10 November 2018

PerfectIt

Here is an exchange of Facebook messages and emails with Daniel Heuman, CEO & Founder of Intelligent Editing Ltd.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/intelligentedit
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PerfectItSoftware

I posted my first impression using the contact link:
I just tested PerfectIt and sent them some feedback. It reads:
This is not a request for support, just feedback. I tested your app and found it to be a complete waste of time. It appears to be totally incapable of distinguishing between simple successions of words like "armour plated" in "the ship is armour plated" and qualifiers like "armour-plated" in "an armour-plated ship". Utterly useless. You don't appear to have worked out the difference between grammar and consistency.
PerfectIt CEO Daniel Heuman responded promptly saying:
Thanks for looking at PerfectIt. I'm sorry it's not for you.

On that error, our philosophy is that human beings make the best decisions about grammar and language, and they always will. So the software doesn't try to check grammar. Instead, it shows possible errors and leaves everything up to the user. So you're absolutely right. It won't understand the difference between "armour-plated" and "armour plated" in that context. However, it has an onscreen warning about adjectival compounds so that users know to look out for it. The only alternative would be to have the software check it. Would you really trust a machine to understand differences in grammar and language?
As I say, I'm sorry we couldn't win your business. It sounds like you have a deep understanding of grammar, so I would have hoped that you'd really like the philosophy behind the program. We're always working to reduce the false positives it shows, so I hope you'll consider us again in a few years.
Best wishes,
I followed up with:
For my first test, I had PerfectIt scan a highly technical text of 30,500 words (sample articles can be viewed here) containing 845 hyphens, one of which turned out to be misplaced. PerfectIt queried every single one of these plus many hundred of word strings that were not adjectival compounds. Tedious, to say the least. Your excellent reply has at least given me the urge to test other aspects. Let me add, however, that where technical writers and translators are concerned, software that pretends to check hyphen but cannot distinguish between adjectival compounds and similar strings of words in other contexts simply fails to make the cut. If I have helped you to clarify this for others that might be useful. One more point, when viewing your site and installing the software I didn't see any indication as to which languages PerfectIt can analyse.
Then with:
Daniel.
Thanks again for your prompt reply via Facebook.
I will shortly place our exchanges on my blog.
I have now corrected my inconsistent use of ‘commandos’ and 'commandoes', also ‘Scorpène’ and ‘Scorpene’, though I notice that the app wasn't able to distinguish between the singular and plural forms of this proper noun (the name of a French submarine that the manufacturer changed half way through this project in response to feedback from me which I then failed to double-check before delivering my document).

I have now been through the other checks that PerfectIt runs and, overall, was rather impressed. (see result below) It is also closer to meeting my needs than Antidote which was a huge disappointment to me despite the claims of many of my colleagues. Many of the PerfectIt checks are both thorough and well thought out even if they don't match the needs of a technical writer or translator drafting texts for specialist readerships where acronyms are used in different ways from the guidelines applicable to those writing for lay readers.
Conclusion: PerfectIt looks like a very useful tool for most writers and translators working in/into English, despite some serious limitations in the case of technical writers and into-English translators drafting for specialist readerships where acronyms are used differently from the guidelines applicable to those writing for lay readers.

PerfectIt offers one feature that Antidote does not, namely a 30-day money-back guarantee. This plus PerfectIt's free, full-scale 14-day trial are significant advantages.

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