How does it feel when you claim to be an expert creative writer, and your personal profile is littered with bad grammar and spelling error? It’s nauseating, isn’t it? That was precisely how a felt when a Fiverr user mailed me and pointed out a spelling error in my personal profile on Fiverr. I was shrouded in disbelief until I took a closer look. The user had pointed out that the spelling of “practising” on my profile was wrong, he claimed that I ought to have spelt it as “practicing”. After reading the details, I heaved a sigh of relief; much ado about spelling!
I thanked the Fiverr user and had to explain that there are various spelling standards adopted for different countries and that I choose to use the British standard that spells the word as “practising”. In Nigeria, both the British and American spellings are acceptable, but the writer must be consistent with the choice spelling standard throughout a document.
The Microsoft Word Spelling and Grammar feature align its spellchecker with the Language option in Word which is usually inherited from the Operating System, e.g. the Windows version. Word does not go into the details of explaining the spelling variant error when it detects one, it just underlines it as incorrect. Unfortunately, most users spuriously assume that such a variant spelling does not exist.
In the light of matters like this, it becomes imperative to address the issues of spelling standards in every writing gig. I wondered how many gig buyers would have berated sellers because they do not know that a spelling variant exists. Before this incidence, I made it mandatory for buyers to choose a spelling standard before activating my Company Profile writing gig. However, after this experience, I had to include the option in all of my gigs. In scenarios where the buyer ignores the question, I do check the buyer’s profile and align my writing standard to the country stated in the profile. For my article rewrite gig, I just stick the spelling standard of the source document.
The variation in these language standards (American, British, Australian, Canadian) is not limited to spellings alone; it also involves aspects of Grammar and Punctuations. The take-home lesson for all sellers and buyers of writing services is that the spelling standard of every writing project should be defined from the onset. Fiverr sellers should add the option for spelling standard in the gig requirements, and the buyers should ratify the choice language preference to ensure both the seller and buyer are on the same page before commencing a project.