A Belgian association of French-speaking teachers interviewed me recently for their web site: they were interested in a few details about our spell- and grammar checkers, the future of these proofing tools, pedagogical implications, etc… We talked about the kinds of grammatical mistakes which the latest version of our French grammar checker is able to spot (with a bunch of examples), the innovations in our new spell-checker (feminine job titles, the spelling reform…), the limitations of these tools, but also some of the innovations in the forthcoming 2007 Microsoft Office system… You can read the whole interview here:

 

http://www.enseignons.be/actualites/pedagogique/index.php/2006/05/13/89-correcteurs-orthographiques

 

The interviewer, Benjamin Nizet, was also quoting a recent article from the French newspaper Le Monde which claims that spelling mistakes are more and more frequently seen as a handicap for someone’s career… Many employers simply don’t read résumés when they are fraught with spelling mistakes. I can only hope that Office and Word users will make use of the proofing tools we make available to them. It is true that these tools cannot identify all possible mistakes and the user needs to exercise his judgment when examining the red and green squiggles appearing under spelling and grammar mistakes, but we are making a lot of progress (I’ll come back to this very soon). Interestingly, the article in Le Monde says that an increasing number of PowerPoint presentations contain gazillions of spelling mistakes: yet, PowerPoint includes all our spell-checkers, so maybe we should first make sure that PowerPoint users make good use of them and do not turn them off when preparing their slides… J

 

Thierry Fontenelle

Microsoft Speech & Natural Language group