amastyleinsider

May 31, 2011

Editors’ Eyes

Filed under: editing process — amastyleinsider @ 9:49 am
Tags: , ,

The dialog box in Word suggests unironically that I should consider changing antidiabetic to ant diabetic. Is there a hyperglycemic epidemic in the insect population that I missed hearing about?

Spell-check can be a useful tool that improves the quality and readability of content. But as editors and readers know all too well, spell-check can be dangerous if wielded indiscriminately. Instead of making the role of a human editor obsolete, spell-check has only underscored the need for such professionals.

Several papers submitted to JAMA recently proved this point. I usually run spell-check after I complete my editing in case I missed something. In addition to the diabetic ants, Word suggested the following: change metformin to motormen, pertussis to peruses, autonomously to gluttonously, and PDF to puff.

I politely declined all these fine suggestions but was grateful when Word spotted terible that should have been tertile. What a difference a word makes.

Over time spell-check has become more useful because I regularly add words to my locally stored dictionary (“Add to Dictionary” in the dialog box). In addition, Dorland’s offers a medical spell-checker that can be integrated directly into Word and Stedman’s offers a medical spell-checker as well

Despite these useful add-ons, I still like to read articles word-for-word, when time permits, and not rely solely on technology to prevent errors. The ants, I’m afraid, are beyond my expertise.—Stacy L. Christiansen, MA

2 Comments »

  1. What excellent advice and thanks for the info about the additional medical spelling checkers. Sometimes I suspect my “personal dictionary” is larger than the built-in one in Word.

    Comment by Georganna Hancock — May 31, 2011 @ 11:12 am | Reply

  2. I am also greatful for human editors as a regular profession. It is crazy how many documents I see that obviously did not have a quick read through before publishing.

    http://www.morespecifically.com

    Comment by Andrea Altenburg — May 31, 2011 @ 1:33 pm | Reply


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