Word annoyance: Spell checking duplicate species namesAugust 17, 2010
In my current contract, I’ve been editing hundreds of environmental science reports. Many of these reports contain Latin names of species, families, genera, etc. And some reports have thousands of these Latin species names.
So that I’m not continually faced with these when I run a spell check over each document, I’ve added many to my custom dictionary so that Word doesn’t tell me these Latin words are spelling errors.
However, Word does not deal with duplicate Latin species names very well. For other spelling errors, there’s an Ignore All option, but not when there’s a duplicate word.
For example, when Word’s spell checker comes across Rattus rattus (the Latin name for the Black Rat), Caretta caretta (Loggerhead Turtle), and the like, it flags the first word as an unknown word.
I add it to the dictionary so that it’s not flagged again. But now Word skips to the next word (rattus in the example above) and flags that as not in the dictionary either because it’s a lower case variation. So I add it to the dictionary too.
Then Word won’t automatically skip to the next word as it now flags the second word (the one I just added to the dictionary) as a repeated word. The only option I have is to Ignore Once — Ignore All (which is what I really want for this scientific name) is grayed out and is not available for me to click.
So even after adding both forms of the word (initial capped and lower case) to the dictionary, Word still flags the second word as a duplicate EVERY time and I have no other choice except to click Ignore Once. As many of these scientific reports I’m editing use LOTS of Latin names and repeat many of them throughout the document, that’s an awful lot of time I waste just clicking Ignore Once on the repeated word, which is a very legitimate repeated word in species nomenclature, by the way.
I tried adding the two words together to the dictionary but that made no difference either. Word continues to flag the second word as a repeated word. After I’ve clicked Ignore Once several hundred times in a document, I get pretty annoyed with this limitation.
Microsoft could improve the spell checking functionality to deal with things such as Latin names by any of the following:
- Provide an ‘Ignore All’ option for a repeated word.
- Allow two- and three-word scientific names or phrases to be added to the dictionary — and recognize them. This could be expanded to other ‘words’ like email addresses that Word sometimes wants to flag as incorrect, either in part or as a whole. If a short phrase is added to the dictionary, then Word should treat it as a correctly spelled word every time.
- Add an option to the Spelling & Grammar options to ignore italicized words. We can tell Word to ignore uppercase words and those containing numbers — why can’t we choose to ignore those in italics too?
- Add an option to the Spelling & Grammar options to ignore case variations of a word. For example, if I add Rattus to the dictionary and have the ‘ignore case variations’ option checked, then I shouldn’t be told that rattus/rAttus/RAttus etc. are new words. This option should be used with caution, but it should be up to the user to decide whether to use it or not. Currently, case variations (except all upper case) are treated as new words and are not ignored.
Do you have any other suggestions you’d like to see for checking spelling?
Do you have any other workable suggestions for dealing with these repeated Latin names, so that I don’t have to click Ignore Once all the time?