Internet Misspellings Cost Millions to Companies

August 22, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. credibility (n.) [kred-uh-bil-i-tee] –the ability to make people believe or trust
Example: Many clients seek the assistance of Mr. Smith because of his good reputation and credibility as a lawyer.

2. spam (n.) [spam] – an unwanted e-mail message, often a commercial advertisement
Example: I was surprised to see a hundred of spam mails in my company email account this morning.

3. lenient (adj.) [leen-yuhnt] – showing tolerance in dealing with misbehavior; not harsh and strict
Example: My aunt is quite lenient in dealing with her kids especially the younger ones.

4. school-leaver (n.) [skool-leev-ver] – in British English this means young people who have just left school because they have completed their time there or finished a certain course
Example: Call center companies in our country offer employment to school-leavers who are at least 18 years old.

5. literacy (n.) [lit-er-uh-see] – the ability to read and write competently or good enough
Example: The government offers literacy training to poor children.

Read the text below.

An analysis of internet business sales reveals that poor spelling may cost millions to a company. 

Charles Duncombe an online businessman who runs travel, mobile phones and clothing websites, says that 99% of internet selling is done mainly through written communication. As such, spelling mistakes matter because they affect the credibility of a website.  Consumers, who are already concerned about spam and other illegal online businesses, may be turned off by poor spelling, slashing a company’s sales in half.

A director of the Oxford Internet Institute said that consumers tend to be lenient on spelling and grammar errors on websites like Facebook, but not on errors on commercial web pages. 

The problem results from employees with poor writing skills. Duncombe says employers encounter difficulty recruiting staff who can spell correctly. In fact, many employment applications from university and school leavers contain grammatical and spelling mistakes.

According to the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI), a non-profit business organization in the UK, 42% of employers are not contented with the basic reading and writing skills of school and college leavers. Because of that, many employers are investing in literacy review lessons to improve staff performance.

James Fothergill, CBI's head of education and skills, thinks this is a serious problem and the government must make efforts to improve the basic literacy and numeracy skills of all school and college leavers.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         How do you think can online companies avoid misspellings?
·         What are other disadvantages of misspellings online?

Discussion B

·         How can companies improve their employees’ literacy?
·         Do companies in your country offer trainings for employees’ development?

August 22, 2011