Can a virtual spellcheck replace a real person?

Can a virtual spellcheck replace a real person?

Another gizmo landed on my desk this morning and being the gadget-freak that I am, I was itching to try it out. claims to be able to correct your grammar automatically and give you consistent punctuation throughout a document…  Well that sounds like a challenge to me!  So I ran it through my usual document that I use for recruiting VAs.  To be fair, this is a particularly nasty test and the pass rate hovers around 10% even when recruiting experienced VAs.

Results of a virtual spellcheck - is it as good as a real person?

The results for the gizmo were not good – it would have failed with a score of just 2/14 grammatical or spelling mistakes picked up by their automatic checker, and both the corrections it made would be picked up by Word’s own spell-check.

Machine = 0, Human = 1

Can a virtual spellcheck replace a real person?

Frequently Missed Corrections:

  • Its / It’s
  • Meter / metre
  • Effect / affect
  • Your / You’re
  • Practice / Practise
  • Principal / Principle
  • Stationary / Stationery
  • Missing capital letters
  • American spellings – -ise vs -ize, colour vs color etc.

Why are proofreaders still needed?

The reason that a human being with reasonable proofreading skills still far outweighs a machine is that we have the power of reasoning.  So we know that meters (as in electrical) are not the same as a metres (the measurement).  Ditto we can tell apart our sight (using our eyes) from the site (the land we are looking at).  There / their still get confused.  And we always need to be able to check the spelling of places or people with a bit of common sense (perhaps helped by Google or Royal Mail’s postcode checker, or making your your references all work properly and update automatically).

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