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Author's editing

Author’s editor, things you need to think about

As an author’s editor, I spend most days reading other people’s writing, most often with a view to detecting grammatical and other errors and improving flow. I flatter myself that – thanks to my research background, and my ever-growing experience with the types of texts I work on, as well as the fact that I often get to see the follow-up studies – I sometimes spot scientific flaws too.

People in my profession have to be very careful not to allow their language to become “polluted” – not only do we spend our days either reading non-native English or translating, in my case from French, we may live in a non-anglophone community and speak another language in most of our everyday interactions. One friend kindly pointed out to me that it was nice that I had a child as at least it “gives you someone to speak English to” (although not untrue on a day-to-day basis, I do actually have a few other candidates).

I have a few things that I do to try and preserve my language skills, one of which is only (or mostly) reading English-language literature. In my past life, I read in either French or English indifferently, but not anymore. I have also been a long-term subscriber to an English newspaper with high journalistic/editorial standards (although sometimes I worry that it is a little bit too aligned with my personal opinions – maybe I’ll write about that another time).

In addition to controlling my reading, I am a member of professional bodies, one French: Société Française des Traducteurs (SFT); and one international: Mediterranean Editors and Translators (MET). Among other things, these highly professional bodies offer CPD for language professionals. MET particularly caters to author’s editors, in fact one member took the trouble to write that Wikipedia post defining who we are and what we do. Thanks to annual METMs, I have made several good friends, discovered tools that I couldn’t do without, successfully completed tasks well outside my comfort zone, and had my eyes opened on professional practices or how I can better serve my clients.

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