Quality assurance: Document preparer takes typos personally

Karyn Palma has a keen eye for detail. And when she spots a typographical error, she takes it professionally.

Student Profile: Karyn Palma, Certificate in Copyediting

“I think, somebody’s made a mistake,” she said. “Some of them are embarrassing. They probably don’t even know it’s there.”

In her professional role, Palma closely examines environmental documents for ManTech, a $3 billion defense contractor with a sizable San Diego footprint. More than a little precision is required.

“We come up with procedures and check-lists, all with the goal of minimizing errors in our documents,” she says. “It’s all about quality assurance. The trickiest part is getting everyone on-board, getting buy-in for our edits.”

A graduate of Patrick Henry High School and UC Santa Barbara in environmental studies, Palma is grateful her job meshes with her background and interests. Earning a Copyediting certificate from UC San Diego Extension a few years ago only added to her editing acumen.

“It gave me a lot more exposure to current resources and tools for editors,” she said. “It also gave me more knowledge to back up my edits and changes, especially with grammatical things like subject-verb agreement.”

Rarely does Palma read anything without benefit of her critical eye.

“I actually like spotting errors in other people’s writing or flyers or ads, things they have a vested interest in,” she said. “I’m not judgmental except when it’s in a published novel. That always surprises me.”

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