The diverse skills and roles for language professionals in academia and science, Jackie Senior & Kate McIntyre
Academic researchers need to publish at the highest level of impact, which puts non-native speakers of English at a major disadvantage. They can employ language professionals (LP, editors/translators) to help level the playing field. We will discuss the skills and attitudes needed for working on specialized tasks for different stakeholders, and present concrete and anecdotal evidence of LPs’ added value.
LPs working for researchers and academic departments may perform editing, translation, copywriting, teaching and website maintenance. Being available to comment at each step of the research process – from idea to proposal, from presentation to publication – enables the LPs to help train PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.
For specific editorial services, LPs will need to keep up with the formatting, style guidelines, and content required by leading academic journals and funding bodies. They must ensure that the English in a text is correct and comprehensible to a global audience, but also that the content is fit for purpose and of sufficiently high standard to give it the best chance of being published or funded.
LPs should be interested in academic work and scientifically literate. And they need to be calm, friendly and service-minded, flexible in their working hours, and able to cope with the stress of impossible demands and tight deadlines.
About the presenters
Jackie Senior worked as editor/webmaster for the Dept. of Genetics, University of Groningen/University Medical Centre Groningen, the Netherlands, from 2007–2018. Kate McIntyre has taken over this position. Jackie Senior works primarily on biomedical and earth science texts. She started as a geologist working for Shell but joined the UMC Utrecht’s genetics group in 1995. She has been editing/translating for more than 40 years. She was a founder member of SENSE in 1990, served twice on its Executive Committee and is an honorary member.
Kate McIntyre did post-doctoral research in geochemistry at U.C. Santa Barbara and at CALTECH. After moving to the Netherlands, she started freelance editing in 2010 and has led workshops on academic writing for graduate students. She has also published one children’s book in Dutch, De knikkelares.