Spelling and grammar checker: useful tools

Spelling and grammar checkers are essential. Having our texts professionally proofread allows us to publish quality content. You need a lot of training to be a good spellchecker or proofreader, but you also need to be familiar with the key work resources that can make your life easier.

Naturally, these tools are a form of support, and should never be used as a substitute for a real grammar checker. What the human eye sees in language, the machine does not see, and the last word (no pun intended) should always be left to a professional proofreader.

Spelling and grammar check tool

The spelling and grammar checker should always be a professional, trained to a high standard and with extensive linguistic knowledge. However, there are useful grammar check tools that allow second proofreading to be carried out more quickly. Let’s not fool ourselves, the possibility of human error is there, and machines can help us to detect it.


Online proofreading tool: LanguageTool

That’s why we at Ontranslation use LanguageTool, an open-source online grammar and spelling check tool for Spanish and other languages. It is constantly being updated, making it an increasingly complete tool.

In fact, anyone who knows what they are doing can add improvements thanks to its developer version.

In addition to this, it has a free version which is very comprehensive, and provides all the features that are usually necessary if you want to detect grammatical and spelling mistakes.

For those who do not develop but want more features, there is a premium version. This allows you to correct longer texts, add the checker to Microsoft Word and apply statistics to correct possible typos.

For a good spell check, we combine human and word processor supervision in a first check. Afterwards, another professional enters the text in the automatic grammar checker and re-reads the whole text to check what the tool highlights or to make sure that it does not leave anything out (as we know they are not infallible).

There are other automatic tools, such as the online spellchecker Grammarly, Ginger (both with premium and free version), ProWritingAid (which offers suggestions for improving your writing) or Copywritely (very interesting for those who want to do SEO copywriting).


Why using corpora can your text proofreading?

A professional grammar and spelling checker must also consider tone and register. It is particularly important to clearly determine the tone of the text and the target audience to choose the most appropriate expressions. To achieve this, you need to be familiar with corpora.

Corpora are databases of digitised texts (written and spoken) which allow you to search for specific expressions in a real context of use.

They include all kinds of linguistic expressions that have been recorded at a given time: from newspaper articles to extracts from essays, literary works, or everyday conversations.

A corpus allows us to consult in what kind of texts an expression appears. In this way, we can get an idea of in which register or context a word or structure we want to use is commonly used. It won’t be the same if a term appears in a news item or in youth books, will it?

Spanish corpora available online

In Spanish, we believe that three corpora are worth mentioning: CREA, CORPES XXI and the Corpus del español. The first two are the work of the Real Academia Española and are differentiated by the era to which their texts belong.

The CREA texts date from between 1975 and 2004, and the CORPES XXI texts from 2001 onwards, with the latter being updated with new versions every few years.

Corrector ortográfico y gramatical

The Corpus del Español is the largest of all, with ten times more content than CORPES XXI.It was created by a public department in the United States, and Latin American texts have more influence in it than in other corpora (they account for 78% of the total, compared to 65% in CORPES).


Thesauruses and Ideological dictionaries

Style is also a must for the spelling and grammar checker. One of the most annoying things when reading a text is the repetition of a concept’s name over and over again. The task of style and spellcheckers is to make linguistic expression more varied and richer.

However, sometimes we run out of repertoire, and we do not know how to avoid repetition. This is normal! We don’t have to be dictionaries with legs… Instead, we should ideally learn to understand these materials, to know how to use them. That’s why, when something like this happens, thesauruses and ideological dictionaries can be a huge help.

Thesauruses will show us terms that, in some of their meanings, may mean the same as the concept we are looking for. However, an expert in writing must be clear about the full meaning of both the term to be replaced and the term to be used as a substitute.

Ideological dictionaries are those that show us concepts that are semantically close to the one we want to convey, but do not have an equivalent meaning. If, for example, we search for the word tree, we will find results such as green, wood or plant. Because of their content, they are extremely useful when it comes to adding creativity and beauty to a text owing to their metaphorical uses.

Professional proofreaders and Spelling and Grammar tools

We’ve seen some grammar and spelling tools available to us if you want to spot and correct mistakes, as well as make our job of correcting spelling, improving style and carrying out a good proofreading process easier.

Do you know of any others?

Remember that, although they are very useful, automatic proofreading tools must always be used by a professional human being who knows other resources to complement them. So, if you want peace of mind…

About the author

Oscar Nogueras

Es el CEO de Ontranslation y dedica algunos ratos libres a escribir en este blog para compartir sus conocimientos sobre internacionalización, cross-border ecommerce y Traducción SEO. No es para menos, ya que entre su formación cuenta con una licenciatura en filología inglesa, un máster en tradumática, un posgrado en elearning y un MBA. En definitiva, una declaración de intenciones donde la cultura y los idiomas se sirven mezclados, no agitados.

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