This is the second in a series of articles on stages of the production process at Sciendo. The first article covered language editing and copy editing. This article covers the typesetting and proofreading services, which turn your polished manuscript into the final version, ready for printing and online publication. 

What is typesetting? 

Typesetting is the process that transforms an edited and accepted manuscript into a near final product. The word typesetting comes from the original process for physical printing. Originally, moveable letters, numbers, and symbols (type) were put in place (set) by hand so that pages could be printed. Nowadays we use digital layout software such as InDesign for typesetting, but the principles of typesetting are the same. 

How does typesetting work? 

For any publication, design choices are made about how the type and any other elements will look on the page and on screen. These design choices include the dimensions of pages and margins, font choice and sizes, spacing, the detail of headers and footers, as well as special features such as quotes, tables, charts, hyperlinks, references, and bibliographies. At Sciendo, we typeset either to your bespoke requirements or according to the standard layout we have designed to make documents look good. 

A typesetter works through the entire manuscript applying these design choices to it. Whilst this sounds like formatting, applying the design choices without skill leads to poor results. Typesetters use their skill, experience, and judgment to make manual adjustments. These adjustments ensure that the finished product looks good on the page, whilst still being in line with the design choices. Examples of changes made include adjusting the spacing between characters, and ensuring that blocks of text on adjacent columns end on the same row. Typesetters will also make adjustments when consecutive rows of text start or end with the same word. And they will prevent the last row of a paragraph ending at the top of a page, and the last word of a paragraph ending on its own on a line. All these extra changes ensure that your work looks as good as it can on screen and in print. 

High quality typesetting matters because content has to not only be good, but look good to make an impact. The typesetter ensures that there are no visual mistakes which would affect the reading experience. 

After typesetting 

In the past, after typesetters had arranged the type ready for printing they would print each page, known as ‘proofs’ and send them to the publisher for a final read and check before they printed a large number of copies. Hence, the phase proofreading. 

Today, after the manuscript has been typeset digitally, the typesetter creates a set of digital page proofs, most likely as PDFs. Each of these simulates the appearance of the finished printed pages. This enables a proofreader to either print out and mark up a physical copy, or to complete the proofreading online. 

What is proofreading? 

Proofreading highlights any remaining errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It also focuses heavily on consistency issues such as the checking of web links and references, checking all captions and images, spotting visual layout errors, and checking the match between the index and content. Proofreading is the final read and check of the work before publication. 

During academic proofreading, proofreaders will not usually make changes directly to the proof but highlight potential mistakes, allowing the author or editor to make the final decisions on any changes. 

Why is proofreading important? 

Professional proofreading services matter because any mistakes in writing or layout can have a negative impact on the reading experience. Instead of focusing on the content, readers may focus on any mistakes, which potentially reduces the academic impact of an article. 

Typesetting and proofreading services at Sciendo 

At Sciendo, we have teams of professional and specialised typesetters and proofreaders who ensure that your publications look good, are error free, and have maximum impact. To find out more about how we can help you to enhance the impact of your publications, please contact your sales representative

Photo by Raphael Schaller on Unsplash