Oh, those pesky typos

Anyone working with words, be it as a writer, a teacher, a translator, or similar, knows exactly what I mean. No matter how many times you look over and read through something, there is bound to be a typo hidden somewhere in that text, and it’s not even a matter of how long it is – even single-sentence tasks can hide them quite well from the author’s eye.

I’m not a touch typist (primarily because I switch the keyboard layout between languages), but I am pretty fast. Unfortunately, that means my brain sometimes gets ahead of my fingers, resulting in typos, left-out words (or even phrases), spaces in the wrong place, etc.
Of course I use spellcheckers, but if the word exists, yet it is in the wrong context, it won’t show up with that red squiggly line underneath.

Today’s CAT tools usually have some kind of quality management tool included, and there are plenty of programs for that purpose, helping with numbers, terminology or even grammar. But even they don’t see everything – it’s algorithms, not a brain, after all.

One trick I use before turning in my translations, for example, is to look at it again the next day or, if I don’t have that much time, to do something different in between and then look at it again.
Reading the text out loud is also helpful, especially when it is of a less technical and more creative nature, like advertising.
Having a second (or maybe even third) pair of eyes proofread it would of
course be ideal, but that’s not always an option in every situation.
Especially when the translation was difficult, long, involved a lot of research, or when it was finished at the end of a long day, I am astounded (and a little embarrassed) at the errors that slipped in.

Wired.com has an article on just this problem of typos (you can read it here), and I found it comforting to read that there is nothing wrong with me (or my brain), just because I make typos. On the contrary, it apparently shows that I am working at such a high level that my brain simply has more important things to do than deal with things as trivial as spelling.

So, after reading through this post several times, I hope I was able trick my brain into seeing it as brand new and catch all the mistakes… But if you still find something – you may keep it, as one of my colleagues put it! ūüėČ

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