Making reporting guidelines more useful for authors and language professionals: In biomedical science and beyond

Jennifer de Beyer, United Kingdom

This talk from the UK EQUATOR Centre ( will introduce reporting guidelines, why and how they are developed and disseminated, their quality, and the evidence for them.

Reporting guidelines aim to help authors in preparing journal articles by listing the minimum information needed about a particular study design in order for the results to be replicated or used. Originating in the biomedical sciences in the 1990s, they have since spread to research areas such as education, livestock, and environmental research – and new fields continue to adopt them. As funders and journals endorse and sometimes require their use, language professionals are often asked to use reporting guidelines or suggest checklists themselves. They could be required either to guide manuscript development or to flag missing information during copy-editing. However, reporting quality remains poor in every study design and research area studied, despite the promotion of reporting guidelines.

I will talk about why reporting quality has been slow to improve and what is being done in response. One reason is that users often struggle to choose an appropriate reporting guideline, there being more than 400 available for research involving people alone. In the absence of an agreed-upon development methodology or an overseeing body, the quality and utility of reporting guidelines remains variable, in addition to which the guidelines have overlapping and competing applications. Ongoing work to improve the way in which guidelines are developed and disseminated, and how users are supported, will be presented, as will the tools for authors and editors to use. I shall include in my presentation the role that language professionals can play in promoting reproducibility through reporting guidelines and in influencing how they are developed and disseminated.

Click here to register for the online conference

About the presenter

Jennifer de Beyer

After training in laboratory research and working in academic editing, Jennifer de Beyer joined the EQUATOR Network’s UK Centre at the Centre for Statistics in Medicine (CSM), University of Oxford. Here she develops online and in-person training in academic writing and using reporting guidelines for clear, transparent research reporting. She also provides editing and writing support for CSM’s team of medical statisticians and methodologists.

The EQUATOR Network is an international initiative dedicated to improving the quality and transparency of health research. It focuses on research reporting, so that future research is based on a sound body of evidence. Through its four centres in the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Australia, EQUATOR raises awareness of reporting guidelines, provides online resources, develops education and training, and conducts research into research quality and transparency.

Honing skills through near-peer exchange: How language professionals and academics can shape each other’s outcomes, practice and well-being.

Wendy Baldwin, Spain

Translators and editors have a number of options for engaging in peer exchange, allowing them to benefit from their peers’ expertise and improve their practice and outcomes. But what if language professionals (LPs) could engage in a similar exchange with near-peers, professionals who work in adjacent areas of content and/or practice? Imagine a translator of anthropological texts working in parallel with an anthropologist: How might the partnership work and what knowledge, skills and benefits might accrue to each?

In this talk I present an LP–academic co-working model (LPAC) that I have been using with different academic partners and which has benefitted all the parties in various ways. The model draws on current social writing practices in academia: at the LPAC’s core are regular, structured co-working sessions during which the LP and the academic meet (in person or online) to work in parallel on individual tasks, with slots agreed upon for goal-setting, focused work, stocktaking and discussion.

I then discuss how the overlap and complementarity inherent in the LP–academic pairing shapes the benefits each offers the other in the context of the LPAC, focusing on the dimensions of discipline, language(s), career stage, and geographical location. One major benefit is knowledge exchange and improved outcomes: for example, the academic contributes content expertise and insight into current academic/publication practice; the LP provides their expertise in language and writing. The other type of benefit, equally crucial to both LPs’ and academics’ long-term practice, relates to cognitive–affective well-being: the supportive nature of the model means that both partners are likely to become more focused, motivated and productive and feel less isolated.

I end by outlining guidelines for setting up an LPAC and best practices for keeping these mutually beneficial partnerships going.

Click here to register for the online conference

About the presenter

Wendy Baldwin

Wendy Baldwin is an authors' editor and Spanish–English translator specialising in scholarly texts in linguistics, language acquisition, education, computer science and engineering. Prior to starting her freelance business in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, Wendy trained in linguistics in the United States and taught academic writing at universities and colleges there and in Sweden. She has recently returned to her academic writing roots, offering writing courses and workshops to academics and PhD students in the Basque Country.

From whining to shining

Tiina Kinnunen, Finland

Tired of the memes where the freelancer translator is the only one staying up late or working during the weekend? Yes, they might be funny, but on the flip side of the coin is the cold truth. This is how the public sees us: as poor language nerds, working from home in their sweat suits and woolly socks, doing this for the love of language.

It’s time to change this. How can language professionals position themselves as experts commanding respectable fees? A Finnish initiative by 10 experienced professional translators, ‘The Translator’s Guide to the Industry’, offers practical advice on networking, brand image and management, marketing price negotiations, and much more. The initiative has also spawned cooperation between the authors and universities that train translators, which has resulted in guest lectures, workshops and articles.

We hope to empower other self-employed and freelance language professionals to position themselves correctly as experts in the language market and to benefit from others’ best practices. We aim also to establish and strengthen professional networks both to boost sales and to provide back-up and additional language services for clients.

Click here to register for the online conference

About the presenter

Tiina Kinnunen

Tiina Kinnunen is a Finnish professional sub-titler and translator who has been working in the field for more than 30 years, and also training and mentoring numerous translators. A co-author of the Translator’s Guide to the Industry, she’s spreading the word of best professional practices at various events. She’s an active participant in translation conferences and a contributor to the university education of translators in the form of guest lectures and university visits.

Using your network to branch out into new areas

Sally Hill, the Netherlands

To ensure the money keeps rolling in, freelance language professionals must keep their skills up to date but also follow changes in the market and in clients’ needs. Adjusting the way we run our businesses sometimes means learning new skills and even branching out into new areas. However, as freelancers we are not necessarily well equipped to make such changes on our own, and we must therefore make use of others in our network – be this in the form of a mentor or of sharing with others who are going through the same process.

In this presentation I will share with you how an increase in clients’ requests for writing services led me to get interested in medical writing. I will recount how I got in touch with others in this field and helped set up a network for science and medical writers in the Netherlands. Organising and attending events for the network has led not only to new contacts but also several new clients. I’ve also learned a lot more about using social media platforms. An additional discovery along the way is that many young scientists with language skills are looking to move away from academia and into writing jobs in the Netherlands – a move that may need the support of organisations such as SENSE.

This session will probably be of interest to language professionals – freelance or otherwise – looking to move into new areas. I hope to give you pointers on how you can use your network to explore new options, discover new talents and expand your business. Those interested in learning more about medical writing and the newly formed Netherlands SciMed Writers Network are also very welcome to attend.

Click here to register for the online conference

About the presenter

Sally Hill

Sally Hill studied biology at the universities of Sheffield and Nijmegen. A former research scientist, she works as a freelance medical writer, editor and trainer in scientific writing at Dutch universities. She finds her experience in education sometimes slows down her editing work, though using the comments function to educate her non-student clients about good writing is not necessarily a bad thing. She is a keen networker and helps organise meetings for other Netherlands-based science and medical writers. She’s also a contributor to and editor of the SENSE blog.

How much time does quality require?

Brian Mossop, Canada

Translators and editors face a conflict between business pressures to produce quickly and professional pressures to achieve adequate quality. There is no easy way to resolve this conflict, but I will present some food for thought on the matter, giving special attention to two factors: attitude to the job and the difficult concept, ‘quality’. My presentation will be punctuated at intervals with opportunities to make comments or ask questions.

Click here to register for the online conference

About the presenter

Brian Mossop

Brian Mossop was a French-to-English translator, reviser and trainer at the Canadian Government’s Translation Bureau from 1974 to 2014. He continues to lead workshops and webinars on revision in Canada and abroad. Since 1980, he has also been a part-time instructor at the York University School of Translation in Toronto, teaching revision, scientific translation, translation theory and translation into the second language. For more, visit

The plain truth: Applying Plain English principles to improving texts

John Linnegar, Belgium

Simplicity. Accessibility. Readability. Is the writer’s intention understood at first reading? These are the battle cries of the Plain Language Movement. But what exactly can the editor or translator do towards making texts meet these requirements?

When editors exercise their craft, they often tend to think of the standard facets of editing: copy-editing, substantive and structural editing, perhaps with some degree of formatting or styling for consistency. The need also to apply Plain English principles seems to be overlooked far too frequently, to the neglect of the target readers. In this day and age, conveying messages simply has become an important consideration.

During this session, I shall share some of the fundamental elements for adapting texts following Plain English principles. For those unfamiliar with them, this is an undoubtedly useful skill to acquire and cultivate, because it will gain them a reputation for transforming turgid writing into attractive, accessible and readable text that readers will delight in reading. And which will reflect well on its originators. These principles include:

  • Striving for shorter, less complex sentences and paragraphs, simpler synonyms rather than more ‘difficult’ words, and strong, active verbs instead of brain-numbing nominalisations.
  • Preferring the active over the passive voice, using more visual elements such as vertical lists, and expressing ideas and arguments positively rather than negatively are yet further devices to employ.
  • And, of course, using punctuation not merely correctly but effectively.

Thanks to the many examples of unplain and plain English to be shared with them in an accompanying handout – and some audience participation – the participants in this session will leave with a Plain English ‘toolkit’. That kit is bound to equip them with the approach and skills needed to implement such a reader-oriented approach to improving texts. That’s the plain truth.

Click here to register for the online conference

About the presenter

John Linnegar

An author and a passionate copy-editor with some 40+ years’ of manuscript improvement behind him, John Linnegar is a former teacher of English at secondary school and undergraduate levels. His specialty as an editor is law. In 2009 he published a book on common errors committed by writers in English in South Africa (NB Publishers, reprinted 2013); in 2012 he co-authored Text Editing: A Handbook for Students and Practitioners (UA Press) and in 2019, together with Ken McGillivray, wrote and published grammar, punctuation and all that jazz … (MLA Publishers). He contributes regular articles on the usage and abusage of the English language to professional bodies.

Editing in the era of digital nomadism: How I look after my mental and physical health

Marieke Krijnen, Belgium

I share, in the form of accounts of a number of short tips, how I deal with being a digital nomad editor: someone without a dedicated home office who often spends periods of time away from her home base. While having the freedom to work from anywhere is an enormous privilege, it also brings potential mental and physical health problems such as loneliness, isolation, burnout, back or neck problems from staring at a laptop screen all day, and a lack of exercise because you can’t commit to classes, for example.

I share practical ways in which I have dealt with these problems, such as joining digital support communities, using ergonomic tools with my laptop, using apps to block my email account after working hours, finding a way of exercising that is not dependent on where I am located at that moment, and much more.


Click here to register for the online conference

About the presenter

Marieke Krijnen

Marieke Krijnen is a former academic who left academia in 2017 to become a full-time copyeditor. She has since completed a number of training courses and is a member of SENSE and the SfEP. She has edited hundreds of dissertations, monographs and journal articles and is loving the freedom of freelancing while belonging to the warm and welcoming editing community.

SENSE 2020 Conference Programme

Sponsored by PerfectIt

Click here to register for the online conference

Please note that programme elements may be subject to change.

Tip! On your smartphone, scroll left and right to see all the columns.

Workshop programme

May 16
May 23
6 June
June 11
15 June
19 June
26 June
Paul Beverley:

Macros for writers, editors and translators

Alexander Drechsel: 
An iPad (and tablet) workout for language professionals

Sue Leschen:
Terms and conditions for freelancers

Ann Bless:
Ever thought of running a course on scientific writing?

Jennifer de Beyer:
Using reporting guidelines for biomedical research

Jenny Zonneveld:
MS Word skills for translators and editors

John Linnegar:
Getting to grips with connectors in English texts

Wednesday 3 June 2020
Conference programme day 1

12:45–13:00 Welcome and opening annoucements
13:00–13:30 Joy Burrough
Be(a)ware of (round) brackets (especially ‘Dutch’ ones)!
13:40–14:10 Tony Parr 
“I just moved on.” – Museum translations
14:20–15:20 Emma Hartkamp
Future competence profiles of EU translators
15:20–16:00 Networking break
16:00–17:00 Brian Mossop
How much time does quality require?
17:10–17:40 Jennifer de Beyer
Making reporting guidelines more useful in biomedical science and beyond
19:00–?? Networking time

Make sure you can receive our mails!
Check your spam box and add to your list of trusted senders!

Thursday 4 June 2020
Conference programme day 2

12:45–13:00 Welcome etc.
13:00–13:30 Sally Hill
Using your network to branch out into new areas
13:40–14:10 Nigel Saych
Fair Trade Translation in an unfair world
14:20–14:50 Tiina Kinunnen
From whining to shining
14:50–15:20 Networking break
15:20–15:50 Wendy Baldwin
Honing skills through near-peer exchange
16:00–16:20 Marieke Krijnen
Editing in the era of digital nomadism: How I look after my mental and physical health
16:30–17:50 Panel discussion
Setting up shop: newcomer perspectives on the translation industry
18:00–19:00 ‘Setting up shop’ networking
19:00–??? Networking time

Make sure you can receive our mails!
Check your spam box and add to your list of trusted senders!

Friday 5 June 2020
Conference programme day 3

13:00–13:15 Welcome etc.
13:15–14:00 Joy Burrough-Boenisch
Language interference: Forewarned is forearmed 
14:10–14:40 David Barick
Writing effective comparisons in scientific articles
14:40–15:20 Networking break
15:20–16:40 Ashley Cowles et al
Panel: Maintaining productivity as your family grows 
16:50–17:30 John Linnegar
The plain truth: Applying Plain English principles to improving texts
17:30–17:40 Closing announcements
20:00-??  Pub quiz & networking

Click here to register for the online conference

N.B. Programme subject to changes.

Tip! On your smartphone, scroll left and right to see all the columns.

Maintaining productivity as your family grows

Ashley Cowles et al, Netherlands & United Kingdom

Parenthood not only turns your private life upside down; it can also greatly affect your business. Whether you work from home or in an office, you’ll find yourself facing a number of different challenges: dealing with sleep deprivation, restructuring your workflow, dividing your attention between your clients and your family, safeguarding your productivity, minimising distractions, etc.

So how do you get your business (and your sanity) back on track after such a momentous life change? And how do you make sure your already established business stays on track as your family grows? By asking your fellow SENSE members for tips and tricks, of course! Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, or are expecting your first addition to the family, there’s plenty of helpful, hands-on advice to go around.

During this panel discussion, SENSE members with children of various ages will share their own experiences and offer some practical advice on how to balance effectively freelance work and the different aspects of family life. Naturally, audience members will also have the opportunity to ask questions and contribute their own stories.

Click here to register for the online conference

About the presenters

Simon Adams

Simon Adams is a translator, editor and content writer. He lives in Utrecht with his wife and their infant daughter.


Lloyd Bingham

Lloyd Bingham translates from Dutch, German, French and Spanish into English and is based in Cardiff, Wales. He and his wife have an 18-month-old daughter and a six-month-old son. A freelancer for four years before his first child was born, he has been learning how to juggle babies and business ever since.



Ashley Cowles

Ashley Cowles is a copywriter and editor who works mainly in marketing for tech and innovation. She lives in Utrecht with her husband and their two children, aged two and four.


Cathy Scott

Cathy Scott is a copywriter, editor and translator living in Maarssen, north-west of Utrecht. She works for advertising agencies and direct clients. Married to a Cloggie, she has two horse-mad daughters, aged 11 and nine.

Setting up shop: newcomer perspectives on the translation industry

Panel discussion

The translation industry is changing, meaning that aspiring freelancers and recent graduates need new skill sets and different strategies to set up shop properly. If you’ve ever wondered how recent newcomers to the profession deal with game-changing developments such as PEMT, globalisation, Brexit, GDPR, cloud tools, and the ever-downward pressure on rates, don’t miss out on this panel discussion.
The panellists will discuss a broad range of topics, including acquisition, marketing for freelance translators, diversification, standing out from the crowd, and much more. In addition, we will compare today’s market with the professional starting point, back then, of the more seasoned translators and editors in the room. Has it really become more difficult to start a successful business nowadays? Or have the technological advances made everything so much easier? Finally, we’ll discuss how SENSE members can help their newest colleagues and what new recruits have to offer in return.

Click here to register for the online conference

About the presenters

Jasper Pauwels

Jasper Pauwels is a full-time freelance translator, translating from English and French into Dutch for many translation agencies across Europe. His translation and proofreading services cover a wide range of topics, with a strong focus on legal and marketing translations. He is also a sworn translator under Dutch law. Before starting out as a freelancer in 2017, he completed two degrees in translation at two different countries. The solid foundation formed during his Bachelor of Translation degree from Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Maastricht, was complemented and enriched by his Master’s in Translation from the University of Antwerp.


Branco van der Werf

Thirty years old and a Dutch native, Branco van der Werf has been working as a freelancer since before he graduated. He specialises in transcreation and the translation of marketing materials, educational texts, and B2B copy. In addition, he is currently studying towards attaining his teaching degree for English.



Louise Wetzels

Now 28 years old and the face behind Tiga Translations since 2020, Louise Wetzels received her translation diploma from Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Maastricht, in 2014. She has almost 4.5 years’ experience working in-house at a translation agency, both as a project manager and as an English to Dutch translator/reviewer. Her fields of experience are marketing, tourism and customer-oriented texts.





Lloyd Bingham

Lloyd Bingham translates from Dutch, German, French and Spanish into English and is based in Cardiff, Wales. An in-house translator for three years before going freelance six years ago, he is a member of ITI and a tutor on ITI’s Setting Up as a Freelance Translator course. Lloyd has given talks on leveraging social media to build your translation business.




Nigel Saych

Nigel Saych is the founder and owner of a creative translation company based in Nuenen, near Eindhoven. No longer responsible for the daily administration, he is still very much involved as an active translator. Before his career change to become a translator, Nigel worked in international education. It is this fascination for learning, especially that involving languages, that maintains his interest in professional development for linguists, whatever their age.

Page 5 of 14