ALISON GIBBS on GOOD EDITING OR LINGUISTIC NITPICKING?
Trust Alison to come up with a theme that’s refreshingly original and covers both financial and legal! As she writes:
With a degree in Modern Languages followed by a post-graduate diploma in translating, I always had it in me to be a linguistic nitpicker. Indeed, one of my tasks during my first job at a bank, back in the pre-computer era of the mid-1980s, was comparing two original loan agreements to check they were identical (no printing of copies back in those days, when a mistake sometimes meant retyping the whole document). Strangely enough, no-one else ever volunteered for that work.
Luckily, some things have changed since then (and not only no longer having to wait for correction fluid to dry!). One of the major changes has been the huge increase in the numbers of non-native speakers writing in English, not always entirely voluntarily. This, and the pressure on today’s academics to ‘publish or perish’, means my business is now split more or less equally between translating and editing, mainly for universities. But although many things have changed over the years, some of what goes to make a good editor is just the same.
Editing is still one of the less clearly defined language professions. So, what does being a good editor mean? The topics we’ll be discussing will include:
Establishing ground rules (purpose; light or heavy editing; how much budget is available; how to price your services; other restrictions applying);
Getting a balance between:
Willingness to keep on going and knowing when to stop
Respecting the author’s voice and knowing when being a ‘pleaser’ is not what’s called for
Finding the right resources
What to do if you really can’t work out what the author means?
And then see how you would improve some texts I’ve been asked to edit.
Tempted? Do come. All are welcome, but… there’s only space for 12 people. Click register above if you’re planning to come, by end Wednesday 13 November at the latest.
Wine & modest nibbles will be (of course) served. The exact address is Minervalaan 42/2, 1077PB Amsterdam. Unless the weather is foul, or walking isn’t your thing, the simplest (if you’re coming from Amsterdam Zuid railway station) is to walk up straight up the Minervalaan into town towards the Hilton Hotel and it’s on your left after about 15 minutes.