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My team developed a site that has a lot of spelling and grammatical mistakes. Does this leave a bad impression for first time visiting users?

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I already have a bad impression of @abdul wakeel just from reading the question. If someone can't be bothered to take the time to use correct spelling and grammar, it's not worth my time to help them/use their product/deal with all the other issues that are going to be found because they weren't spending time on the product. –  zzzzBov Jun 15 '11 at 13:17
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@zzzzBov - Not everyone in the world speaks English as their first language, have some consideration. –  Matt Rockwell Jun 15 '11 at 13:38
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@Matt, as a polyglot I understand that there are more people who speak english as a second language than there are who speak it as their first. That is not an excuse. If I needed to write something in another language, I would have someone fluent in the language review what I've written so as to fix my errors. I actually upvoted this question, as it's legitimate. –  zzzzBov Jun 15 '11 at 14:07
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@abdul wakeel: it sounds like English is not your native language, in which case you may be better getting a freelance copywriter who is a native speaker. Comments below suggest automated spelling and grammar checks, but that will only get you so far--for instance, I'm not sure they'll be helpful for that afford/effort mistake above. I see you say you can't afford it, but can you afford to lose the people you're driving away? You may be able to hire a good copywriter for a fixed number of hours to start with your most important pages, then get more as you can pay for it. –  Pam G Jun 15 '11 at 18:51
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@Abdul, then read more books to improve your grammar. Additionally, not capitalizing "i" makes you look childish. –  AttackingHobo Jun 15 '11 at 20:06
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7 Answers 7

up vote 53 down vote accepted

broken?

"If not even the spelling is correct, how can I trust this works correctly?" This is especially troublesome for web sites that want to hold private data. I might not even want to give you my e-mail.

dead?

When obvious errors remain online for a long time, this suggests that

  • you don't care to fix them (lack of respect)
  • you are technically unable to do so (I can not rely on the site being available tomorrow)

cheap! (in a bad way)

I.e. you couldn't even find someone to proof-read the web site, your budget is so tight that you can't afford to be friendly.

The shared theme is loss of trust.

I understand that especially the last point is not very fair towards non-native speakers, especially with completely different language roots and without easy access to native speakers of the foreign language. However, this is the cost to do business abroad

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+1 for I might not even want to give you my e-mail –  pir abdul wakeel Jun 15 '11 at 12:30
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I would add lazy: didn't bother to run content through spell check. Most browsers & text editors have some form of spell check that will catch at least some errors (even if grammar & usage errors still slip through). –  Velociraptors Jun 15 '11 at 15:05
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Whenever I arrive on a site with numerous spelling and grammatical errors, I assume it is something fradulent or otherwise untrustworthy. It reminds me of all the Viagra emails I get. –  Kristopher Johnson Jun 15 '11 at 16:57
    
once i write content, or do some work, i forgot to check it back. all time i have confidence that i did it right. –  pir abdul wakeel Jun 22 '11 at 10:06
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Good examples, now we are almost ready without spelling mistake –  pir abdul wakeel Aug 13 '11 at 16:04
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Yes this will leave a bad impression.

And remember, first impressions are very important. I would get this corrected as soon as possible. Not only will it make the site/company look unprofessional, but it will be difficult to understand. No offense intended, but I actually had to read this question a couple times to fully understand what you were saying (English is probably your second language). That is fine in an informal setting like this, but on a company site, you want it to be as perfect as possible.

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but i have seen spelling mistake in reputed world class websites. –  pir abdul wakeel Jun 15 '11 at 12:46
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My impression was that this question intentionally uses bad spelling and grammar. It is sort of a parody of the sites it asks about. –  GEdgar Jun 15 '11 at 13:26
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@GEdger - Clever observation, but I don't think that's true in this case. –  Matt Rockwell Jun 15 '11 at 13:40
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@abdul wakeel: absolutely, and although they sometimes make me cringe, there's a difference when there's one spelling/grammar mistake per thousand words and when there's one spelling/grammar mistake per ten words. –  Ben Hocking Jun 15 '11 at 14:21
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@abdul I would buy a used car with a few small scratches. I would not buy a used car with broken windows, flat tires, or a "W'04" bumper sticker. –  MarkD Jun 15 '11 at 18:22
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Spelling mistakes can have quite a large impact on your site's visitors. A quote from the Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility

Typographical errors and broken links hurt a site's credibility more than most people imagine. It's also important to keep your site up and running.

Typos make your site look amateurish, just like broken links or unavailable content can do. From the user's point of view this affects your organisation's trustworthiness and perceived expertise in a negative way.

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+1 for the reference. –  Erik B Jun 15 '11 at 13:50
    
most of the time Arabic or non English speaker have grammatical mistake. –  pir abdul wakeel Jun 22 '11 at 10:09
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Abdul, there is one other thing to be aware of.

There are many established websites with high visitor counts that contain spelling and grammatical errors - but a spelling mistake on those sites is different from a spelling mistake on other sites (such as yours).

When your site is established and well-respected (like BBC News) typos are bad, but users will overlook them because of everything else the site offers - in this example, established reporting that can be trusted.

When your site is trying to establish itself, and people do not know if they can trust you, every little mistake gets a spotlight shone on it - and spelling errors are just that sort of mistake.

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+1 for, but a spelling mistake on those sites is different from a spelling mistake on other sites –  pir abdul wakeel Jun 15 '11 at 13:34
    
please provide the suggestion how to overcome these type of mistake? –  pir abdul wakeel Jun 15 '11 at 13:35
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There are online tools available: see spellcheck.net. You could also use - and you'll hate this - a word processing application like MS Word or Open Office Writer. Copy and paste your text, select English as the language, and do a spell check. Very tedious. Hopefully someone will see this and know of an automated way of handling this. –  gef05 Jun 15 '11 at 13:54
    
that's good, let me forward your message to member's. –  pir abdul wakeel Jun 15 '11 at 14:03
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I'd also recommend doing a grammar check, although it's more painful. You'll probably want to do a few of them with a native speaker nearby to let you know which grammar "mistakes" can regularly be ignored (e.g., "passive voice"). –  Ben Hocking Jun 15 '11 at 14:23
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Spell Check is never something to rely upon completely. I have a client who mentioned the vast array of products in their "whorehouses". It was spelled correctly, but not exactly accurate.

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+1 for laughs!! –  Matt Rockwell Jun 16 '11 at 18:35
    
I think the most important is understanding.. if some one understand , then spell does not matter. either its correct or not. (not in public GUI) the rule is generally for chatting or commenting –  pir abdul wakeel Jun 22 '11 at 10:11
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Think of it this way. It takes years of highly specialized training to become a qualified developer, but even school students are required to be able (and many are actually able) to write correctly. So writing correctly is cheaper than developing complex technical stuff like a web site. If even one of the cheapest parts can't be done right how can users not have a bad impression?

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Just to point out: Error messages are a common place for both spelling mistakes and difficult to understand text.

If you get a third party to check your site they often won't know how to trigger them, so they won't find them all.

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