Have you considered asking for help with the English on your website, sales materials, or menu? Maybe you didn’t know where to find a qualified native English speaker. Perhaps you were unsure how the process works. 

Let me tell you about my most recent job as a freelance English copywriter and proofreader for a Korean client. I’ll walk you through the steps one by one to show you how easy the process is. By the end of this post, you’ll know how to get help with your English copywriting and proofreading needs.

An image of a someone browsing a Facebook page on a laptop and using their phone to contact the person from the Facebook page.

Step 1—You contact me (this is the most critical step)

You need to ask me for help. You need to contact me via my website, email, or social media—just make contact. With this most recent job, a friend contacted me on the client’s behalf. My friend was at one of his favorite bars and noted that the English menu could use some improvement. He’s good friends with the owner and mentioned that if the owner wanted help with his English menu, I could help. 

The owner agreed, and my friend made an introduction via a three-way chat on Kakao. The bar owner sent me his menu (in Korean and English). With that information, we proceeded to the next step.

A woman holding up a calculator showing her male client a quote for the job.

Step 2—I’ll provide you with a quote

Why don’t I have rates on my site? Every job is different. My rate depends on how long I estimate the job will take me. That comes down to two things:

  1. How much copy there is (how many words)
  2. The quality of the copy I’ll be starting with

Whether you wrote the English copy or paid someone else to translate it, I need to assess the quality of the English. If the quality is good, only requiring minor changes, I’ll charge you proofreading rates. If the quality isn’t so good, I’ll charge you copy editing rates. If you need me to write something from scratch based on your briefing, I’ll charge you copywriting rates. In this case, the quality wasn’t too bad, but some editing and minor translation were required. 

Please note: I do not typically offer translation services. But I may be able to accommodate simple translation requests (more on this below). 

After assessing the length and quality of the copy, I sent my quote to the owner. This included a breakdown of how I calculated my quote. In this case, I quoted this client 50,000 won to improve his menu.

An image of a thumb pointing down on the left and a thumb pointing up on the right.

Step 3—As the client, you can either accept or decline my quote

You are under no obligation to accept my quote. I provide quotes free of charge, but the decision to accept my quote or not is yours. In this case, the client accepted the quote, and I agreed to start working. For small jobs, payment can be made upon completion. For bigger jobs, I may require an initial deposit.

Once the client accepted my quote, I agreed to start working immediately. I promised delivery of the first draft within three days. This project didn’t have a lot of copy—about 500 words. But I prefer to have time between editing and proofreading passes. This helps ensure the copy I provide is error-free.

An image of a laptop on a wooden table with a notepad, glass of water and smartphone next to it.

Step 4—I’ll get to work and deliver the first draft on time

At present, I’m not well-equipped to accommodate urgent rush jobs. I work a full-time job and do freelance English copywriting, copy editing, and proofreading in the evenings and on weekends. In some cases. I may be able to handle a small urgent job, but in most cases, I’ll need at least two days.

I began work on this project by reading the menu from start to finish. I identified terms that were repeated and needed to be standardized. I also looked for things I’d need to research and noted potential questions I’d have for the client.

After that, I edited the English copy as best I could on my own. I rewrote awkward translations so they were natural and fluent. I checked that the Korean and English menus were in the same order (they weren’t). That would enable them to be displayed on opposite pages—if desired. 

Then I started checking menu items and brand names. This bar features some guest beers. The Korean names of those beers had been roughly translated into English. I went to the website for that brewery and located the English translations of those beers. 

An image of a can of Coca-Cola buried in snow—only Coca is visible.

I then checked the spelling of any brand name offerings. Do you know how to write 코카콜라 in English?

  • Cocacola
  • CocaCola
  • Coca Cola
  • Coca-cola
  • Coca-Cola

I thought I knew, but I never guess. I always check. It’s Coca-Cola (the Korean should also have a hyphen. I was just checking to see if you were paying attention—코카-콜라).

This attention to detail and researching correct terms are the qualities that make me a great proofreader.

An out of focus image of a man holding up his finger, as if wagging it back and forth to indicate 'no'.

Bonus: Why I can use translation tools, but you can’t

There were some menu items with such poor English translations that I couldn’t fix them on their own. I needed to refer to the Korean menu item. I’m not fluent in Korean, but I can read and understand basic Korean. But when I get stuck, I turn to translation tools.

I entered the Korean text into both Papago and Google translate when necessary. I used the information I got there, along with my own knowledge of Korean, to rewrite the English entries. So why can’t you do the same?

I didn’t copy and paste those autotranslations. I used them as a basis to write the English translation. Copying and pasting auto-translated text will stick out like a sore thumb. Don’t believe me? Check out this page on my site—just make sure you read to the end.

As a native English speaker, I can polish rough English translations so they flow naturally. This is the crucial step that is missing when Koreans rely on autotranslations. Without this vital step, your translations will be awkward and full of mistakes. 

A screen shot of a poor English translation, which reads: You can taste j-hope's scent and taste, and the neck is simple and clean

For example, this menu featured lots of descriptions of beer and included hops as a main ingredient. These auto-translators sometimes correctly translated 호프 as hops, but sometimes as hope. If you copy and paste those translations, your copy will be full of errors—guaranteed.

So when I say I can manage simple translations, this is what I’m referring to. I can enter Korean text into autotranslation sites and clean up the copy. This works well for simple copy, but the more complex the copy gets, the less reliable it is. If a request to translate something is beyond my ability, I won’t accept the job. I know my capabilities and would never promise to deliver something I couldn’t.

An image of an Macbook on a wooden table, next to some papers and a cup of coffee.

Step 5—Proofreading, formatting, and general document cleanup

The next day, I used my proofreading tools:

  • Google Docs spell checker
  • Grammarly
  • Microsoft Office Read Aloud

These are tools I use. I review each suggestion and then decide which ones to accept based on my knowledge of English. After teaching English for +25 years, I have a better understanding of English than most people. My knowledge continues to grow.

I investigate why Grammarly makes specific suggestions. I determine if those suggestions are correct or not. If they’re right, I learn to check for those errors on my own. I don’t blindly accept every fix that Google Docs or Grammarly suggests. That would be a recipe for disaster.

Another ‘trick’ I use is the Read Aloud function in Microsoft Office. That allows me to hear mistakes that sometimes get missed while reading. This is particularly helpful when a misspelled word doesn’t get picked up by a spellchecker. 

I’ve worked as a professional proofreader for more than 18 months. It never ceases to amaze me the mistakes that can sneak through—even after being proofread by several people. The human brain does a fantastic job of making things appear as they should instead of how they actually are.

I then check that the fonts, font sizes, and formatting are uniform. When you send something to a printer or give it to your website manager, they’ll copy and paste what you give them. If I provide you with a document that is standardized, there’s less chance an error will occur during printing or publishing.

An image of a man staring at a Macbook, intently reading something, as if reviewing something that's been submitted.

Step 6—I’ll deliver the first draft for your review

I delivered the first draft (on time) via Google Docs. Using Google Docs allows me to make comments and get clarification. It also provides the client with a way to ask questions. In this case, there was one Korean term that I didn’t know. I couldn’t find it in any dictionaries, and even my Korean wife didn’t know it. I left a comment asking for clarification.

This client also realized that one of the Korean menu entries was incorrect. That meant the English entry was also incorrect. He shared the corrected Korean entry and provided clarification on the confusing term. I made the corrections and asked if any further edits were required.

An image of a hand holding a smartphone. The phone's screen is blue, and the word "pay" extends off the screen to the right.

Step 7—Payment

I only request payment when the client is completely satisfied. If you need an invoice, I can provide one for you. As a registered business in Korea, I am also able to issue you a cash receipt (현금영수증). The easiest way to pay me is by bank transfer. But I also have other payment methods available, including PayPal, Toss, and cash.

Once the client informed me he was satisfied, I sent him my bank details and issued him a cash receipt. Then he wired the money to my account. I told him that I’d be happy to proofread the printer’s proof (free of charge). This ensures no mistakes occurred in the printing process. I’ll do the same for any web pages or similar projects. 

An image of a woman staring at an Ipad with a huge smile on her face.

That’s how easy it is to work with me

That’s it! Seven simple steps. In this case, I completed the first draft in the promised three days. It took some time to work through the changes and edits as both the client and I were pretty busy. But I will always respond within 24 hours (though often much quicker). 

I’ve never met this client in person. We conducted all our business online. This client spoke English very well, but even if you don’t speak English perfectly, don’t worry! I will never judge your English speaking or chatting—that’s a totally different medium. In fact, if necessary, you can communicate in Korean. I’ll reply in English, but we can both use Papago to understand each other. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Now you know how simple it is to work with me. You have no excuse for not asking for help—remember, that’s the most crucial step! If this post hasn’t answered your questions, please comment below or contact me via email or social media.

So, what can I help you with? Send me a message or leave a comment and let’s get started. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s