Proofreading Perfection

Do you get frustrated when, despite your best proofreading efforts, an error slips by? It happens to everyone, including me.

In yesterday’s E-Tips ezine from Upwrite Press, I found an excellent description of the investment one company makes to ensure that its documents are free of errors. In the ezine, Brenda Stefanowski, executive assistant of Weekenders USA, Inc., provided a list of eight departments and people who review a new form or communication after it is created but before it is used:

  1. The department requesting the form
  2. The accounting department, which tracks the costs, sales, tax, and shipping numbers
  3. The customer service department, which interprets and answers questions
  4. The IT department, which creates the SKU [stock number, "Stock Keeping Unit"] and sets the product up in the ordering/tracking system
  5. The distribution department, which manages inventory and ships the product
  6. The sales department, which promotes the product
  7. A trained proofreader
  8. Someone not directly involved with the project, who confirms the clarity of the message

Weekenders makes this investment because the company communicates with an outside sales force of over 10,000. But Stefanowski noted that "even with these measures in place, perfection is still a destination not yet reached."

If errors can go unnoticed in a company that has at least eight sets of eyes reviewing a document, who are you and I to expect perfection?