Five-typo feast of fail

Everyone makes typos now and then. I’m not in the habit of pointing them out unless they’re especially egregious or interesting.

This impressive collection – five (5) in one sentence – belongs to the former category, and may even constitute some kind of record. Click the image to enlarge:

Stan Carey - Galway Advertiser 5 typos

The typo count is six if you include the capital letter in “Psychologist”. I didn’t include it because it’s an editing call rather than a typo.

From today’s Galway Advertiser, page 67. A digital edition is available on the website.

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18 Responses to Five-typo feast of fail

  1. Bren says:

    Oh dear. And all could probably have been picked up by a simple spell check.
    In terms of Psychologist, I would include it as a typo, as “hypnotherapist” is not capitalised. If the professional role is capitalised, it should be done so everywhere. Unless they’re saying something about hypnotherapists…

  2. michael says:

    i’m stumped. i only count four (not counting capitalization).

  3. And yet it’s hardly any more difficult to read or understand.

  4. Stan says:

    Bren: Yes, an automated spell check would probably have caught them, but it’s not a good idea to rely on such software. The editing of “Psychologist” and “hypnotherapist” is certainly inconsistent, but calling it a typo depends on one’s definition of typos! (This is a grey area.) As you suggest, the discrepancy may result from the perception of hypnotherapy. The capital P does appear rather self-important beside the lowly lower case h.

    Michael: (1) ar for are; (2) thatn for than; (3) withi for with; (4)&(5) statisfatorily for satisfactorily. Is it cheating to include two typos from a single word?

    Mise: Do you mean “Psychologist” or the sentence as a whole? Either way, it might not be more difficult to understand, but inconsistent editorial judgement calls and mass typos are hardly to the newspaper’s credit. And I’m sure I’m not the only reader who paused in momentary disconcertment at each stumble.

    I’m not one to scoff at such mistakes, but I will draw attention to particularly flagrant instances. A few pages later in the same newspaper, “autumn” is spelled “Autum” in a headline; further on again, a letter is headed: “The interests of Irish agriculture is best protected…” It’s as though they just couldn’t be bothered.

  5. If you count the two errors in “statisfatorily”, there are five. Good God, that kind of sloppiness is astonishing, especially seeing as the errors are not due to the difficulty of the words being used. And I’d also count the capitalisation of psychologist as a typo, because of its inconsistency (as Bren pointed out).

  6. Dang it! I posted my comment just as you did, Stan, so apologies for repeating your point.

  7. michael says:

    aaah. yes. my thanks.

  8. Another point: I would imagine that the collapse in advertising revenue as a result of the recession has forced many regional papers to cut back on staff and hours, thus putting an extra workload on those already there, leading to such errors.

  9. Stan says:

    Michael: You’re welcome.

    Doubtful: Welcome back! (Are you back?) It’s possible that someone in the newsroom was very, very tired. Your point about the recession is valid: the Connacht Tribune celebrated its 100th anniversary this year, then dropped its Life section because of financial stresses. Quality usually trumps quantity in my world, but some would disagree. This is of course understandable from their point of view; market forces predominate in most contemporary industries.

    I will also note that some time ago I applied for a part-time proofreading position with the Advertiser, but was turned down because “the standard of applications was extremely high”. That’s their business; I didn’t and don’t feel hard done by, but it does add to my amazement at the persistently high frequency of errors in the newspaper.

  10. Sean Jeating says:

    Ha ha ha ho ho … however:
    Sitting in a glasshouse (I remember one day with most embarrassing ‘blackouts’), rather than on the typos (there are two in satisfactorily, Michael) I shall focus on possible reasons.
    Let’s take for granted the writer is an old hand, and had not taken part of a certain study, the previous day.
    Thus the most probable reason is: the deadline has been breathing down her or his neck.
    Imagine one collegue swearing about his ten year old PC and the boss (“There’s money for a new Audi 8, but none for proper equipment!”), another one shouting “20 minutes to go. Where’s your report about the annual meeting of the rabbit breeders association in Ballyvaughan?” – and the telephone ringing …
    Now one could ask, why the caption would not have been written in time, and argue “there are always five seconds left for a spellcheck” etc.
    Quite.
    Perhaps it’s due to the fact that what about twenty, thirty years ago often would have been the slightly well-paid jobs of four and more people (Layouter, typesetter, writer, photographer, proofreader) , nowadays is expected to be done faster and better by one person.
    (This goes analogue for many professions).
    One could also ask why even most ‘masters’ of “quality” papers would abstain from [?] employing professional proofreaders.
    Last dot: I am (almost) sure “our” poor hack would have offered a kingdom for a mousehole

  11. Sean Jeating says:

    While I was (slowly) writing, most of what I wrote got already mentioned by quicker contributors. Will you, please, forgive my redundancies?

  12. Claudia says:

    Living across the ocean, I’m coming here much later than all of you. Glad (in a way!) that the errors jumped to my eyes, before I read the comments. Amazing to me that they were not picked up by a proofreader. My friends, in Montreal, tell me that the standard of La Presse, whose boast is to be Le Plus Grand Journal Français d’Amérique, has so declined in recent years, that it isn’t much fun anymore to write to the Editor to point incongruous mistakes.

    As for my own text, whenever I print a comment, I totally accept that there could be grammatical errors. My greatest annoyance is when the typewriter prints an extra letter, or forgets a necessary one, to a word I well know. I try to shrug typos with indulgence (mine and others’) but they actually mar a text as much as a grain of cereal, left on the corner of one’s mouth, destroys a perfect make-up.

  13. Claudia says:

    Please read:

    La Presse, whose boast is to be:Le Plus Grand Journal Français d’Amérique, etc.etc.

    Just fired my proofreader! It’s hard, Stan, not to be able to edit your comment, as it will appear, before to push submit.

  14. Stan says:

    Sean: There is nothing to forgive! Thank you for your thoughtful contribution and your vivid newsroom fantasy. No doubt there is much truth in what you suggest. Stress, pressure, looming deadlines and staff shortages inevitably contribute to lapses now and then. Typos occur in the most reputable of publications.

    Maybe the caption was a hurried last-minute addition and there was no proofreader around – though the prevalence of typos elsewhere in the paper suggests a more endemic problem. Maybe gremlins are to blame. What struck me as unusual was the sheer number of mistakes in such a small area. It reflects poorly on the medium.

    Claudia: Your story about La Presse reminds me of the UK’s Guardian newspaper. It acquired such a reputation for typos that Private Eye magazine nicknamed it The Grauniad. The nickname quickly passed into common use. Guardian Books published a book of the newspaper’s errors, compiled by former readers’ editor Ian Mayes (he of our friend the apostrofly), and there was even a blog devoted to the paper’s typos, but it couldn’t keep up. Typos are among the least of the Guardian‘s faults, yet I like the paper quite a lot.

    ‘they actually mar a text as much as a grain of cereal, left on the corner of one’s mouth, destroys a perfect make-up’

    This is wonderful. Thank you for the immediately unforgettable analogy.

    As to editing comments: I’m sorry about that. I looked into arranging it so that contributors could edit their comments, but I didn’t succeed. I’ll examine the matter again when I can. In the meantime, I’m always happy to edit typos for you or anyone else. Just let me know by email (stancarey1 @ gmail . com)

  15. Claudia says:

    Not to worry, Stan. To use an expression I learned from Sean, I was only nitpicking. Of course, to point a finger at an article’s mistakes, while doing some yourself, invites a “Et tu, Brutus!” attitude…

    Isn’t it strange that a book and a blog would seem to promote one’s sins instead of one’s virtues? Does the Guardian approve? True that, somehow, a pratfall is always funnier than a straight walk, even on a high wire. And a Saint without flaws would bore God tremendously…

    I would say: Edit my typos, Stan…but it might encourage my carelessness. Thanks for your offer, kind Knight, et courtois Chevalier. I’ll always appreciate your corrections. I can’t understand why the Advertiser didn’t hire you. Should I complain to the paper? (she says, with self-importance!!!!)

  16. Fran says:

    Thlat iz joust plane unacseptible.

  17. Stan says:

    Claudia: The Guardian approves of the book – indeed, they published it – but they don’t seem to have had anything to do with the blog. They are generally willing to acknowledge errors rather than promote them, I think. This encourages openness, fallibility, and editorial accuracy – or at least it should. And they print them daily. Last Wednesday’s paper had a funny correction:

    “Yesterday’s centre-spread photo was said by its caption to show a great white shark snapping up a seal pup in False Bay, South Africa. In fact, a rubber seal decoy had been used to attract the shark (Eyewitness: Seal Island, South Africa, pages 18-19).”

    False Bay indeed. The whole area of media corrections and apologies is well covered by the blog Regret the Error.

    Like you, Claudia, I know how frustrating typos can be when we take care to be accurate! Next time I spot an obvious typo or formatting problem in one of your comments, I may take the liberty to fix it for you. I won’t alter any genuine mistakes, because I know you would prefer if I drew your attention to them for educational purposes.

    Fran: It isz quite shcoking. Worse, perhaps, than anything you’ve encountered in your classroom?

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