Thursday, 21 May 2009

Why employ a proofreader/editor?

Many people think 'surely a word processor like Microsoft Word can pick up spelling and grammar errors? Plus, I'll give it a look over before I'm finished with it...'

There are two reasons why this strategy won't give you the best result:

  • Word processors will pick up obvious spelling errors like 'wrting', but won't pick up homophones like 'their', 'they're' and 'there'.
  • Proofreading your own work is nigh on impossible. I'm a proofreader by trade, but sometimes miss my own errors. A writer is too close to their writing to notice spelling mistakes - your brain is designed to take shortcuts (called schemas). These shortcuts lead you to miss certain things because you've already seen something and processed it - you don't always see something how it actually is; your brain does a lot of guesswork. It's a bit like how a website 'caches' information - it only reloads something when it's new or the original information has been deleted. That's why you press F5 to get a website to reload when something's been changed on a page. I often wish I could 'F5' my own brain after a late night!
Quickly glance at this picture: Notice anything strange? Until you find it, you won't see what the point of the picture is.

Once you've worked it out, you'll know what I mean about the difficulty of proofreading when your brain is tricking you with schemas!

If you're looking for a fast and accurate proofreader/editor, then please contact me via my website for more information.

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