Editors are often advised to read manuscripts aloud, as you will catch mistakes that you might not when reading silently. Recently I got an excellent editing tip from the blog The Blood Red Pencil (http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com) that takes this advice one step further.
Convert the manuscript into a PDF file, then on the View menu click the Read Aloud function. Adobe will read aloud to you. It’s true, the voice (mine is female, so I assume they all are) reads in a mechanical monotone, but this is a plus. You will hear each individual word that way. The first time I tried this, I was amazed at how much easier, faster, and more efficient this was. If you’re editing your own, or someone else’s work, I urge you to try this.
Of course, it’s not perfect. Adobe has some strange ideas about pronunciation. The manuscript I first edited this way was about succeeding in small business, and it included the word “referral” (and its variations) often. The PDF lady thinks this word is pronounced “reFAYrul”. I can’t imagine why, but that’s what she thinks. She also does not recognize the name “Jan”. The book mentioned someone named “Jan Smith” but the PDF lady read this as “January Smith.” There was also a “Cal Jones” in the manuscript, and the PDF lady read this as “calendar Jones.” And if you end a sentence with the word “is”, be prepared for the PDF lady to read this as “island.”
But after you get used to these peculiarities, it’s a fine way to edit. I recommend it.