by Mike McNamee Published 01/08/2016
Spellcheckers: not as magical as you might think
There is a widely held belief in the 21st century that as long as you run any Word document through the spellchecker function, you'll be fine. Wrong! Spellcheckers do precisely what they say on the tin: they flag up if a word is incorrectly spelt. What they are not quite so adept at doing is identifying whether that word they've 'passed' as correctly spelt is actually the word that the writer intended to use in the context.
To illustrate my point, here's a selection of the hundreds of mistakes I've seen spellcheckers miss in documents that I've proofed over the years:
'Trail' instead of 'trial'
'Poses' instead of 'possess'
'Notorious' instead of 'nutritious'
'Form' instead of 'from'
'Out' instead of 'our'
'Of' instead of 'or'
'Manger' instead of 'manager'
'Pubic' instead of 'public'
Are you still happy to trust that your spellchecker is an effective proofreader?
Does accuracy really matter? Yes!
Of course, there is a school of thought that the odd typo is not really of any consequence in this modern age of rapid texting, with its inherent use of abbreviated word forms for speed and convenience. Yet while 'text talk' variations on standard written English conventions may be quasiacceptable (to the less pedantic, at least...) for informal communications, if you want your photography business to be taken seriously by potential customers then your i's do need to be daintily dotted and your t's firmly crossed.
Take websites and blogs, for example. Your photography website and blog are essentially your shop window to the world - your chance to talk directly to your potential customers, sharing your work and your expertise and generally persuading them that you're a professional whose photographic marvels they should be queuing up to buy. But what if instead of being wowed by your wonderful images, they're too busy shaking their heads over your poorly written prose? Immediately your reputation and the quality of your work - be that generating photos or words - has a big, gloomy, typo-filled cloud hanging over it.
And it's not just blogs and websites. The same principle applies to any written material - whether it be promotional or simply business correspondence - that you issue using your professional name, e.g. business cards, emails, letters, brochures, flyers...
No matter how eye-catching and compelling your photos, if they are accompanied by poorly spelt or phrased English, this will inevitably detract from their overall impact on your potential customers. The devil is in the detail, and that's why it's so important to proofread what you've written - or, as Mike suggests, hire a professional proofreader to do so - before you publish it!
I have taken the opportunity of checking some of the websites mentioned within this issue of Professional Imagemaker and, lo and behold, there are mistakes out there! Are they in your website? That would be telling...
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