Automated vs Intuitive editing!!
Deepti Mahajan / December 2021
Automated vs Intuitive editing!!
Consider this excerpt from a case study…..
Samantha started as a young recruit in an MNC, navigated her way through multiple, personal, cultural and logistic issues and made it to the middle management level. His commitment and consistency made her a force to reckon with and ensured her upward mobility…
(Assume a huge amount of data covering Samantha’s journey comprising her successes, failures, challenges and other characters)
… This ensured that Ruby not only resigned after a glorious career, but she did so on a negative note.
HIS? HER? SAMANTHA? RUBY?
Confused much yet? A lot of drafts I receive are along these lines. The text starts with Samantha, the strong and resilient. As the story progresses, she cracks under the smallest of issues, flip-flops between being a he and a she and even transforms into a Ruby at times. Not only Samantha, but also a lot of other characters in the story also undergo similar morphosis. I was reasonably convinced that midway during this case study, I had moved on to another document.
In another case…
The team had 30 days to wrap up the project. All the team members spent the first 5 days trying to get their ducks in line. On the sixth day the strategy meeting started…
(Insert jargon-heavy dialogues, data, data and then some more data followed by arguments and disagreements during the strategy meeting)
They came out of the two-day meeting with a solid plan for the next 27 days to meet the 30-day deadline……
Hang on I say!!! 30 days for the project, 5 days to get your poultry in-line, 2 days of meeting…… YOU HAVE 23 DAYS LEFT PEOPLE!! HOW CAN YOU STRATEGISE FOR 27 DAYS?
Writing is an overwhelming task for most of us. Great writing is not just about putting pen to paper. It goes well beyond the accuracy of your content. Whether it is a case study, a research paper, an article or even a work of fiction, there are many aspects of language and content that separate good content from great content. It needs to have a logical flow, should be interpreted by your reader the same way you meant it to be and is consistent in expression.
You are the subject matter expert on your content. You are the only one who knows what you want to achieve as an outcome of the content. This however, has a downside. You know your content so well that, when you try to read it back, you tend to read it off your mind instead of reading it off the paper.
A lot of authors today question whether an automated language check is enough to ensure accuracy of language. While it is great to use a software, there is a cognitive ability that a professional (human) editor brings to the table that enables him or her to add value beyond the functionality of a software (refer to the two examples quoted above).
Does this mean that you shouldn’t use the software? Absolutely not!! Please by all means do that. An ideal solution is to amalgamate the skill of a software with a flesh-and-bones editor because the software might not raise alarms when you make this declare in your document that, it was a mandate for all employees in the organisation to surrender their official laptops before living”.