Dealing with Difficult Proofreading Situations

Dealing with Difficult Proofreading Situations

  • May 30, 2018
  • 3 min read

As with any career, some editing tasks will be more difficult than others. However, there is a line (sometimes a fine one) between difficult and unacceptable. What do you do when a client makes an unreasonable request? How can you deal with situations in which clients treat you poorly? In today’s blog post, we offer some tips on avoiding or tackling unpleasant situations.

1. Clarify Your Services

The best way to avoid clients asking for services that typically fall outside a proofreading remit (e.g. in-depth fact checking) is to make your position clear from the beginning. Make sure the client understands what you can and can’t do, as well as your rates and the time required to proofread the document. Set rates that refer to everything you do, not just the initial proofread. These should either be available via your website, if you have one, or provided to your client as soon as they express interest in having a document proofread.

In addition, you may want to ask your client whether they have any questions about your services. This will ensure you are both on the same page.

2. Avoid the Dark Side

As a proofreader, you may be offered jobs that seem a bit fishy. There are some who are willing to work for essay mills, producing content for client to pass off as their own. Others are happy to adjust academic content to fit word counts or substantially rewrite ESL essays.

But this kind of stuff is essentially academic fraud. We do not recommend it. And if you do decide to go over to the dark side, you’d better hope nobody finds out!

3. Remain in Control

Eventually, most freelancers will encounter a client who doesn’t know when to stop. They keep coming back with complaints, queries, and extra requests, constantly moving the goalposts to get more out of you than was promised. In these situations, it’s easy to feel helpless.

But you don’t need to lie back and allow yourself to be swept along on the whims of the client. There are some situations in which the client is wrong. If you have delivered the service that you agreed, you do not owe them anything extra. And if all else fails, politely shut the conversation down by simply reiterating your position and sticking to it.

4. Know Your Red Lines

Some behaviour is simply unacceptable. Opinions on what can or cannot be tolerated will vary, but it’s important to know what falls into the second category for you.

No one, for instance, has to accept abuse or harassment. A client who bullies you is not worth keeping. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often.

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