Written by: Daniel Ruten
Professional editors are always on the lookout for ways to optimize their workflow. The editing and proofreading company Scribendi has introduced a new proofreading tool called the Accelerator that offers editors an easy and efficient way to check for English textual errors. Integrating such tools into your workflow can significantly enhance editing speed and productivity.
This post will explain how to customize the Accelerator to best suit your needs.
What is the Accelerator?
Scribendi has developed a new professional editing tool called the Accelerator. As an add-on to Microsoft Word, the Accelerator makes it easy to double-check text for errors and potential improvements without disrupting your editing workflow. It offers suggestions for revisions that can be easily reviewed and either accepted or ignored.
An Advanced Editing and Proofreading Tool
In recent years, various grammar error correction (GEC) and editing tools have evolved to aid writers in revising their work. Some of these, such as Grammarly, have integrated machine learning methods to increase the effectiveness of revisions by not only correcting errors but also suggesting improvements to writing. However, few of these tools have employed deep learning—an advanced form of machine learning modeled after the human brain.
The Accelerator uses a deep learning methodology based on a large dataset of the work of Scribendi’s human editors over the years. The proofreading tool is thus trained to approach a text and suggest error corrections and improvements that a human editor would make. The Accelerator’s unique dataset and methodology set it apart from similar editing tools and make it particularly suited to professional editors. Its customizable options and features allow you to go even further in tailoring the tool to your specific needs.
Customization is Important
The Accelerator has various settings and features that can be enabled or disabled depending on the type of document you’re working on and what kind of suggestions you’re looking for. These settings can be easily changed in the tool’s interface from one document to another. So, for instance, if you’re editing a formal academic paper in British English followed by a short story in US English, you can change the Accelerator’s settings to suit the needs of each individual document.
One downside of some professional editing tools is that English dialect options are often hidden deep down in the settings. If you’re a freelancer working for a global clientele, it can be more trouble than it’s worth to dig into the settings each time you start editing a new document and change the style of English.
In the Accelerator, it’s fairly straightforward.
When a document is open in Microsoft Word, all you have to do is press the Accelerator button on the Scribendi toolbar. Then, the Accelerator pane will appear on the right side of your screen. Simply press the “Dialect” button on the right side of the pane to toggle through three different dialect options: American, British, and Canadian.
Press “Run” to run the Accelerator on the document and return suggestions. The Accelerator will check for dialect-specific spelling in addition to its machine learning-based grammatical error corrections and suggestions for improvement.
This setting helps catch those small but notable inconsistencies that can often take up your time while doing a second pass on a document.
The Concise Language Function
A major priority of most editors, besides correcting errors, is to improve writing by making it as concise and clear as possible. Recently, professional editing tools have begun to include functions to automate common corrections for concision. The Accelerator has a feature that can help with this aim as well. The Concise Language function seeks to shorten excessively wordy chunks of text by proposing alternatives that are more concise.
It is straightforward to enable this option as well. In the same pane shown above, simply toggle the “Concise” button (it turns yellow when activated). Then, run the Accelerator. It will return suggestions to improve the writing by making it more concise.
The Formal Function
No, this isn’t a feature that puts a tiny top hat and monocle on a word. (Although, that might look kind of nice). The formal function is useful for easily identifying pesky contractions in formal and academic writing. Simply toggle the “Formal” button in the Accelerator pane (as with the “Concise” button, it turns yellow when activated) and click “Run” to check for contractions in text and expand them.
Additional Proofreading Tool Options
Besides the most prominent customization options, the Accelerator also has some minor settings that can be tweaked in the “Scribendi Toolbar Settings” pop-up.
The first is the “Oxford Comma” option. By default, the Accelerator will not check for the presence of the Oxford or serial comma. Changing the setting to the “Oxford” from the “None” option will have the Accelerator check for the absence of Oxford commas in lists and suggest adding them. Alternatively, selecting the “Omit Oxford” option will check for the presence of the Oxford comma in lists and suggest omitting them.
Next, the “Quotes” option allows you to check for consistency in quotation mark styles in documents. The default setting, “None,” means that the Accelerator will not check for consistency in quotation marks. Switching to the “Curly” option will check whether quotation marks and apostrophes are in the ‘smart’ curly style, which many word processors default to. Alternatively, if you’re editing publishable online text (where straight quotes are preferred) it’s best to select the “Straight” option. This option will check whether quotation marks and apostrophes are in the basic ‘straight’ style and suggest revisions accordingly.
Finally, you can also change the color theme of the Accelerator via the “Theme” dropdown menu. Then restart Word, and voila—the Accelerator side pane will have a new look.
Editors with unique needs or preferences in using a proofreading tool are in luck. The Accelerator can be customized in even greater depth.
By default, the Accelerator checks for errors and potential improvements to writing by combining a set of grammar rule-based algorithms and machine learning. There is, however, a setting in the Toolbar Settings pop-up that allows you to toggle between these models. Simply go to the Scribendi Toolbar Settings pop-up box. Then, select the “NLP Model” dropdown menu (NLP stands for natural language processing).
The default setting is “Ensemble,” which combines fixed rules and machine learning, as explained above. Selecting one of the “Machine Learning” options tells the Accelerator to only include suggestions based on its deep learning algorithm. Alternatively, selecting one of the “Rule-Based” settings will tell the Accelerator to only include suggestions based on its fixed rules (e.g., dialect, formal, concise, etc.).
Creating Editor Rules
Finally, the “Editor Rules” option allows you to make your own custom rules and let the Accelerator check text and apply suggestions based on them. To do so, create a blank.txt file and write a series of rules in the following format:
Target text->replacement text
For instance, you might want to flag commonly misused phrases that you encounter while editing. So, you might create an editor rule file with the following text:
intensive purposes->intents and purposes
baited breath->bated breath
sneak peak->sneak peek
Next, go to the Scribendi Toolbar Settings pop-up in Word. At the bottom of the menu, you will see a blank box with the title “Editor Rules File Path.” Fill in the file path of your text document, select the “Editor Rules” setting in the “NLP Model” menu, and save the settings.
The next time you run the Accelerator, it will check the text for your chosen words and phrases and suggest your specified replacements. The Accelerator’s machine learning model will catch many usage errors by itself. However, creating custom rules can offer further flexibility. This is particularly true if you wish to correct less obvious usage errors that you often encounter in your work.
Using a proofreading tool can significantly enhance your editing efficiency and productivity. In addition, customization can ensure that it helps you in the exact ways you desire. Now that you know how to use and change the Accelerator’s different settings, you can effectively integrate this professional editing tool into your workflow. Try the Scribendi Toolbar and Accelerator today.
Try the Accelerator for Free
The Accelerator is free for all Scribendi editors and can be downloaded via EditorWorks. If you’d like to try the Accelerator, please contact us for a free demonstration.
About the Author
Daniel Ruten is an in-house editor at Scribendi. He honed his academic writing and editing skills while attaining a BA and MA in History at the University of Saskatchewan, where he researched institutions and the experiences of mental patients in 18th-century England. In his spare time, he enjoys producing music, reading books, drinking too much coffee, and wandering around nature.