Off topic: BBC: "Spelling mistakes 'cost millions' in lost online sales"
Thread poster: Nesrin

Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:34
English to Arabic
+ ...
Jul 14, 2011

"... the big problem for online firms isn't technology but finding staff who can spell
... revenue was twice as high after an error was corrected."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14130854


And that's just the original English-language websites! Someone has yet to conduct a study on the millions that cheap translations are costing online companies...


[Edited at 2011-07-14 09:34 GMT]


 

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:34
English
+ ...
That's what I've been telling people for years. Jul 14, 2011

That's why they need their website texts properly edited and proofread.
Thanks for the link, Nesrin.


 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 11:34
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Typing With or Without Mistakes Jul 14, 2011

I can certainly agree with that. Typing without spelling errors is the same as entering passwords. You have to do it correctly. There is no other way. Well, maybe search engines like Google will evolve to recognize spelling mistakes when doing web search. Still, it is a waste of time to look for spelling mistakes and try to correct/compensate for them. And that translates into inefficiency. I do not think the 21st century will tolerate inefficiency.

 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:34
French to English
+ ...
But... Jul 14, 2011

So obviously a text littered with spelling mistakes can give an oerall "bad impression". But in the case of a web site, the situation is a bit more complicated, because spelling can affect how a site is indexed and hence how easily clients find it/how highly it is ranked given particular search terms (either positively or negatively, paradoxically).

 

Bernard Lieber  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:34
English to French
+ ...
Not only an English (UK/US) Issue Jul 14, 2011

Whenever you google English sites, most of the time wording and style is either quite poor or ridden with typos. The new trend seems to be that European and Asian engineers draft their documentation in English to save time and money and no matter how good their product is, it is certainly detrimental to the company's image.

The last three jobs I unfortunately accepted were ridden with the above flaws - my only option now is to go through the files and turn the job down as I don't feel like fixing up shorcomings in the source language.


 

Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:34
German to English
+ ...
Smiling Jul 14, 2011

Neil Coffey wrote:

So obviously a text littered with spelling mistakes can give an oerall "bad impression".


No doubt, your typo was intentional Neil. (Should I use a smiley here?)

My initial reaction was to quote a Facebook comment by a teenager (English native, Southern Africa) about to leave school. This person has benefited from arguably one of the best educations around.

Be prepared to wince:

"So it was 14 degrees C today and i froze like seriously FROZE! People who live in contries that snow are freaking out of there minds!!!"

A quick count tells me I used my mental editing pen nine times. The above are not typographical errors. The girl cannot spell. Seriously.

She is not alone.

[Edited at 2011-07-14 23:15 GMT]


 

Michael Grant
Japan
Local time: 17:34
Japanese to English
Three strikes, and you are out! Jul 15, 2011

When reading online forums, product descriptions, etc., I find that three spelling or grammar mistakes is my limit. I stop reading after the third error because I feel it is a waste of my time and energy to mentally correct for the errors. And, the same goes for text-speak/Twitter-speak: I just refuse to read it!

A couple of examples(found here: http://www.lingo2word.com), for your edification.

havnt u been arestd yet...????
...Its illegal to look dat good


Or how about this:

lyf aint measured by D amt of breaths we taK,
bt by D moments dat taK ur breth awy.


My head hurts just typing this!...


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:34
French to English
+ ...
Facebook != professional business material Jul 15, 2011

Allison Wright wrote:
"So it was 14 degrees C today and i froze like seriously FROZE! People who live in contries that snow are freaking out of there minds!!!"


As an example of "average level of English of a teenager writing on Facebook", this isn't terribly shocking. On the other hand, it demonstrates that "average level of English of a teenager writing on Facebook" isn't the level of English you require for the production of professional business material...


 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:34
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Teenage spelling Jul 15, 2011

I seem to recall reading somewhere that a study had found that teens use deliberately bad spelling and grammar codes that are different from Queen's English, when texting and using Facebook etc., as a badge of identity. They were found to be capable of better spelling and grammar in other contexts. Though there never was a golden age when everyone could spell and do mental arithmetic in their sleep, I do think that things have deteriorated as a result of people reading edited, printed material less and reading unedited online material more. Books, newspapers and magazines also tend to be written and edited by professionals and so fewer errors get through.

 

sailingshoes
Local time: 10:34
Spanish to English
This is all wrong Jul 15, 2011

Sorry, but the original newscast was about selling mistajes not spelling mistakes. And it was billions, not millions.

 

Laurie Price  Identity Verified
Mexico
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good editing is invisible – no one notices it. But mistakes? Jul 15, 2011

Like Suzan Hamer (above), I've been telling clients the same thing for years ... about how errors can cost lost revenue, and now we have the stats to back that up. (Thanks Nesrin. I also saw this posted on Linked In, and commented there.)

I'm convinced that this problem exists for all languages for all the reasons cited -- loss of confidence, fear of scams, etc.

I know that when I look around on the internet & find typos and spelling mistakes, etc. I click to something else.

[Edited at 2011-07-15 18:01 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
All the better to eat you with Jul 16, 2011

Isn't this a chance for translators to give "added value" to clients by pointing out the deficiencies in their source texts? I do it as a matter of course for all my regular clients. In fact I had an apology from one this week for their sloppy editing (in their native language, not mine) of an instruction manual they sent me to translate and they promised to more careful in future. It made my day...

[Edited at 2011-07-16 09:55 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-07-16 10:06 GMT]


 

veratek
Brazil
Local time: 05:34
French to English
+ ...
written oral language Jul 16, 2011

B D Finch wrote:

I seem to recall reading somewhere that a study had found that teens use deliberately bad spelling and grammar codes that are different from Queen's English, when texting and using Facebook etc., as a badge of identity. They were found to be capable of better spelling and grammar in other contexts.


There's also the issue of written versions of oral language. Teens (and others) can find it more satisfying to write as if they were talking when they are communicating through new media, with all that entails in terms of what are considered written inadmissible mistakes.

I personally love to write exactly as if I were speaking, but then I reread and go back and edit the text. Sigh. The initial text looks very close to:

"So it was 14 degrees today and I froze, God, I just completely, totally FROZE to death! I don't know how people can live in these stupid snowing countries!!!"

(notice that the "like, seriously" wouldn't happen in my written oral versionicon_smile.gif And the purposeful uncapitalizing of the "I" bothers me like heck.


 


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BBC: "Spelling mistakes 'cost millions' in lost online sales"

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