30 November 2008

This ain't the Tansa for subbing

A colleague drew my attention to Tansa the other day. It's basically a software program that will sub text. The Economist and Telegraph are, apparently, already using it.

One freelance colleague half-jokingly said it would make all sub-editors redundant by Christmas. A frightening thought, given the massively high levels of redundancy in the industry at present.

Even more sobering is the scenario another colleague envisioned - the temptation when under pressure for the sub operating the software to let a piece of copy go through entirely unread by anyone except the original writer. Cue potential for libel. Or decency issues.

It may have been invented as a tool to ease the pressure on the subs' desk so they can get on with reading through for sense, defamation problems and so on, but no doubt the bosses will see it as an opportunity to slash staff and save money.

Software will never replace the human touch, but I believe it will lead to more personnel losses and falling standards if proprietors think it's a way to save money.

2 comments:

The Slow Smoulder said...

Tansa only USP seems to be prevention of typos and grammatical mistakes. Anyone who uses it for more than this will indeed be very misguided, unrealistic or careless about their product.

wordsmith_for_hire said...

Tansa is basically a very sophisticated spelling and grammar checking. And as long as that is all it's used for there's no real issue. Another colleague pointed out that Tansa may not be able to distinguish between, eh affect and effect or that it might not pick up a reference to London being London, Ontario or East London, South Africa rather than London, the capital of England...

The problem is that accountants WILL see it an opportunity to cut staff even though that's not what is was designed for. Technology is never about what something is capable of but how people actually use it.