Levels of Copyediting

This post is second in the series of my posts on copyediting. In the first post – Introduction to Copyediting – I explained what is copyediting. In this post, we will look at the levels of copyediting and understand their requirement. The levels of copyediting tell us how far and how deep copyediting will be done in a document.

The process of copyediting can be a tedious task where each and every part of the document is checked/reviewed or cross-checked for clarity, coherency, consistency, and correctness. However, based on many factors like experienced or new author, audience level, and timelines, the editing/Quality/proof-reading team decides upon the level of the copyediting to be done on the document. We will discuss these factors in more detail in my next post.

There are three levels – Light, Medium, and Heavy – and six components of copyediting (already discussed in detail in our first post on Copyediting – Introduction to Copyediting). Let’s go through these six components briefly so that this blog can be understood completely on its own.

Six Components of Copyediting

Three Levels of Copyediting

As mentioned above, there are three levels of copyediting – Light, Medium, and Heavy. As the names of the levels suggest – during light and medium copyediting, some of the copyediting components are not checked. The copyeditor either leaves that part of the document or leaves a comment for the author to check and correct, as required. In case of heavy copyediting, all parts of the documents are checked against all the components of copyediting.

Whether it is light, medium, or heavy, the four components of copyediting are always checked, which are – Mechanical Editing, Reference Checking, Copyright Screening, and Type Coding.  For language and content editing, the copyeditors take informed decision to either skim through or pore over the document.

How Copyediting Differs at Each Stage

The below points will help you understand how light, medium, and heavy copyediting is done for language and content:

There are certain factors which tell the copyeditor whether they have to do light, medium, or heavy copyediting. I will explain those factors in detail in my next post of Copyediting.


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