As an editor, I have worked for a variety of individuals in either writing or cleaning up their literary works. One thing I know for a certain is, however, that no one writes perfectly; because no one speaks perfectly. Everyone around you has their own way of speaking. And those little quirks they have verbally, carry over in how they write. There are accents in print, just as there are in conversations. And if you know the person or have heard them speaking, then you can imagine them better when the things they write still reflect those voice patterns on a page. An automated program cannot read in accents. They cannot detect the southerners drawl or the northerners lack of R’s. So say, for instance, a writer of fiction is looking to perfect his novel. A computer program will tell that writer all the ways they need to change their manuscript to fit into better English. But that will in turn strip the originality of their style away. A human editor, however, will know the person well enough to understand why they wrote this word as they did. Or why this phrase was important, though grammatically incorrect. I had to do that for a guy from New York that wrote horror stories, novels and later comic books. He had his own style, that when you read it the way he wrote, you could tell it was with a northern accent. Then again, I edited for a 3-time international best seller who has his own style. And though it might not seem perfect, it is him. His writing reflects his speech which is a big part of who he is. Now this might not be needed for a college paper, but for blog posts and manuscripts, it could be a make or break situation.
Programs can’t get everything right. Do you know that the English language is one of, if not the most, difficult to learn? One word can have a plethora of meanings, depending on the context as well as the dialect. Take the word shot, for instance. You get a shot to help prevent diseases, but wouldn’t want to be shot in the head, while drinking a shot to get courage to take a shot at that special lady. I just used one word to demonstrate 4 meanings. Or the word fag. In America, its a derogatory term referring to gays. In the United Kingdom, it refers to a cigarette. English editing programs can be as naive as the auto correct that you probably have on your smart phone. You start typing word, it thinks it knows what you are talking about, then suddenly… you have something totally off-the-wall in your message. Ever seen those text fail screen shots? I’ve been there. More times than I care to admit. Which is why I am now more careful than ever when texting. I try to do everything I can to send a well written text, especially when I’m in a hurry. Doesn’t mean I succeed every time, but I do try.
Last point I want to make about hiring an actual person instead of purchasing a program is the price. How much are you willing to spend? And is the price you are paying, worth what you are getting? Let’s face it, you can hire me for a one-time deal, flat rate price. Or you can purchase a program that you will use how many times? Maybe you want to get that ongoing service with a regular flat fee. But how often will you use it? Enough that it pays in the end? Will that program be worth the price if it misses something that a human would not? There have been tests done by users. Take this one. This guy tried 5 methods and his professional editor of a wife caught every mistake while the programs did not. Do you really want to pay for a service that you can only hope for perfect results from? With a human editor, you get more bang for your buck in the long run. They can edit a piece repeatedly until you are satisfied. Depending on who you hire, they can even offer you suggestions on how to reword something to flow better. They can rearrange paragraphs to make everything smooth and easy to understand. Isn’t it worth the money to get the extra service if it will further your success in the long run?
You don’t have take my word for it, though. Do your own homework. Just take the time to know what you are truly looking for when you are paying for a service. Know how you want something to be in the end. Ask questions before you hire. And if you don’t think a human being can do better, then go with the program. Just don’t write us editors and writers off because the market is flooded with a cheap service. We are more than meets the eye.You can check out my professional page here.