Have you ever been to a rural area and read some of the English signs? You know the ones that say: Rs 100 per plet, Rs 50 for child, or 1 by 2 soup bowel. What about the sign on a roadside shop in a big city that proudly announces the sale of Leddis Chappals? And several public areas where ‘Management is not responsible for stealing personal belonging, please watch yourself’. If you were reading an article on Bored Panda about bad English signs you would probably be falling out of your chair, laughing by the third or fourth slide.
But these are all forgivable mistakes. These gaffes are usually the work of non-English speakers who know just enough to phonetically spell a word based on what they think it sounds like. While the sign-maker is just painting on what he’s told. But every now and then, you come across the true murder of a language and it makes your eyes water. In fact, if you’re a content writer, there’s a good chance that you’re proofreading and rewriting most content that you chance upon, in your head. And also, likely judging the unskilled scribe for their alarmingly, shoddy work. How could this stuff even pass QC? And did they get paid for that?!!!
It’s true that this scenario doesn’t paint content writers in a good light. It actually makes them look rather mean, but here’s the thing: it’s mostly unconscious. When you’ve been writing good quality content long enough, your brain gets wired a certain way. Writers are usually quite hard on themselves and their reaction stems from years of writing, rewriting, editing, and proofreading their own work. Most of them start writing because of their love for a language. The intricacies and nuances of words that allows them to create new worlds. Writing for them is an art.
After all the trouble they put into creating pristine articles, content that falls short of the mark is like nails against a blackboard. It’s like a music conductor dealing with one member of the orchestra playing out of key. It’s like an artist realising that the person at the paint shop gave her Royal Blue instead of Royal Blue 1. The travesty! You see, for a writer, sub-standard content is not just misplaced commas, 30-word sentences, and incorrect verb tenses. Oh no! Content that hasn’t been put through the quality check rigmarole is akin taking a priceless Van Gogh and shredding it to pieces. It hurts every fibre of their being.
Perhaps this is a curse that writers have to live with. No, they are not cruel people who go around criticising every written word. Most of the time, aside from inescapable eye-roll, they keep their thoughts to themselves. They will giggle at the funny mistakes, die a little inside at the really bad ones, but they will almost never send a scathing email to an organisation with a detailed explanation of why their website content sucks (for want of a better word). But you can be sure of one thing, if a good writer chances upon a block of text in their preferred language, there’s a 99% chance that they will read it, proofread it, and make some very sensible edits in their own head.