Naughty Computer!

January 3, 2011

I was rather surprised recently when one of my students sent me some notes outlining the direction of a project. The notes contained the startling assertion that ‘God is racist’! It turns out that he had been using some dictation software and that the mistake had slipped by him. ‘God’, he meant to say, ‘is gracious’.

Software can easily cause such problems. I am having to be extra-vigilant with the Microsoft Word auto-correction, a feature which I am greatly tempted to switch off. There is so much 16th/17th-century English in my work, and also quite a lot of Latin, that I am often having to correct the auto-correction. It was frustrating to find that every time I typed the Latin word nostri it was being changed to ‘nostril’. Proof-reading could be entertaining!

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