The Impotence of Proofreading

The mistake (above) is one of the more obvious types of typos that catch our eye because it’s not only wrong, it’s entertaining. But so often mistakes aren’t obvious. Typos and grammatical errors are regularly missed because we scan rather than read a sentence; we see what we logically think or expect we should see. But don’t be fooled. Those pesky mistakes are out there!

Take these typos we’ve picked up in recent times.

  • A client’s global sustainability review confidently told us that their team was “Singing the agreement.”
  • We discovered one of the country’s most famous listed companies describing itself as “Australain”. The same company also had a photo in its annual report with its major competitor’s logo on full display.
  • Then there was the big 4 bank that was issuing “divideds” to its shareholders.
  • And let’s not forget the major law firm, whose management were “nuclear about the brief”. A second law firm talked of “following strict polices”.
  • Yet another report chose a shot of the entrance to the company’s head office. Fine, apart from accidentally using a reverse image showing the street numbers back to front.
  • Not to mention a national healthcare provider’s concerns about  “scare” medical resources.

Of course, there are repeat offender words where double up or missing letters can be hard to detect. “Managment”, “succcess”, “facilties”, “liase”, “businessses”, “abilties”, “technincians”, and oh, about a thousand more.

It’s this kind of “peripheral mistake spotting” that’s equally important to getting the job done and any proofreader worth their salt will ensure everything on a page is as it should be. A bad impression on an audience can be made by so much more than just typos in the text.

Of course, every language has its pitfalls. Pity the poor typesetter recently found responsible for using the wrong Chinese character in an article published by Tencent, China’s online news portal. Instead of reporting that President Xi Jinping “delivered an important speech”, the similar sounding character changed the meaning to “violently flipped out”.  Oops.

The secret to error-free work? Seriously consider outsourcing your proofreading to a professional and let them deal with the stress of putting your publication under the microscope.

For help with copywriting, proofreading or editing any of your business documents, contact Proof Communications on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216 or head to the contact page.

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