Reasons people think they don’t need a proofreader… 

and reasons they really do.


“I can do it myself”

On my Home page, I’ve already touched on the fact that spell-check won’t spot typos which make real words. In my previous life as a TV graphics operator, I used to regularly type the title ‘China’s Frozen Desert’ for National Geographic Channel. A finger slip on the keyboard might have changed a fascinating geography programme into a cookery show - ‘China’s Frozen Dessert’.

The problem with trying to proof your own work is that you know what it is supposed to say. However slowly and carefully you read each word, you can’t get away from the fact that you wrote it, so you’re more likely to see what should be there, rather than what is actually there.

That’s why in TV nothing is left to chance. Every graphic which goes to air is checked by somebody else. I would swap work with colleagues, or call on members of production who would read aloud what they saw on my screen. And remember, this was just single line programme titles, so how much more important is it to have a fresh pair of eyes look over longer documents?

Of course, there’s more to proofreading than spotting embarrassing typos, but that’s a topic for another blog. For now, when you think you can do it yourself, remember, you really can’t - which is why my friends at National Geographic knew it was worth travelling across London to check that the Taklmakan Desert hadn’t turned to ice-cream…

posted 8th October 2018

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