Does your text need an extra polish?
I offer a proofreading and editing service to complement my translation work. Drawing on my 20 years of linguistic experience and methodical approach, I edit a wide variety of texts to ensure they are clear, concise and easy to understand. For example, academic texts written by non-native speakers of English for publication in English-language journals. These texts tend to have grammatical errors, awkward phrasing and mother-tongue interference. My aim is to make the author’s research more readable and therefore more accessible.
What’s the difference between editing, proofreading and revision?
These terms are often confused or used interchangeably. I turned to the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) for help.
CIEP defines editing as “professional help to make a text ready for publication or use by ensuring that it is clear, consistent, correct and complete”.
According to CIEP, there are three main editorial stages:
- Developmental/structural editing focuses on the big picture – basic content and structure.
- Copyediting focuses on the detail – checking spelling, punctuation and grammar; improving readability; rewording confusing or convoluted text; ensuring consistency; and querying inaccuracies and ambiguities.
- Proofreading is the final quality check designed to correct any remaining errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and layout (e.g. making sure tables and illustrations are correctly numbered).
There is some overlap between these stages and to add to the confusion, copyediting can be broken down in three types: heavy, medium and light.
What about revision? Well, revision overlaps with developmental editing. Think of it as re-drafting – it may involve making substantial changes to the content, structure and organisation of a document. But revision is also a general term for a correction or change.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter too much what we call these different levels of checks, as long as the client and the editor/proofreader understand one another.
How does editing relate to translation?
There are many parallels between translation and editing work. Editing and proofreading are part of the translation process. When I translate, I produce several drafts, gradually refining and fine-tuning each subsequent draft until I have a final target text that is clear, consistent, correct and complete.
Sample editing assignment
One Dutch translation company sends me copy that has been written in English by Dutch horticulturalists. Now the Dutch are renowned for their language skills, and these texts are generally understandable; they just need polishing. It’s often a question of adjusting word choices, fixing grammatical errors and simplifying sentence structures.
For example: “Most of the time it’s very appreciated by growers because their buyers are good specialists in products. Buyers really care about quality”
becomes this: “Growers certainly appreciate the fact that their buyers are genuine product specialists who really care about quality”
or: “Try aubergines three different variations. This is an exceptional recipe which will surpass your guests!”
becomes this: “Aubergine cooked in three different ways, a sophisticated dish that will delight your guests!”