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Human Editors vs. Tools: Finding common ground

You have completed writing the content your audience needs, and feel that a quick edit through your tool editor is all that’s remaining before the document is ready to publish.

Consider the positive impact on your content when you combine the power of both automated tools and human editors.

If you are relying completely on automated editing tools, you could be compromising content quality. A thorough review by an editor enhances content quality. Tool editors cannot catch the kinds of errors that human editors can.

Automated editing tools are a great choice when it comes to obvious edits: grammatical errors, spell checks, sentence length, and synonyms. They can even point out repetitive text and help you improve your basic writing skills.  They provide an opportunity to save time and money with these edits.

However, without human interaction, they can actually detract from the quality of your content.

Human Editors will catch the errors that tools can’t.

Talented and experienced human editors can increase the quality of your content. They analyze the content first ─ both from your point of view and user’s point of view ─ and then move on to edits.

Here’s what they can fix:

  • Content and structure: Human editors can pick your brain and can suggest to you how to organize your content. They understand what messages and information you are trying to convey, and can determine if the content is useful for the audience.
  • Sentence structure and procedures: Human editors have the ability to determine the connection between two seemingly vague ideas which you would not have thought about before. Tool editors, on the other hand, can only look at content from face value (for now).
  • Word usage: Tool editors can check spelling errors, but they cannot fix if “manger” should be “manager” or if “file” is incorrectly written as “pile”, for example.
  • Voice: Depending on the requirement, human editors let you use passive voice to avoid obvious information. Tools stick to active voice only.
  • Punctuation: Human editors can help you identify and introduce various controls and emphasis, such as a pause or quotes in your content.

Strong messages, strong brand.

Human editors come with abundant industry experience and knowledge of client requirements. They are great resources and must be an integral part of any content development team. With their feedback, the bar of content quality increases and organizations gets a chance to develop their brand.

While editing tools help boost the efficiency and speed of the content editing process, they will likely not replace people in helping to develop content that’s exactly what your audience wants: easy-to-follow, concise, and precise.

 

Sarita Shah is a Technical Writer with Innovatia, based in Bangalore, India. She has more than 11 years of experience working with content and continues to focus on developing her skills in working with technical writing standards.

6 Comments

  1. Marc

    Great article, Sarita! I agree with the points you made about the value of human editors and how they’re a crucial part of doc projects. While automated spelling checks are great, they’re not a substitute for a real critical eye that a technical editor can bring.

    Reply
    • Sarita

      Thanks, Marc.

      That’s correct; organizations tend to ignore the importance of a human editor.

      Reply
  2. Divya Philip

    Nice post on the benefits of collaborating the skills of human editors and the efficiency of editing tools.

    Reply
    • Sarita

      Thanks, Divya

      Reply
  3. Preethi Satish

    Well written article. I agree that automated editing tools can help us to correct minor errors but cannot provide the value add that we get from a skilled technical editor. There are not many talented/skilled editors and also most companies do not have full time editors as they are cost to the company.

    Reply
  4. Ruchi Vohra

    Second your opinion! Editing is the critical and important aspect of documentation. As people tend to learn and adapt more from conversations and human interactions.

    Reply

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