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Off topic: The way we read
Thread poster: Kemal Mustajbegovic

Kemal Mustajbegovic  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:43
English to Croatian
+ ...
Sep 16, 2003

I have to share this gem with you.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

And, as one of our colleagues noticed: Now I can throw away my spell checker.

Cheers!


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Pamela Peralta  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 17:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
nice eye and mind exercise Sep 16, 2003

:)

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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:13
English to Tamil
+ ...
The same thing came up very recently Sep 16, 2003

The same thing with the same example came up in a very recent post, vide: http://www.proz.com/topic/14134.

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Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:43
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
very interesting theory... Sep 16, 2003

and it seems to be true - I had no trouble reading and understanding the text at a little under my normal reading speed, I just had to concentrate and really READ. I wonder how much trouble this sort of text gives to non-native speakers and nearly native speakers. Does your reading speed dramatically decrease? What happens to dyslexics?

[Edited at 2003-09-16 06:13]


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 00:43
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
From a translation perspective.... Sep 16, 2003

Is this why we sometimes miss tpyos when we're proof-reading?

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xxxblomguib  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:43
English to Flemish
+ ...
typos in proofing Sep 16, 2003

I think the previous comment (on missing typos when proof-reading)is spot on!
Unless you REALLY READ (and pay 105% attention), these mistakes go unnoticed because the brain automatically corrects them without us noticing. It would be interesting to see if there are some theories about the criteria that have to be met in order to be able to read a "messed up" text. That is, where does one stop "reading" and where does the "geussing" start. I have noticed that the "first and last letter" unchanged, is not sufficient...there are cases in which I can only guess the word...it's like these word games they did on television years ago. If anybody knows some nice references about this kind of theories, I would be interested in finding out about them!


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Federica Jean  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:43
English to Italian
+ ...
Redundancy may be another prerequisite Sep 16, 2003

Stefan Blommaert wrote:
I have noticed that the "first and last letter" unchanged, is not sufficient...there are cases in which I can only guess the word...it's like these word games they did on television years ago.


On reading the text above, my first impression was that reading the longest words required the least reduction in speed. Actually, the one stumbling block in my case was "rset", because my brain automatically corrected it by inserting a "missing letter" = "reset". Since that word did not work at all in the context, I had to stop, read it again and consciously change the order of the letters.

Clearly, inverting the letters' order is not the only way in which we unconsciously correct misspelt words. Therefore I'd agree with Stefan that the "first-and-last-letters rule" alone is not enough. Redundancy (i.e., the number of letters in a single word) seems to be another prerequisite to minimize false guesses whilst reading at normal speed.

Very interesting, thanks!

Federica


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JCEC  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:43
Member
English to French
Not exactly Sep 16, 2003

Alison Riddell-Kachur wrote:

Is this why we sometimes miss tpyos when we're proof-reading?

Experiments have been made filming the eye movement of people proofreading documents they have written.

It turns out that the more familiar you are with the document, the more words you skip and memory makes up for the balance of the message. In the case of a document reread immediately after it has been written, the eye reads approximately one word out of three.

After you have forgotten all about the document, you have to read all the words to get reacquainted with the message and the typos jump to your face.

Before spelling checkers, some professional proofreaders read from right to left so they could concentrate on the spelling without being distracted by meaning.

John

[Edited at 2003-09-16 11:07]


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 00:43
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
That's along the lines of one of my favorite tricks... Sep 16, 2003

JCEC wrote:

Before spelling checkers, some professional proofreaders read from right to left so they could concentrate on the spelling without being distracted by meaning.



One of my favorite tricks when I'm proofing (which I learned from Daina Jauntirans, to whom I'm eternally grateful) is to proofread the document starting with the last sentence first, then the second last, etc. That breaks the "logical flow" in your mind and makes you read what you've really written.


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