Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Publishing terms continue to cause confusion

I reckon it will be another ten years or more before proofreading and publishing terminology becomes consistent.

At the moment, we have two sets of terms: one based on old fashioned typesetting, and another that relates to computer publishing.

To make it worse, there are some overlaps between the two. For example, some software still refers to the space between lines as ‘leading’, although I’m sure most users don’t know why. In fact it’s based on the old typesetting technique … see this explanation. Word has taken the leap into the modern age by calling it ’line spacing’.

Some people get confused with the term ‘Roman’. It’s the old-fashioned way of saying: ‘not bold’. Nowadays, it’s usually called ‘plain’ or ‘regular’. But it’s one to watch out for if you’re dealing with an older client.

One of our proofreading course students once asked me: ‘What’s it got to do with Rome?’ I was tempted to answer: ‘When in Rome …’ but that wouldn’t have been plain. Or regular.

See our proofreading course

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