Human proofreading vs. proofreading by machine

The life of a researcher is as busy as a bee. Between the process of designing and performing studies, applying for funding, attending conferences m writing manuscripts and multiple other commitments, there is hardly anytime that is left for a   task called proofreading. Though it is a very important part, it often goes neglected. One of the fast paced approach for this is to use the automated proof-reader. It typically comprises fast paced web based services or plug ins that can be used for checking grammar, spelling and style. These proof-readers have lot of advantages, few main ones being that they are available 24X7, give quick results and are most of the times comfortable on the pocket. This makes them as a very luring and attractive option. However there aren’t all positive reviews about these services. Many a times these programmes have been found to miss errors and inconsistencies, which is the main task of proofreading and eve suggest changes that could be unnecessary. It sometimes even over looks logical gaps in content. But at the same time human proofreading is also not flawless and is surely subject to oversights and misinterpretations. So which is a good alternative?

 There is one area, according to me, where the preference of a human proof-reader would be more than that of the digital one. That area is surely the area of academic research and understanding the use of field specific terms. The online software would only focus upon contextual spellings, grammar, punctuations and style but overlook the flow and logic in the document. The human expert eye would read the document from the perspective of an average reader and find flaws that may not be technically wrong always but could be made simpler or easier for the average reader. This is one of the most crucial advantage of human proofreading even if it takes more time and money as compared to its digital counterpart.

Basically, automated proofreading services aren’t intended fir writers to achieve master of a higher level in the language. They are useful and acceptable for basic proofreading and surely not the best choice for technical writing. Live subject area experts surely have an advantage here.

So next time when you are tempted to go for digitised proofreading to save time and money, know what to expect and ensure your expectations match with  the objective of proofreading set by you.

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