My Editing Process Broken Down
Not all editing jobs are the same. They all come with their own unique set of requirements, whether it be fixing sentence structure, changing intent, and meaning, rewriting an entire paragraph, or subbing out unnatural sounding words rarely used for a more contemporary vernacular.
The other day I received a WeChat message from a client. “Hello, Joe! Can you edit this document for me?” [Word Doc Attached] The first thing I do is open the document, save a copy to my desktop and always check the box “Maintain compatibility with previous versions of Word.”
I check the word count and calculate the time it’ll take to complete and how much it’ll cost. I offer a competitive price of $0.01/word to edit. Although, this price differs depending on the uniqueness of the job.
I then find that there are direct translations from Chinese to English and after doing a scan through the document I’m already finding mistakes. My OCD is kicking in. I open up Google Translate and paste in the Chinese. The translations aren’t 100% either, and I compare the original translations to the new ones. I find a better way to convey the meaning of the writing and make “Track Changes” to show my edits.
Word after word, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph. I work small to large to piece together the newly edited content cohesively. Now it sounds better, and I feel my OCD subsiding.
The last step is putting the newly written English text through Grammarly to iron out any mistakes. It’s always good to have AI/machine learning tools at your fingertips.
An essential part of editing/proofreading when dealing with my clients is communication. I like to understand context; who the audience is and what kind of goals you want to achieve with your writing is essential.
Is your writing casual? Academic? Business? Technical? Creative?
Are you trying to inform? Describe? Convince? Tell a story?
Is your audience general? Knowledgeable? Experts? And is your writing formal or informal?
All of these factors help with the editing process, and a great tool to use is Grammarly. Grammarly Insights offers a way to check off these factors to provide better advice on what to fix. I think it’s also important to note that Grammarly isn’t a cure-all solution. It isn’t 100% perfect and still requires human input. Overall, it’s a tool and is used as such.
Grammarly lets you find unique and rare words that speak volume and add depth. Also, it identifies words that are not amongst the most common 5,000 English words and improves readability by targeting:
– Word length
– Sentence length
– Audience knowledge with the Flesch reading-ease text score.
TL;DR: My process is mainly to use a combination of Word, Google Translate, a manual comparison between old and potentially new text, after making revisions pass through Grammarly to do a final sweep to catch any potential mistakes. Save and send.
Need help with editing, proofreading, or writing your English text?
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