Does a Proofreading Software Bring More Harm to Your Business Than Good?
- 29 July, 2021
Proofreading software or editing tools are great for catching typos and other grammatical errors. But when it comes to correcting contextual meanings and editing emotion-fueled ad copies, you would always require a human.
Software for copyediting and proofreading is far from ideal. Yet many content writers and editors depend on these contemporary applications to produce flawless work.
Proofreading software like Grammarly, Hemingway app, and Copyscape may be helpful in a number of situations, but relying on them to find and edit clear, crisp, and powerful text is not the most efficient approach to creating great content.
These editing tools usually affect originality and turn intriguing content into uninteresting text blocks.
Let's read on to know what are proofreading software, who uses them, why these tools are not as effective as we may think, and what alternatives can we use.
What is a Proofreading Software?
Grammarly and Hemingway are a few examples of proofreading software that operate as automated scanners, correcting mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, formatting, and syntax.
These online tools come in the form of web applications, browser extensions, and standalone programs.
Typically, these tools analyze your writing and then highlight and/or suggest ways to improve it. Many of these grammar checkers are good at one thing but leave a lot of gaps in other areas.
How Useful Are They?
Sure, they may catch the random misspelt word or omitted question mark, but the issue is, these tools don't comprehend what you're trying to say, the context in which you're saying it, or the tone of voice in which it's going to be read.
This means it may suggest wrong words or add punctuations that completely alter the meaning of your sentence.
What Can Online Proofreading Software Do?
A proofreading software scans the texts and suggests corrections automatically. These recommendations are based on databases of pre-defined grammatical rules as well as previous corrected data.
The majority of grammar and spell checkers will identify errors and enable you to fix them with a single click. This removes the possibility of making a mistake (apart from software bugs).
Grammar Checking On the Web, In Microsoft Office, And On Mobile
Grammarly provides Chrome, Apple Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge browser extensions. When filling out online forms, sending emails, and more, it will review your grammar. The Chrome extension features advanced Google Docs functionality, although it is still in development.
You may also use online checkers as a separate application or in your desktop word processor. This necessitates the use of the Microsoft Office suite on either a PC or a Mac.
Both iOS and Android users may use Grammarly as a keyboard. When composing emails or notes on your phone, this enables you to double-check your grammar and spelling.
Grammarly and other free checkers provide a surface-level tone assessment that promises to make your writing suitable for a certain audience (e.g. formal, informal, etc.).
The majority of the time, this suggestion is based on two criteria: sentence length and vocabulary.
As a consequence, an editing tool often suggests changing your tone of voice when you don't want to, such as when you include quotations from other sources/authors or when you're writing informally about a serious subject or vice versa.
What Can Online Proofreading Software Not Do?
Despite their advantages, online proofreading software has significant drawbacks. This is mostly due to their limited scope and restrictive usage.
They Cannot Recognize Tone of Voice
Undoubtedly, proofreading software is not human so they leave a gap in understanding the tone of a person’s voice.
For example, if you’ve written a formal academic paper, you may wish to include a playful anecdote as well. In your college admissions essay, you may need to cite a statistic. This may cause Grammarly's tone of voice recommendation tool to break down.
Ben Kepes, a Forbes contributor writes:
“Grammarly isn’t a complete replacement for manual proofreading. I was surprised at the number of errors it made—both false positives and not picking up on obvious mistakes in both spelling and grammar…Grammarly does, in my mind, have a part to play in spelling and grammar checks. But for someone looking for a single solution, Grammarly probably isn’t it.”
They Fail to Understand Context
If you use Grammarly Premium, you will find out that it fails to recognize contextual clues in many instances.
Take an example of a verb tense correction: “Sara felt that her research paper is correct” was changed to “was correct” since “felt” is past tense.
According to Grammarly, only when you write “Sara feels” is it acceptable to write “is correct.”
This demonstrates Grammarly's contextual limits and points to a broader issue with AI-based checks.
In this case, John believes his paper is correct. His research remains the same from yesterday to now. John's emotions towards it, on the other hand, may alter.
Hence, proofreading software cannot determine contextually incorrect sentences. In other words, they cannot perceive the meaning of the written document.
Who Uses Proofreading Software?
Despite the problems mentioned above, many writers find proofreading software to be a helpful resource.
Teachers may use them to check for plagiarism, blog writers and marketers can use them to check for readability, and businesses can make sure their marketing copy is error-free.
Let’s look at some advantages but numerous disadvantages of proofreading software:
Proofreading software Pros:
They recognize minor spelling errors and missing punctuation.
If you've misspelt the same word several times in your work, you may fix all of the mistakes at once.
Most proofreading software allows you to modify the vocabulary, so it will pick up errors you know you make often.
Proofreading Software Cons:
When using regional dialects or colloquialisms, proofreading software may consider that term is incorrect. For example, if you’re using “cause” instead of “because” in your dialogues, a spell checker will automatically fill in the whole world, while ruining your dialect.
Spell checkers follow a set of rules, and anything that deviates from them will be flagged as wrong. And, as you are all aware, the English language does not always follow very strict rules.
If you misspell a word but it's a homophone (a word that sounds the same but is spelt differently and has a different meaning), most proofreading software won't catch it. For instance, consider the words wood and would.
Proofreading software won't help you with names or proper nouns either. It will presume it's a name as soon as you put in a capital letter, and won’t recommend any correction for it.
Although most of the mistakes detected by these tools are highlighted, some integrated into your current system may just auto-correct without your awareness. This implies you may wind up with a final piece that contains mistakes that you originally typed properly but your system changed to the wrong term without informing you.
Should You Use Online Proofreading Software?
While online proofreading software must have been created with excellent intentions, the rules by which they operate overlook the majority of problems that a human being might detect, and in certain instances, obeying the pre-set standards may even make the grammar worse.
Moreover, it's possible that being in the habit of using an online grammar tool will make you lazy. You may see that it properly detects a few grammatical mistakes, therefore your brain will automatically turn off to those few difficulties, expecting that your software would detect them.
So, what happens if you don't have access to that software? You've already grown too lazy to correct the mistakes yourself, so they'll simply remain in the final piece. That's not ideal at all!
If you're concerned about how your work seems to others, it's critical to get every word and speech mark in place. So, what's the other option?
Online Proofreading Services
Without any doubt, there's no replacement for a human eye. A proofreader's duty is to grasp the context of each word, the dialect of each character, and the overall tone of your work.
They'll go through the whole work and point out any errors in language, sentence structure, spelling, or punctuation so it's ready to publish.
A freelance proofreader is the most prevalent kind of editor, and they're a huge help to anybody trying to have their work rechecked and published.
A freelance proofreader will bring your sentences together from the viewpoint of a reader, rather than relying on a set of rules that may or may not be applicable, as proofreading software usually does.
Moreover, they can provide you with precise feedback and suggestions on what your target audience is likely to read wrong, as well as point out obvious mistakes that need immediate correction.
Their suggestions may help you improve your work with time so you won’t make the same errors over and over again.
So, Should You Hire a Freelance Proofreader?
Yes! Proofreaders consistently outperform even the best proofreading software available.
Always keep in mind that humans are always wiser than software. You may get your hands on different tools to assist you, but you should never depend entirely on them to produce that flawless piece of work.
Hire an expert freelance proofreader via an affordable platform to get your editing tasks done within budget and in no time.
Online proofreading software, while convenient, is limited. They advertise themselves as AI-driven technology, yet there is no true "artificial intelligence" or continuous learning going on.
As a result, online proofreading software lacks contextual subtlety and understanding, resulting in a high number of false positives due to their inability to comprehend user meaning.
On the other side of the spectrum, online proofreading services have always been around. A good human proofreader is irreplaceable in the right situation.
That's all there is to it. You can always go to hire expert freelance proofreaders to produce content that will pique your readers' attention by using SEO-friendly, grammatically accurate content.