Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hiring Snigdha Nandipati

To follow up from my previous post, we're halfway to someone being the lucky winner of an autographed book from me. There are now 25 people who have proudly declared themselves followers of this blog. When there are 50, a winner will be randomly selected. Simply add yourself as a follower using either Google Friend Connect (click on "Join This Site"), or Networked Blogs (click on "Follow This Blog"). Both sections are on the right.

Keep in mind there's a good possibility that when I'm gone an autographed copy of one of my books could get as much as $20 on e-Bay, and that's a conservative guess - it might reach $22 in a bidding frenzy. And this morning I woke up with the sniffles - you never know where that might lead. So become a follower before it's too late.

Every year Scripps sponsors a spelling bee which attracts contestants from the 50 states, D.C., all the U.S. territories, and Department of Defense schools around the world. This year's competition had 278 entrants. It was held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, MD. The three-day event concluded on May 31, with 14-year-old Snigdha Nandipati of San Diego, California becoming the champion, spelling guetapens to outlast the other 277 competitors.

Guetapens??  This is a word? A word that a 14-year-old can spell? It looks to me like someone tossed a handful of Scrabble tiles in the air and this is what came up. If I had those letters in my Scrabble tray, I'd curse my bad luck at having no good letters, while it might be worth over 100 points if I could get a triple-word score. Apparently it's a French-derived word that means, trap, snare, or ambush. I know the few times I've needed to use one of the words, trap, snare, or ambush I've opted to use them, never realizing I had another option.

Young Ms. Nandipati's skills can be put to good use. There are countless examples of spelling errors in books, magazines, advertisements, and other places with high visibility that get past who knows how many proofreaders. Let's stick with our educational system for the purposes of this blog. In Maryland's Prince George's County - where the spelling bee was held - more than 8,000 graduates from 23 high schools received diplomas that read the grads had completed "an approved PROGAM of study". (Caps are mine for emphasis.) I'm sure Snigdha would have caught this error.

In 2011, the cover of Georgetown's commencement book, which was given to over 2,000 students, read "Commencement - 2011 - Georgetown UNIVERISTY" (Again, caps are mine.) Snighda, where were you when Georgetown needed you?

However, the most egregious example of an institution of higher learning needing some serious proofreading help from Ms. Nandipati comes from The University of Texas at Austin, whose graduates of one of the colleges were informed they had just received degrees from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of PUBIC Affairs.  See it here. What in heck are they studying there? And am I too old to matriculate? Get your mind out of the gutter, matriculate isn't what you think it is!

Anyway, there are so many more mistakes like this. Snighda, your future awaits.