Our Top Proof Reading Tips

Getting your copy mistake free essential for good communication, regardless of what you are writing, be it an article, a white paper, website content or client proposal.

Many people just do a spell check or grammar check and leave it at that but it is far from fool proof.

Here at Fingertips Typing Services we offer proof reading as a service, our team do this work day in, day out. So, we have put together our top tips on improving your proof reading ability:

  1. Tidy desk, Tidy mind A lot can be said for having a clean and tidy desk space, mainly the fact that the less you have going on around you, the less likely you are to be distracted, so clean up your act!
  2. Concentrate – Sometimes this is easier said than done, but proof reading take s a lot of concentration so proof read when you are fresh. Get away from distractions and potential interruptions. If this means locking yourself away in a room, then so be it. Switch off your mobile phone, turn off the television or radio and most importantly stay away from your email and social media, which is one of the biggest time wasting activities out there!
  3. Schedule time – Proofreading is a specialist task, not something that can just be slotted into your day. Give it the time it needs to and deserve.
  4. Print out a hard-copy – I am all for saving the planet, but pwe do read differently on screen and on paper. Try reading what you have written aloud as your ear might notice errors that your eye may have missed.
  5. Beware of the their, there, they’re – Otherwise known as Homonyms which are words that share the same spelling or pronunciation, but have different meanings.
  6. Double check your apostrophes – This is one of the biggest areas people fall down on, where should that little apostrophe go in a word. Misplacing an apostrophe can really hurt the credibility of your text. Never use an apostrophe to form a plural.
  7. Punctuation – This is where reading aloud comes in handy, it makes you focus on capitalised words, where commas and natural breaks in the text should be allowing your reader to pause and breath.
  8. Read it backwards – It may sound crazy, but looking at a word backwards will help you spot whether you have made a mistake, as your mind will automatically correct a mistake you have made.
  9. Get someone else to proofread It – Another person will have no preconceptions, so will spot things that you may have missed. They will also be in a good position to evaluate whether what you have written makes sense or not.
  10. Double check — once for technical accuracy, once for sense.

 

Getting the most from focus groups

Focus groups are a straightforward way for organisations to research new projects or understand the needs of the customer.

They have proved to be a highly insightful, bringing together a group to discuss a topic providing a more natural setting than one-to-one interviews. They are also a great place to allow participants to share their stories This qualitative research method can generate rich data in a less resource intensive manner.

Our tips on running a successful focus group

  1.  Keep the group size small – The ideal group size for focus groups is about 7 or 8 people. Any more than that and people start relating to each other collectively instead of individually.
  2. Use a good moderator – Focus group moderating looks easy but he truth is that getting the discussion going is just the tip of the iceberg. A good moderator will: keep them on the subject, keep the discussion moving, bring out the people who are not participating, bring people back to the subject when they stray.
  3. Introductions Get the group members to introduce themselves, where they are from, what they do, an ice breaker activity would be ideal as it will help the transcriber differentiate people. This will make transcription easier as differentiating a group of voices when you do not know the speakers can be tough
  4. Microphone –  Position in the middle of the participants to pick up all sounds and place the microphone on a stand as it naturalises the recording. If your group is sitting around a table and the microphone is on it then put a cloth under it to muffle interference caused by accidental table movement
  5. Preparing your recording environment – Check that the sound from microphone moves in all directions. Remember: hard surfaces reflect sound and can cause delay or echoes and soft furnishings can absorb or muffle sound. If you choose a big room, then the session should be done in the corner of that room to reduce the effect of reverberation and echo
  6. Playback your test recording – Listen out for background noise, outside intrusions such as traffic, ambient noise in the room and your participants moving or eating
  7. Backup immediately – As soon as you can get it onto your computer, laptop or in the cloud. Make sure a copy is in another location, because all the time it exists only on your recording device it can be lost, stolen, damaged or tampered with losing your data forever!

Remember, the quality of your audio recordings will impact the quality of your transcription, so ensure that you get the recording right and follow our tips.

The importance of eye care

Typing and transcription is not all about getting your fingers moving or your ears listening, it is also about using your eyes to focus on the content that you are typing

We all know that eye care is important, but we usually push it to the back of our mind or leave it until it becomes an issue.

The problem is leaving it until your eyes hurt, you get headaches or something else can mean that it is too late to do something about it.

I find myself daily spending more time focusing on my screen without taking a break to rest my eyes.

What are the symptoms of eye strain?

  • Eye discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Sore, tired, burning or itchy eyes
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light

So, how can we prevent eye strain?

  • Work in a well-lit environment ensuring that the room around you is well illuminated so that you aren’t staring at a super bright screen in a dark room
  • Take regular breaks to ensure that your eyes are focusing on something further away and not just at your screen
  • Regular eye tests are essential; the optometrist checks the health of your eyes and looks for signs of other medical conditions
  • Rest your eyes, regularly look away from your computer screen and focus on distant objects. This will relax the focusing muscle inside the eye and reduces eye fatigue
  • Reduce glare, glare and reflections can cause eye strain, using a anti-glare screen filter can help
  • Adjust your monitor’s settings, this can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Make sure the brightness is the same as the surroundings. You can also adjust the monitor’s colour temperature, reducing the amount of blue colours on your screen. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than longer-wavelength hues, such as orange and red
  • Wear lenses specifically for computers if you already use glasses or contact lenses, wearing specific prescription glasses/lenses will give you the most comfort whilst working on your computer