How Lack of Professional Proofreading
Can Lead to Disastrous Consequences
You probably know that the sharp increase of writing prompted by the ubiquity of email, along with the ever-lowering standards of careful writing has led to an explosion in basic errors in grammar, spelling and simple word usage, errors that can have bad consequences in business and professional settings (errors are even on the rise at major newspapers, as the ranks of copy editors continues to grow ever smaller). But mistakes aren't even confined to those areas, abundant though they are.
The other day, the Wall Street Journal noted a potentially disastrous error that a federal regulatory agency made in announcing the failure of a Savings & Loan. The agency's PR folks sent a press release that contained editorial changes from an earlier version of the document, still showing information crossed out in track changes (an editing feature in the Microsoft Word program) about a future regulatory action that was supposed to remain secret. They quickly sent another email to the media, asking that the earlier version be ignored, which as you might imagine was itself ignored. So what to do in guarding against these kinds of things? That's easy, actually. Never send any important email announcement without first emailing it to yourself, and then printing it out to read carefully. If you're not too sharp-eyed about language errors, share the printout with someone who is. And if you run a PR or marketing department, hire only people who have these skills. Voila!--like magic, the problem will be solved.