Sending in corrs by text file

'Knol'... that's another neologism that's passed me by (along with the bloggish use of twitter) JD, but a smashing list, to which you might like to add this portmanteau word, culled from a late-night re-run of that seminal Stateside TV cop show Hill Street Blues:

cremains – the ashes that are collected after human remains have been cremated.

Now then, felicitations to all you hard-working subs and copy editors toiling in engine rooms around the planet, and a suggestion for you. I've just finished proofreading the pdf of a 36-page prospectus for which which the client has told me to send corrs and revises via a text file (she who pays the piper...).

Fortunately the copy was pretty clean, but I soon stopped making any but the most essential typographical and spelling changes.

Here's an example:
PG 16
Intro para 3 line 2 delete apostrophe to read presents its medieval
Course title line 2 replace long dash with hyphen and delete spaces to read 1066-1290
Course title line 3 delete spaces either side of hyphen to read 4 May-18 June
Course description line 8 replace phenomenum with phenomenon
Opening times
Line 3 amend to read Fri 10.00am-4.00pm

The document I'm about to email back to the client, I'm horrified to discover, runs to 3,604 words. Pity the poor secretary who will have to tap in the corrs. Next time, I predict, they'll listen to sage advice (mine) and come up with a less cumbersome method of working. But I find myself harking back to those pre-historic days when I subbed copy with a pen and sent the result to typesetters via a messenger, waiting at least 24 hours for every galley proof to return for checking.

My questions, colleagues, are these: do subs/copy editors make more changes to copy simply because it's so easy to get stuck in with modern technology? Can writers get away with sloppy copy because their employers no longer have to pay typesetters for every amendment?

As an almost retired sub I'd be interested to see what you think.

Enough wordsmithing for now; my next task is to sew some elastic into the back of my hat to cope with the Channel gales that are rocking our caravan.


The Ridger, FCD said...

Wow. I hope they have an editable file to put your corrections into.

JD (The Engine Room) said...

As a sub with only a few years' experience I can't comment on the "pre-historic days", but yes, the harder it is to make changes, the fewer I'll make. Just as the less time I have, the fewer changes I'll make. Is this right? Possibly not, but it seems very human.

PS I've given this post a working title for you; feel free to change it. Oh, and I like 'cremains'...