Why bother with proof-reading?

27th November 2015

Proof-reading market research surveys, or any documentation for that matter, is an important part of the translation process. The time and money spent on creating the perfect content is wasted if poor grammar is introduced in the translated version.

However, a recent column by author and Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway argues that typos and spelling mistakes don’t really matter. The general idea being that creatives should concentrate on their “ability to write something that provokes a response” as “although the indignation of mortals on typos is overdone, it is usually harmless enough”.

Others go even further and suggest that the insertion of accidental, or even purposeful incorrect spellings can increase the engagement of online blogs and media. One only has to spend a short amount of time on any popular website before seeing comment threads that have been invaded by “Grammar Nazis”, hell bent on making sure everyone knows the correct use of the Oxford comma, and where they should stick their apostrophes! While arguments about the rightful place of the diacritic may not contribute a great deal to the overall subject under discussion, it does mean that social media engagement figures will show an upward trend when it comes to giving a presentation to management.

While the somewhat laissez-faire attitude towards grammar might work in the examples above, in many other situations, bad grammar will be the first thing noticed by a potential Client, leading to a disastrous first impression. Sam Shank, CEO and Co-Founder at HotelTonight and one of LinkedIn’s “Influencers” says that the number two reason for not hiring someone is a typo on the CV – “Speaking of attention to detail, typos are another non-starter […] First impressions matter”.

As a content creator, whether it be blogs, online articles or opinion pieces, it seems clear that the rules can differ depending on the audience. When addressing the public, or users of particular website, using an irreverent or comedic style can be fine, and the use of proper grammar, or lack of, may not matter. In some cases, it might even increase the audience, as people delight in pointing out the most obvious of errors (I’m looking at you, Mail Online!).

When it comes to business communication though, sloppy grammar is inexcusable, and it may well end up losing you the Client. Not only do first impressions count when it comes to proposals, poorly constructed sentences may suggest a lack of care and attention to detail – traits a potential Client doesn’t want to see when deciding who to hand over their project to.

Foreign Tongues Translation can help you avoid these pitfalls by providing our proof-reading service for any translation undertaken, either in-house or by contracted third parties. Our proof-reading service gives peace of mind when it comes to foreign versioning your important documentation, and should be considered a vital step in the translation process for any business communications.

Contact us now for your free, no obligation, quote.

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