Monday, May 10, 2010

What's so funny about proofing, editing, and proofing again?

 I was watching a really impressive webinar today. Very good points that I haven't heard anyone make, at least in my sphere of knowledge and experience. Indeed, I was so impressed with this person that I decided to click to their website to learn some more. From there, I was taken to the site for one of this person's books, which I was considering buying on the spot.

What stunned me, and the reason that I am blogging right now instead of buying a book on Amazon, is that in glancing at the first few lines of copy on the site, I saw two major flubs.

Now, we all make mistakes. I mean, everyone except me. (ha ha) But it really seems like a lot of people are either not cognizant of this fact or they just don't care. This is a sad thing, because to me, a poorly constructed sentence, a misspelled word, or something else along those lines not only bespeaks the potential for not having a grasp of English (pet peeve), but it also tells me that this person doesn't care enough to give things a once-over.

I kind of get laughed at sometimes at my place of employ because I insist on proofreading everything. Thoroughly. My rule: if a page is touched, even if it's just a minor correction, you proof the whole page. Why? Making a single change can push a word down to the next line, which in turn can push the copy into the footer area of a brochure or website. If you don't proofread and really look carefully, you can end up with a product that looks sloppy. It will look like you didn't want to take the time to do things right.

I'm not going to lie to you. Proofreading can be boring. Torturous even. If you are proofreading an e-commerce site or a sales brochure with lots and lots of useful tables and charts, you might feel like you need regular injections of pixie sticks right into your ole veins. But these are steps that have to be taken. I can't tell you how many times proofreading has resulted in us asking questions that really made our clients analyze what they were presenting. "Did you mean to say pack here, or should it say bulk pack?" "Should this be 20 inches or 20 feet?" Little strokes of the keyboard, but boy what a difference.

I did not end up buying this presenter's book. I was completely turned off by the website I visited. Would there be typos in the book as well? I can't be sure. Now, I am more of a stickler than a lot of people, it's true, but let me ask you one question. Would you take advice from a psychologist that kept crying? Would you go to a doctor who couldn't say "surgery" correctly? Similarly, I find it hard to take advice about marketing and my profession from someone who has major typos on the homepage of a representative website. It just doesn't work for me. Does it work for you?

Image by ilker.

1 comment:

Addiopolis said...

I agree with you Margie. I can't imagine that anyone would actually disagree out loud. But, it sure looks like plenty of people don't realize the care that it takes to represent themselves or their products in a way that shows that they care for and know their skills and their products. When you see mistakes that a careful review could have caught it seems to indicate a lack of thoroughness. I admire your care and extensive scrutiny, and I'm sure that it has benefited your agency. Keep it up.