THE ESSENCE OF PROOFREADING SERVICES

Quite a sizeable proportion of people and organizations in the developing countries are yet to grasp the essence of proofreading services. It is surprising that even some newspapers and magazines either because of ignorance or little financial cost implications skip this function, thus relying on the reporters and contributors to submit error-free articles. It is no wonder that a glance at a sample of magazines, newspapers, and even textbooks would reveal varying degrees of errors. This all shows that proofreading services are yet to be fully appreciated.

Defects in a publication can be grouped into factual, typographical and grammatical. A factual error is simply an error made due to inaccurate or wrong information while typographical mistakes are due to wrong keying in of information. Grammatical errors are usually due to poor sentence structure, tenses and wrong use of words. Here is an illustration from ‘A book on HTML’, which was to be recommended by an uncle to his son but was declined as a result of numerous inaccurate, misleading statements and inability of the author to explain critical issues.

Example:

Lesson 1. The basics, has an unclear and misleading information of what it means to set background color, and wrongly states that the symbol are referred to as Carats.

Lesson 8. Color Choice, uses hexadecimal without shedding light on its use.

Worse still, the lessons are numbered inconsistently in the title, and table of contents.

Sometimes, a well-written piece may be marred by factual/typographical blunders. The text could be reporting an event, probably; the visit of the External Affairs Minister of Nigeria to the United Nations, but the picture of the Ghanaian Head of State is tucked beside. There are also Proofreading Services when the contents of a major report are totally at variance with the captioned news item.

Example.

A caption in a leading newspaper reads “The Geshi celebrates Ndi Ani Day” while the body states “ The Lagos branch of the Geshi Town celebrates the end of 2003 on Sunday, December22, 2003.

The truth is that the human mind is structured such that it is more difficult to detect errors one is familiar with immediately. This is because our familiarity with the document we have just written makes it difficult to spot errors in the piece. Besides, because of tight work schedule, creating another time to check the manuscript is usually not possible. Also, the need to meet deadlines exerts unusual pressure on writers. All these show that proofreading services should be relegated to the background.

Poor publications have adverse effects on the image, reputation, credibility of your company and clients. For instance, if a document contains errors in pricing, or incomplete information, money will be lost on accounts and the company might fail to get another account while spending money in reprints, second mailings and overtime. Such blunders can also make customers to doubt the company’s professionalism and downgrade the company on the priority list.

Secondly, there is the cost of space paid in the newspapers for retracting misleading information as well as apology tendered for very harmful errors.

Equally important is the loss of man-hours expended in effecting necessary corrections, which should have been utilized for productive ventures that would improve the company’s bottom-line.

Thirdly, inappropriately crafted and incompletely written, edited, proofread documents such as employee handbooks could easily be exploited by aggrieved staff to the detriment of the company.

Fourthly, documents that are consistently poorly edited could lead to a dip in sales volume, as your client may be forced to review their relationship with the company. This will invariably have adverse effects on the bottom-line. Proofreading services are therefore essential to the survival of any organization