Archive for August 4th, 2011
We are all human. That is to say, we all make mistakes. But some mistakes can just make us look foolish. Things you say, well they can be ignored, covered up and forgotten. But when we put digit to keyboard and create words that people can read, mistakes in this context can have a very long life.
Imagine sending a proposal or long email that was full of typos, grammatical errors, or misspelt words. One or two may be overlooked, but if it makes our proposal look silly, it will dilute any message we are trying to get across.
Getting Others to Proof Read
I have talked before about getting somebody else to proof read important documents and proposals. I generally read over important documents 3 or 4 times, and even though I am convinced its perfect, my wife then reads them and makes hundreds of corrections.
The reason we don’t spot our own mistakes, is because we typed the original words. If I go to type “the cat sat on the mat” but for whatever reason I become distracted and miss out a word, when I re-read “the cat sat the mat”, my brain will insert the missing word as I read it – I imagine its there, because I expect it to be there. Its what I thought when I typed it – it should be there.
The Automated Solution
So what happens when my wife is away on business, busy or just not available to proof read my work? Then what?
Well, recently I discovered a product called “Natural Readers”. This is a text to speech engine which integrates with office products (word, excel, outlook, etc) and reads back your text. You can lean back, and listen to your words. There is no chance of the missed or incorrect words being jumped or changed in your mind when they are read back to you.
Now Microsoft Windows has a basic Text to Speech engine for free (Natural Readers has a free product, but the good product costs £30), but it’s awful to use, and impossible to understand. Natural readers has real voices, and it sounds almost like somebody is really speaking. You can select different voices, including American, British and foreign voices, both male and female.
If you ever have to create proposals, and you want a good way of checking for those errors, then this is recommended.