Although proofreading at TTP presents many challenges, it also offers significant intrinsic rewards.
First, the very challenges described in ‘Proofreading’s 50 Shades of Grey’ post are also part of its benefits. For example, audio files with many complicating factors such as multiple speakers, foreign accents, mumbling, unfamiliar place names, et cetera, serve to greatly challenge the proofreader and heighten the sense of achievement when mistakes are corrected or time-stamps resolved.
As a TTP proofreader one is able to exercise one’s English skills at an advanced level – something that is rarely required in the realm of modern communication, particularly within that of social media. There is strange pleasure in the realisation, for example, that ‘expose’ should read ‘exposé’, or that ‘essay’ should in fact be ‘assay’ – something that can only be deduced by paying close attention to the context of discussion. These types of discoveries are always gratifying and even oddly exciting, especially when the transcription error has been particularly obscure or difficult to hear.
Proofreading can also be entertaining … for instance, in one transcription I corrected ‘perineal’ to ‘perennial’ and while Googling the terms, happened upon these comments on a parenting website: “‘Perennial’ is a plant that grows back every year. ‘Perineal’ is the type of massage recommended towards the end of pregnancy to reduce the risk of tearing during delivery. Big difference, unless you’re planning on getting pregnant once a year and thus in need of perennial perineal massage.” (http://community.babycenter.com/post/a35893390/perineal_not_perennial).
Transcription errors such as these can certainly provide amusement, and humour is undoubtedly a key ingredient to survival in any workplace!
Another important aspect of my role involves the use of research skills, to search the Internet for sometimes obscure people, organisations, place names, et cetera, referred to in audio files. This activity adds another dimension to the work, making it far from boring, as proofreading may appear. All in all, there are many and varied language and research skills exercised in proofreading, making the work interesting and challenging, rather than simple, dry or even one-dimensional – as it may seem to an external observer.
Of course, as in every job, proofreading contains ‘job hazards’. For example, one is rarely ‘off-duty’, even when eating a snack at a local cafe, as I discovered in August 2013 when I had just sat down in a quaint country cafe to eat a delicious handmade ginger and almond cookie, only to notice that one of the ingredients was ‘almond slithers’. Although a habitually careful eater, I soon discovered a cluster of rogue almond pieces in my lap that had mysteriously escaped from the pack! These are the everyday adventures of the ever-attentive proofreader.
In summary, proofreading provides stimulation, ample challenge, the pleasure of exercising advanced English skills and the satisfaction of resolving words in a time-stamp, or correcting errors in a document. It can be entertaining and interesting, but ultimately delivers a sense of achievement and satisfaction, knowing that a client will receive the very best possible transcription of their meeting, interview, et cetera, based on the audio file submitted. This type of satisfaction makes all of the hard work well worth the effort and provides one with an innate reward, or ‘pot of gold’.
Nina – TTP Proofreader