writing of content for marketing or media purposes and includes the writing of slogans, website content, press releases, etc., but in general it is the writing of any original text, for whichever purpose. Depending on the topic and the degree of difficulty, it usually requires extensive research, which is why it is more expensive than our other services. Please note that we do not write any academic content for students (e.g. assignments, etc.) as we deem it unethical.
What is the difference between proofreading and editing?
Proofreading focuses on correcting errors in spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and formatting.
Editing includes all steps involved in proofreading, but the focus is on making a document easier to understand, better organised, and more suitable for the intended audience. Ensuring consistency and clarity is an important part of editing.
Editing also includes omitting certain words or sentences that are not needed and that make the text clumsy.
How does the process work?
In general, we start by quoting you on the work required (How do I find out what the costs will be?
). Once you accept the quotation, we draw up an invoice for a deposit of 50% of the quoted costs (Also see Why do I need to pay a deposit?
Once the deposit has been received, you e-mail your work in Word format to us. With proofreading and editing work, we make use of Track Changes to provide proof of work, as well as to give the client the opportunity to review our proposed changes and amendments. For people who are not familiar with Track Changes, we can either send two documents (one with Track Changes as proof of work, and one without), or provide a manual that describes exactly how to work with Track Changes.
We do not make use of Track Changes for translation and formatting work.
Upon completion of the work, we will send the document back to you to review our work, and invoice you for the balance of the costs. Once you are ready for submission and/or printing, you are most welcome to send the document back to us for a final check at no additional charge.
How long does proofreading take?
Our standard timeframes for proofreading are as follows:
- Twenty thousand words or less: 5 workdays maximum.
- Twenty to thirty-five thousand words: 7 workdays maximum.
- Thirty-five thousand words or more: A minimum of 10 workdays; depending on the total number of words. The average PhD, for example, takes about 21 workdays to proofread properly.
The timeframes are, however, highly dependent on our work schedule and the quality of the document. If we are not very busy and/or the quality of the document is good, you will receive the completed work back sooner than stated above.
I use Word’s Spell Checker – why do I need Grammar Guardians?
While Spell Checker is useful for detecting most spelling and grammatical errors, it cannot comprehend whether certain word choices are correct and often fails to detect singular/plural errors in long sentences. A memorable example of Spell Checker’s failure is from a thesis where the student had consistently used the word “poison” instead of “person”. Spell Checker cannot and will not detect this kind of error.
Spell Checker also cannot spot factual errors or determine consistency. For example, Spell Checker will not notice that you had mistakenly cited Jackson (2051) instead of Jackson (2015), or that you mentioned on page 12 that your sample size consisted of 23 people, yet on page 19 you mention a sample size of 25 people.
Spell Checker also cannot help you with formatting, layout, or errors in numbering.
What is layout and formatting?
Layout is the process of making your document look good and making sure that everything is in the right place. Formatting assures that the format of the document is consistent throughout. It includes aspects like font size, font type, line spacing, indentations, alignment, etc.
As part of formatting, we insert an updatable table of contents where you can update the page numbers with the click of a button. We also do so with lists of figures and tables.
We also insert page numbers and, where necessary, headers and footers.
When is it recommended to choose the full package?
We highly recommend the full package for academic papers because it includes the cross-checking of references, as well as layout and formatting which is very useful in longer documents. When the document is only a few pages long and doesn’t include sources or headings, we recommend the light package that only includes proofreading and editing.
How long does translation take?
On average, a 250-word page would take approximately one hour to translate, but that depends on the content of the document and how much research needs to be done. For example, simple administrative forms would take much less time than documents that are rich in jargon and industry-specific terms. In some cases it takes just as long to find the correct translation of a certain term than it would take to translate an entire page. Once the document has been translated, it is also proofread to check for typing errors.
How long does formatting and layout take?
This depends on how much needs to be done, but on average it takes a few hours to format a document of 100 pages. It could take 8 hours or more on a document that has many formatting errors.
Sometimes we are provided with a lengthy style guide on the formatting preferences of the institution or individual and we have to get acquainted with a style of formatting different than our own.
Which referencing styles are you familiar with?
We are most familiar with the Harvard and APA styles but have worked with a variety of referencing styles over the years – including academic journals, which often have their own unique in-house styles.
We always ask our clients for a style guide of their specific departments/faculties/journals/etc., just to be 100% sure.
Why does proofreading take so “long”?
Firstly, each document receives three reviews.
Secondly, each document is reviewed by both proofreaders – one of whom will proofread the document twice. This ensures the highest possible quality, and conforms to standard industry practice.
Thirdly, we have to carefully balance and manage all our work and time to ensure that every client’s document receives the same amount of care and diligence.
Fourthly, proofreading and especially editing are strenuous, arduous tasks that require thoroughness and immense concentration and focus. It is not nearly the same as reading for relaxation.
It takes about 10 minutes to proofread and edit one page of work written by someone with average literary skills. A document written by someone with very poor literary skills can take 15 – 20 minutes per page to proofread and edit. The tasks included in the 18c and 20c per word packages (layout, formatting, cross-checking, etc.) take up additional time – easily doubling the amount of time spent on a document. We also often spend time researching dubious facts and statements.
Can you do formatting and layout on a document that is in Zulu, for example?
We can, and we have. As long as the pages/chapters are in the correct order, it is entirely possible to do layout and formatting on a document that is in a language we do not understand.