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