Never underestimate the hidden powers of a good editor!
Technology has made it possible for anyone to put information into cyberspace with relative ease. Exchanging informal news and views with friends and connections via social media is one thing.
- But what if you want to write official documentation for your company or develop slides for a PowerPoint presentation?
- What if you want to advertise a product or service on a website, tell your story or write a blog?
Don’t fall into the trap of cutting corners and going it alone. Your work still needs to be edited.
- A flawed presentation or web page that is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, or design and layout faults, is not going to have the desired effect.
- Quite apart from making the Grammar Nazis quake in their boots, you will be doing yourself a disservice.
- You will also leave your clients and target audience doubting your integrity and professionalism.
At the very least, give your written work to someone else to read.
- No matter how often you have checked and rechecked your work, you are likely to have missed something important.
- Chances are that you will only spot it once you hit the send button.” width=”236″ height=”236″>
First prize though would be to budget for a writer and/or editor who has the required skills and expertise to put the finishing touches to your well-intentioned efforts. An editor has a particular skills-set that is developed and honed over time.
What an editor can do for you
A good editor is someone who:
- has an eagle eye for errors
- is anal in the extreme
- is detail minded
- has a passion for language (often more than one)
- understands how grammar and language work together to create meaning
- (ideally) has a knowledge of the topic or subject he or she is editing/writing
- can spell
- has mastered grammar and punctuation
- knows how to adapt the style, tone, register and degree of formality of the text, according to the readers
- can structure text logically
- has an extensive vocabulary
- can adjust the language level according to the age and experiences of the readers.
In addition to intrinsic language skills, a good editor:
- is computer literate
- has experience with editing software
- can type reasonably fast
- has an understanding of how good design and layout, as well as the use of visuals such as graphics, illustrations and photographs, can enhance text by making it visually more appealing and easier to read.
You would never send your sick child to a vet simply because the vet has some medical understanding , so don’t let your brother-in-law’s second wife’s mother edit your work on the grounds that she did English literature at university.
If you do, the quality of the edit will be compromised and at the end of the day, you will get what you paid for.
Acknowledgments: Proofreading by Heather Thorne