Businesses communicate all the time. Business communication ranges from brief telephone calls and emails right through to lengthy business plans, business proposals, marketing material and financial statements and overviews. The purpose of proofreading is to ensure that all this activity is understood perfectly by whoever it is intended for.
The benefits of proofreading business communication
Business communication is both internal and external. Whatever its purpose, there are huge benefits in ensuring that effective proofreading techniques are used throughout the communication process.
Internal communication may be simply memos and emails or more lengthy documents that for example, detail the job description of employees. They may be loftily written mission statements that explain the ideals and purpose of the business for all its employees or more pithy instructions given at a staff meeting.
Internal communication often relies on efficient staff proofreading skills
If internal communication is to be understood easily and correctly, it means that those within the business are responsible for ensuring it is written correctly. In effect they have to be their own proofreaders. If an internal business communication is to be included in a manual or pamphlet, for example, a safety manual for employees, then professional proofreaders may be employed to ensure that it has no errors and reads smoothly and correctly.
External communication may see a need for professional proofreaders
Businesses are probably rightly more concerned about the quality of their external communication. This could be anything from company websites, to letters to clients, applications for patents and permits or licenses in another country. There is a huge variety of different types of communication which is created by businesses and intended for external consumption.
Many businesses are increasingly international in character. The existence of the Internet makes global commercial activity a reality today for many businesses. However, this also makes the level of communication much more critical as it may involve translating into multiple target languages as well as communicating in the language of the original population in the country in which the business is based.
When Cathay Pacific lost its ‘F’!
Whether the business is local, regional, national or international, there is a requirement for accurate and precisely written communication. To take an example of why editing is so important is marketing material in all its variety. Just the other day, a well known airline, Cathay Pacific, actually painted an absolute blunder on one of their planes. Emblazoned across the side of the plane it read “Cathay Paciic.” It’s hard to understand just how such an important international business got its own name so wrong! As it was, the blunder, when discovered, was accompanied with a lot of self-deprecating humour and the fact that Cathay Pacific couldn’t spell its own name may have even given the company a lot of unintended publicity!
This sort of very obvious mistake wouldn’t have gone down well if it was repeated several times in a business proposal prepared for potential investors. An unprofessional and badly worded document is going to put off those who read it.
How to proofread professionally
A good example of how a manufacturing business can take advantage of professional proofreaders is when they design their appliance user manuals. If the appliance is to be sold and used by consumers in many parts of the world, the appliance must conform to safety and design specifications unique to that region. For example, the European Union has a series of standards that must be matched if an electronic item is to be sold in an E.U. country.
The user manual must be perfectly written in clear language if it is to be safely used and the particular safety requirements demanded by each regional government must be clearly and accurately spelled out. This may have to be done in multiple languages. For example, there are 27 member states in the E.U. That means there are also at least 20 different languages that the user manual may have to be translated and printed into. It is quite impossible for a manufacturing business to have the level of talent within its own workforce capable of translating, editing and proofreading all those manuals, so this job is sub-contracted out to professional translators and proofreaders.
In fact, just to continue with this particular example, the manuals must first be edited and proofread in the original language used by the manufacturer, then translated and edited and proofread all over again so that the translated versions are absolutely perfect.
Professional proofreading ultimately enhances the reputation of the business and leads to confidence in its products and services. Professional proofreading does have to be budgeted for, but it is a very wise business investment!