Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Proofreading, part 16

There's still chance for human error though - misspeaking, mishearing, losing the place, saying “hang on a minute" when marking an error and needing to re-establish the place afterwards, going too fast and missing bits, going too slow and wasting time. Plus, it still takes a long time, and paying someone to sit there and read letters is expensive.

This is why I had a friend write me a program which plays the part of the Reader. He called it the scribomatic, which I find vastly pleasing. I have the Torah text in my computer; I copy and paste in the portion of text I want to check, and the scribomatic reads the letters one by one.

Now all I have to do is pick the letter out of the air, not find it in the tikkun, I'm only using a little bit of brain on “Is it there?" and I have lots of brain left over for “Is it kosher?" which means I can assess that more efficiently. When I want the next letter, I press space and the scribomatic reads me the next letter. Pressing space is much quicker than saying “Okay" to the reader and waiting for them to register that and read the next letter.

So the scribomatic uses a computer to do some of the reading and communicating previously done by a human, which reduces the chance of human error. Interacting with the scribomatic is easier and faster than interacting with a human, which makes the process faster. I don't have to fit into its schedule, and I don't have to pay it for its time.

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