Marta Valle High School in Manhattan has attracted some unwelcome publicity after it came to light that a road sign outside the school contained a huge spelling mistake. The sign, which read, ‘Shcool X-ing’, had apparently been there for months but had gone un-noticed by the contractors who painted it or the many people who pass the sign each day, including staff and pupils from the school.
The Department of Transportation has confirmed that the contractor will now be asked to fix the sign, but the error has caused a great deal of embarrassment to all concerned, and is being viewed by some critics as indicative of the ‘dumbing down’ of standards. Linda Surles, the school’s PTA representative, has commented that she was not surprised that the mistake was allowed to remain for so long.
This kind of spelling mistake is typical of the errors that our eyes don’t always pick up on. These mistakes are obvious once they’ve been pointed out, but it’s easy just to read the word that we think is in the message and to overlook the error. Mistakes can happen even with common words that most people know how to spell; nearly every writer has a ‘blind spot’ to his or her own errors.
Content outsourcing helps many websites avoid the fate of Marta Valle School. A good outsourcing company will include editing to ensure that everything is checked and corrected before it goes live, so that the public never needs to know about any small but embarrassing slips.