Re: Impact of typos on ESL readers?

Subject: Re: Impact of typos on ESL readers?
From: Thorsten Konersmann <tk -at- documentation -dot- engineering>
To: Steven Jong <stevefjong -at- comcast -dot- net>
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2018 20:22:23 +0000

Hi Steven,

As a non-native speaker, Iâd say that what you depict might be true in edge
cases mostly if the reader has above average language skills. But it is the
more common case for non-native speakers to miss nuances and the finer
points of language altogether. I am saying that from my own experience.
Therefore, Iâd argue such errors simply go unnoticed oftentimes.

So if a native speaker was confused by the ambiguity caused by a typo, a
non-native speaker might not notice the error and, thus, the ambiguity at
all. In that case, I think, it is simply up to chance how exactly the
non-native speaker understands the sentence.

If non-native speakers are part if your target audience, that is something
to consider in your target audience analysis and in your language style.

Best,
Thorsten

On Mon 12. Mar 2018 at 20:36 Steven Jong <stevefjong -at- comcast -dot- net> wrote:

> Typos are a fact of life. We understand they are bad both because they can
> erode reader confidence in the accuracy of a document and because they can
> cause reader confusion and misunderstanding.
>
> Are these negative effects actually worse for readers of English as a
> second language (ESL)? Itâs possible for a native reader to guess the
> intended word from the context of the passage, and even a typo that creates
> an actual word can be ignored from context. But is the effect even worse
> for an ESL reader?
>
> My assumption is yes, typos are even more confusing for those readers. If
> youâre trying to look up an unfamiliar word and itâs not even in the
> dictionary because itâs misspelled, it might not even be apparent what the
> error is. If the mistake is a real word, you might misunderstand the idea
> because of it.
>
> (This seems obviously true to me. The only other language I can read even
> a tiny bit is French, and if there's a mistake in the original French Iâm
> never going to detect it. The problem also seems extensible to all
> languages; that is, itâs a general problem for all readers of language X as
> a second language, or XSL. But I ask the question in open ignorance. What
> do you think?)
>
> âSteve
>
> Sent from my iPad
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References:
Impact of typos on ESL readers?: From: Steven Jong

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