September 9, 2023

Can AI replace Copyeditors?

Can AI replace copyeditors? No, but it empowers them to create better output. Regardless of its growth, technology always needs to learn from humans!

min read

As new technology keeps booming, AI taking over jobs is a legitimate threat that humans face. There’s no doubt that cutting-edge technology will have a huge impact on the changing face of the publishing industry, but to what extent? Do you think AI will completely replace copyeditors in the near future?

Speculations aside, while AI is largely changing how work gets done and who does it, the larger outcome of technology will be in enhancing human capabilities, not replacing them. According to a 2018 study conducted by Harvard Business Review, “Over 1,075 companies in 12 industries found that the more the companies enable collaboration between humans and AI, the better their AI initiatives performed in terms of speed, cost savings, revenues, or other operational measures.”

Companies achieve their best performance when humans and AI work together. By merging human skills and expertise with AI support features, companies can reap tremendous benefits. That’s the word from Lindsay Zamponi, an Independent Editorial Services Consultant with over 30 years’ experience in academic and professional, reference, and trade publishing.

“I think it really raises the game in a very major way in terms of the quality of publications. It’s a game-changer for everybody,” she states in an insightful interview on Publisherspeak.

Zamponi points out the benefits of AI to both copyeditors and publishers, “Traditionally, books and journals have undergone an extensive production process, with two or more rounds of revision at the manuscript and proof stages. Copyediting is undoubtedly the most time-consuming task in that process, so publishers are always working toward improving turnaround times while maintaining high quality, in order to improve time to publication. With AI, we are able to automate rule-based aspects of the copyediting workflow, so that copyeditors are liberated from certain time-consuming or tedious tasks, and so are able to focus mainly on the complexities and nuances of language, and on the content itself. As AI becomes more sophisticated, copyeditors will be able to work more collaboratively with it, and also more time-efficiently with the author.”

Human-AI Collaboration 

In this age of transformation, it’s important to co-exist and collaborate with AI to succeed in the future. AI and humans can complement each other resulting in increased productivity. According to Accenture Research, the collaboration between the two can boost productivity and revenue by 38% by the year 2022.

“It’s a collaborative effort that everybody should be aiming at between developers and copyeditors. If you leave copyeditors out of the equation, and don’t accept their feedback and consider their advice, you’re going to end up with very formulaic editing. So, I don’t think they should be made to feel that their jobs are going to be taken over by automation. They shouldn’t be sidelined or excluded from the process in terms of decision-making,” says Zamponi. “There are alot of publishers who want to use these tools to replace copyediting by humans, for cost-efficiency, faster time to publication, and so forth. But for the best results, there should be cooperation between publishers and copyeditors, and the latter should be trained to work with AI support tools,” Zamponi adds.

Copyediting is more than just correcting a text. It’s about understanding the colloquialisms, emotions, semantics, and diction of the author’s work. Language is extremely complex and continually evolving, so it can be very challenging to accurately interpret the correct meaning. Consequently, the databases that feed into AI tools must be updated regularly, so that those tools continue to be effective, and it’s clear that the input of copyeditors is essential to that process.

From the points above, it’s clear that AI cannot replace copyeditors, but rather should be used to support and empower them to produce better outputs. So, no matter how advanced this technology gets, it will always need to learn from humans!

Agree? Disagree? What do you think will happen to copyediting over the next few years? How will technology impact authors and publishers? I would love to hear your thoughts.

I’m Anjali, Buzz Ambassador at Kriyadocs and I help publishers discover the different ways Kriyadocs can make their life easier. If you would like to know more, contact us.



 Image courtesy: Designed by Freepik

Anjali Dhananjayan
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