Error Rates in Editing: What’s Your Save Percentage? (podcast)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/67161590@N03/7770622796/in/photolist-cQEtr7-8fhQti-7jqEPPIn this 5 min podcast I explore scientific evidence for what kind of error correction rate is humanly feasible. We’ll look at industry standards for copyeditors and proofreaders, too.

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Calculating Save Percentage

Number of errors corrected ÷ Total number of errors in the document

 

So, if you catch one of the two errors in a 60,000 word document, your save percentage is .5 (50%).

 

Correction Fatigue

Greg Ioannou raised an interesting observation in a Facebook discussion: you get a kind of correction fatigue working on documents that are just riddled with errors. This is based on his (mumble) years’ experience supervising other editors.

He explained it with “a made-up example: If the editor catches 9 errors in a 1,000-word passage, you can assume there’s 1 error that the editor missed (a 90% save rate). If the editor catches 90 errors in a 1,000-word passage, you can assume there are 20 errors the editor missed (a 78ish% save rate). The worse the document, the lower the save rate will be.”

 

The photo is by Kris McGuire, used under CC by 2.0 license.