Friday, December 18, 2009

Proofreading, part 4

As a proofreader, you have to be rather aware of what you're dealing with. If you come across, say, a yud which looks far too much like a vav for comfort,

Ambugious yud-vav
like this,

you certainly ought to fix it; everyone agrees that that's no good at all. But if you're proofreading something by a Sephardi scribe, and you find that the shins have flat bottoms, you'd be foolish to go through and change each shin to having a pointy bottom.

It's like American vs British spelling - if you're a Brit (okay, or a Canadian) editing the New York Times and you find words like “plow” and “theater,” you'd be an idiot to impose British spellings and change them to “plough" and “theatre." But if you find a word like “rabibt" whilst editing Watership Down, it's quite appropriate to change it to “rabbit" because “rabibt" is obviously wrong according to absolutely everyone. Is your ambiguity a plow or a rabibt?

The image above, to explain in more detail, has a letter that ought to be a yud, but it's really a bit too long in the tail to be a yud. It's more like a vav. More about that shortly.

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