Eleven days; 119,754 words; 31,587 changes

Last month, one of our biggest clients forewarned us of a proofreading project coming up in late February.

At the time, they indicated it would be around 25,000 words, “with a few other documents in the mix”.

Even when the documents started coming through a week last Thursday, we weren’t fully aware of the scale of this project, the deadline for which was today (eleven days in total).

All told, the client delivered 34 documents, with a total word count of 119,754.

Not knowing the full scale of the job meant that it was a difficult project to resource. I knew we’d need two people, and there was a possibility that we’d need a third.

In some respects, having it split into 34 documents makes a job like this easier. Having the work split up into bite-size chunks gives lower-level milestones against which progress can be measured, and more easily allows the work to be divided between different proofreaders. A single 120,000-word document might have been more daunting. But each document was written by a different set of authors, each with their own style, their own idiosyncrasies, their own types of mistake.

The last week has meant some very late nights for three people, myself included. But the last document was sent to the client on schedule this morning.

The highlight for me was spotting that the product number for an obscure piece of hardware was missing a letter. My hope is that this change alone will astound the client at the level of rigour we apply to the task. (Google means that anything and everything can be checked.) The lowlight was undoubtedly my overwriting a 2,000-word proofread document on the final evening. Huge thanks to Steve for stepping in to re-review it to save my addled brain, which was barely running on empty at the time.

It was a marvellous team effort. I’m hugely indebted to Steve and Paul for their extraordinary efforts on this one. They’ve been instrumental to the success of this project.

Now, hopefully some respite before the next big project arrives.

Posted by Dan, 27 February, 2012 under Life


  • Dan, Steve, Paul,

    This client does sound like they pushed you to the limits and you came through. I wish I could speak to that client – just to make sure they did not affect the work you did for us.

    Thank you guys for what you did for us – and stay away from horrible, disorganised clients (who have worse clients!!) like the one you describe.


    Posted by Stephen Lawrence, 6 March, 2012, 11:49am

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