I am picky at times, and can fastidiously be in clever-clogs-mode, as almost everyone who is in close personal contact with me - be it at work or at home - will readily testify.
One particular area where my rather unreasonable drive for perfection becomes truly annoying at times is spelling.
Spelling and grammar errors are so common I really should not bother with them at all, and I sometimes wish I wasn't so well trained in spotting them - no matter the language (as long as I know it, of course!).
For almost ten years, I worked at a publisher's. We edited and printed 60 weekly newspapers of small communities throughout South Germany, and my responsibility were the adverts.
Now, of course we had our own team of proof readers, but sometimes we were short staffed, and when that happened, I proof-read. Never the adverts that I had typeset myself - Proof Readers Golden Rule No. 1 says, Thou shalt not proof-read your own stuff. Someone else's eyes will usually spot the ortographical or grammatical error commited by the writer or typesetter who, more often than not, will fail to realize the error him- or herself.
Having said that, for my blog, I have to be my own proof-reader. And even though I always read my entries at least twice before clicking on "publish post", every now and then I re-read an older piece and still find the odd typo.
(So, please do point them out to me if you find them, ok?)
What prompted me into writing this is something I saw today when I was walking along one of the main shopping streets of my home town. Within a distance of only a few footsteps from each other, two errors caught my attention, both on handwritten blackboards on the pavement outside the shops.
One was at a telephone shop, and the notice on the board read
1 Vertrag -
Now, if you do not speak German, you won't understand what's wrong here, but, in short, it should have been Handys, not Handy's, as the apostrophe is completely out of place here.
The other one was in front of a coffee bar, announcing
Coffee to go
Nothing wrong there? Wrong. The .- is supposed to be a place holder for what comes behind the comma - in those cases where there is nothing behind the comma. If the price for that coffee had been 1,00 Euro, they could have written 1.- Euro. But digits behind the comma and the .- is simply wrong.
(I told you I am a fastidious and annoying nerd when it comes to such detail.)
To make up for my unnecessary rant, let me point you to the blog of a friend of mine who writes in a most entertaining manner about the typical errors, false friends and minor and major mishaps that can (and do) happen in the world of writing and translating.