Think you’ve found all the typos and grammatical errors in your document? Think again.
If you’ve been closely involved in writing an important stakeholder document, it’s very easy to miss typos and other errors, even if you’ve re-read the document a thousand times. That’s because when you’re proofreading a document that you’ve written, you know what’s coming next. Your brain skips ahead and so you don’t see typos, missing words, extra words and other errors.
It’s easy to do.
Pity the poor typesetter 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.
Organisations with important documents, especially public-facing documents such as annual reports, financial reports, reconciliation action plans, sustainability reports, PDS, IPO documents and major tenders, know the value of having a professional proofreader to proof their documents before their release.
Our proofreaders and copy editors typically make 10 mark-ups per page when proofreading an annual report, for example. In a 100-page document, that’s 1,000 corrections that the client didn’t pick up during their internal review.
If this doesn’t convince you of the value of professional proofreading services, here are four benefits of using professional proofreading services:
1. Assurance for your brand – professional proofreaders help to avoid public embarrassment
In 2011, the Australian Defence Force came under fire for issuing service personnel in the Middle East with embroidered badges identifying them as belonging to the ‘Royal Australlian Navy’.
The story received world-wide media coverage and undoubtedly caused red faces.
As Shadow Defence Minister at the time, David Johnston, remarked: “To have a badge on their upper arm that misspells our country… it doesn’t get any worse than that.”
Damage to organisational image and brand can be as devastating as a fire, according to market specialists. Rebuilding good consumer perception of your product or service can take far longer than the time required to rebuild the factory that makes it, however.
2. Professional proofreaders can save you money and time
Regardless of how a mistake slips through, the costs to rectify the error can be substantial. Time taken to identify how and where the error has occurred, rewriting, proofing, reprinting and so on, all adds up.
3. Professional proofreaders find what you’ve missed
Take these errors our proofreaders have picked up in recent times.
- A client’s global sustainability report confidently said 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 team was “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.
Of course, there are repeat offender words where doubled 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 important to making sure your document is as word perfect as it can be. 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.
4. It’s more than just typos – professional proofreaders can fact check too
When The Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, reported 30,000 pigs had been swept away in floods in Queensland, did either the reporter or editor stop to consider what a huge number that was? Clearly not. The farmer had actually told the newspaper that he had lost 30 sows and pigs!
When the error was reported on TV and in the weekend newspapers, no doubt there were a few giggles. While the truth can get in the way of a good story, failing to check your facts in business writing could be a plain embarrassing, if not a recipe for disaster.
Using over-inflated statistics, false claims or, simply, incorrect statements makes you appear, at best, unreliable, at worst, stupid. Readers will question your credibility and capability if they spot inconsistencies or errors in your writing.
Why use professional proofreading services?
Proofreading is seen as a last minute add-on; something that’s a luxury rather than a necessity. Yet, without thorough proofreading, the clients mentioned in the bullet points above could have spent tens of thousands having their reports re-typeset after the corrections were made.
The secret to error-free work? Use professional proofreading services to put your important documents under the microscope.
Contact us today for your professional proofreading needs
Partnering with the professional proof readers at Proof Communications will help you to ensure your documents are spot-on and increase your opportunity for success. Get in touch or ring us on 02 8036 5532 or 0448 566 377 to learn what we can do for your business.