Everyone’s spotted a typo in an email or document they should have noticed before hitting send.
And sod’s law being what it is, your boss or colleague will spot the typo straightaway.
It’s always easy to find mistakes after the fact. You probably read over the document quickly. But you’re not a proofreader. And the truth is you can’t see your own typos. They’re very difficult to spot when you’ve personally written or been involved in producing a document.
Imagine how you’d feel if you were the person who’d written the following:
- The report telling shareholders they will be receiving ‘divideds’? (This is a typo we picked up while proofreading an annual report for a major bank – the day before the 150-page document was due to go to print.)
- The annual report informing shareholders that their investment in an ‘Austrailan’ business was flying high?
- The gift message that said ‘with out love’ instead of ‘with our love’.
- The ‘nuclear proposition’ instead of the ‘unclear proposition’.
The reason you can’t see your own typos
These typos are all ones we’ve found when proofreading for listed Australian companies. Mistakes like these occur because when you read something you’ve written, you know what’s coming next so your brain jumps ahead, missing mistakes such as typos.
Whether you’ve spent two minutes drafting an email or weeks of your life writing and editing a report, it’s hard to focus on being a proofreader par excellence, even if your reputation depends on professional, polished content.
So, how do you easily check that your document is typo-free?
By being your own proofreader.
How to avoid typos
As you’re probably not a professional proofreader by trade, here are some tips to help you with proofreading:
1. Print out the document and read it aloud. You’ll see and hear the mistakes and where the language is clunky.
2. If the document isn’t too long, print it and read from the last word to the first. Although you’ll miss words that have been omitted, you’ll see each word as a separate entity and therefore spot typos.
3. Ask professional proofreaders, like Proof Communications, to help you. We’ve been proofreaders for years for listed companies and can spot a typo at 20 paces.
You’ll find more great tips in our very short video below.
For support from professional proofreaders in Australia, contact Proof Communications on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216 or head to the contact page.