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You Know the Typo

A guest blog from co-author of Mind the Career Gap, David Palmer-Mitchell.

You Know the Typo

The rise of the Typo and the curse of the auto correct have been blighting writing and writers for decades.

Spellcheckers have their uses but the regrettable truth is that spellcheckers are designed to highlight words that are not listed in dictionaries.  I intend to demonstrate that many of us require protection from the words that do appear in dictionaries.

To my cost I have been a victim of this undermining menace on more than one occasion.  I will always remember the time I submitted an article to a Welsh magazine only to receive a brief note in reply informing me that Wales is a country with a total area of 20,779 km and not the world’s largest mammal.

This is innocent enough but three years later after unsuccessfully applying for a succession of jobs I checked my CV and discovered I had omitted the letter L from the word public.  This error was compounded considerably by the fact this typo occurred in a sentence that read “enjoys working with the public”

We work at speed for long hours, under great pressure and often in unsuitable environments.  I have seen colleagues almost collapsing at their keyboards and late night commuters running on caffeine fumes as they race to finish emails.  None of us are safe.

Starting an email with the salutation “Dead Sir” is cringe worthy but take pity on the Manager who sent an organization wide email that ended with the valediction “Kind Retards”

There is a temptation to laugh but these mistakes frequently involve the most unfortunate words. The decline of our collective language has lowered the tone of our collective dictionaries.  You only have to take a look at the recent additions to the Oxford dictionary to take my meaning.   I don’t wish to lower the general tone any further but I advise anyone with a less than impeccable attention to detail to remove the word can’t from their vocabulary with immediate effect.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/oxford-english-dictionary-new-words-for-march-2014-include-cted-beatboxer-and-bestie-9196992.html

There thankfully are free solutions. When our eyes fail us most of us have our ears to turn to.  Text to speech software (TTS) has improved dramatically over recent years and is readily available. There is a wide variety of apps and internet sites providing this function. I have listed a few of the available options below.

Microsoft Word

Word includes a slightly robotic yet free and conveniently placed speak option.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/word-help/using-the-speak-text-to-speech-feature-HA102066711.aspx

Websites

A search engine will find a wide selection of text to speech online services.  The quality is rarely any better than word and usually involves pop ups and advertisements.  I would recommend moving straight on to the Apps section.

http://www.naturalreaders.com/

http://www.fromtexttospeech.com/

Apps

As ever there is an app for this.  I recently purchased Voice Dream from the Apple store which is an editor and offers high quality voices for an additional charge.

http://www.appspicker.com/2013/06/5-best-text-to-speech-apps-for-iphone-ipad.html

http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/11/5-excellent-text-to-speech-ipad-apps.html

Conclusion

I hope I have managed to covey a very real problem in a constructive manner.  Any typo in a document or professional email is potentially undermining.  Text to speech software is an effective solution.

Daniel Walker, author of Amazon eBook Mind the Career Gap, gives exciting and successful pointers
Tricia Phillips, Daily Mirror

daniel walkerDaniel Walker
07907 582898
T: @MindCareerGap
w: www.mindthecareergap.com

4 thoughts on “You Know the Typo

  1. It’s also worth considering employing a human proof-reader for documents which are important or which reflect on you or your business. A professional proofreader isn’t usually expensive, but even asking a friend or family member to cast an eye over your words may pick up errors you as the author haven’t seen. I often run my blog posts past a colleague before publishing to check for mistakes and clarity.

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    1. Hi Maggie,
      Thanks for reading! I agree, a human element is my usual first port of call too, they are also more likely to feedback when a sentence doesn’t read to well!

      I’ve seen a lot of people are offering a cheap proof-reading services (along with some random other stuff) at http://www.fiverr.com
      At $5 a time, you can’t get much cheaper than that!

      Like

  2. Thanks Mary. My friend David (who wrote this blog) and I are both dyslexic so whilst sometimes we can empathise when we see a horrendous mistake (and are guilty of making them ourselves) we also know that it can discredit all the hard work and achievements a job seeker has attained.

    Personally I think I could let one small mistake go ( we all live busy lives!) but there are many who wouldn’t!

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