I get a lot of compliments on my tagline – No app can replace me! – so I thought I’d take a moment to mention how it came to be.
Basically, I got tired of seeing creative writers and business folks talking about how they don’t need a copy editor, because they just run their texts through a grammar-check app and that’s good enough.
But the job of a copy editor is really so much more than checking spelling and punctuation.
In novels, I’ve spotted cases where the eye color of the protagonist changed mid-way through the book, or where a single chapter used completely different nicknames for the characters.
And when businesses think they can just rely on a translation app, similar problems arise if they don’t have someone who’s a native speaker check the text.
For example, the mall where I occasionally shop in Berlin has an announcement in German asking people to not smoke in the building. The announcement closes with, “Danke für Ihr Verständnis.”
When they make the announcement in English, they close with, “Thank you for your comprehension.”
Close, but not quite.
They really should have used “understanding” instead of “comprehension” as the English translation of Verständnis. “Comprehension” implies that you simply know the meaning of the words that were spoken. “Understanding” implies that you know the meaning of the words and that you (grudgingly or willingly) accept the statement and will follow their rule. It’s a subtle difference that a native English speaker will notice immediately.
If your business relies on clear communication outside of your native language, “not quite” just won’t do.
So, yes, one day I got fed up with yet one more person in a business Facebook group talking about saving money by using a translation app and I thought to myself: an app can never truly replace a thinking human being.
“No app can replace me!”
When you need help making sure your writing is clear and you know an app won’t cut it, contact me here!