Nuances of Editing for Global Audiences

The Presenter David B. Schlosser is an award-winning fiction and non-fiction writer and an award-winning editor. He taught higher-education writing and crime fiction, and served the boards of Editorial Freelancers Association and Mystery Writers of America regional chapters. His fiction appears in literary journals and online magazines. His non-fiction appears in global news outlets and industry publications. As a communications strategist, political consultant, and candidate, he has delighted and offended people around the world. Meeting Notes Due to technical difficulties, a video of the July 8 presentation will not be available, but you can read an excellent recap below, or peruse the speaker’s “Editing for a Global Audience” presentation in PDF format here. (Written notes from the 07/08/19 meeting by Molly Hollenbach) In his introduction, presenter David B. Schlosser (dbschlosser.com) noted that he had given this talk at the Red Pencil Conference in 2013. He reviewed his background, from running political campaigns to P.R., to scripts for micro devices, to editing, and then more editing. He now edits or writes Web content for Express Scripts, an online service for pharmacies. He has also written and published crime fiction. Cardinal rule: “Don’t edit the language in a way that would make it sound unnatural to native speakers of English.”   From his experience editing technical documents, Schlosser became fascinated by the particular challenges of making English clear to non-native speakers of English. He pointed out that “In our digitally connected, 24/7 world,” we are writing and editing for a global audience, of whom fewer than 15 percent grow up speaking English. Iceland is the most wired non-English speaking country in the world. Access to the Internet is growing, especially in Africa. Everything written will soon be available to everyone! Thus, unlike editing in other contexts, it may be more important to understand and convey the sense than to be absolutely accurate. It may even be better to make it clear than to preserve the authorial voice. He noted that engineers don’t care – but other kinds of writers may. (Be careful with poets!) SIMPLIFY Use the simplest and fewest verbs possible, and the simplest possible structure and tense. For example:  Instead of I had planned to go – write I plan to go. Gerunds and other -ing verbs are confusing to non-native speakers because there are also -ing nouns such as thing and setting. Avoid them if you can. Phrasal verbs and split infinitives can be problematic, e.g. turn off – keep the phrase together. Turn off the machine, not turn the machine off.  To go boldly, not to boldly go. Words that indicate logical relationships, such as however, therefore, and thus are better at the beginning than stuck in the middle of the sentence. Limit the passive voice – it’s hard to translate. Don’t verb nouns.  Don’t verb TLAs (three-letter acronyms), e.g. He got RIF’d Avoid rhetorical flourishes:  as well as = and.  Within = in. Make short sentences – 20-25 words max. CLARIFY Be stupidly literal.  Instead of The …

Red Pencil Conference 2019: July Conference News

July 15, 2019 Contributed by the 2019 Red Pencil conference committee IMPORTANT UPDATE: Early bird registration has been extended through August 15! Dear editors, here’s a friendly reminder to register for the Guild’s biennial Red Pencil Conference before early bird rates fly away. Prices go up after July 31, so you’ll save money if you register now! Eager for more news about the upcoming Red Pencil Conference 2019: Voice & Voices? On the blog last month, the June conference news post shared a first peek at sessions you’ll have the chance to attend in September. This month we’re offering a peek at the rest of the lineup—from presentations on building your business and taking care of your health to sessions that address the conference theme of Voice & Voices in different ways and from different perspectives. Want to get involved? You can still contribute your voice to the choir—figuratively and possibly even literally. More on that after a look at conference presenters and sessions. Conference Sessions: The Business of Editing The June blog post introduced conference sessions focused on what we edit, such as medical or technical texts, government reports, social media, or graphic novels. Here are a few sessions that address how we edit and how we build an editing career. Macros 101: Work Smarter, Not Harder Are macros a mystery to you? Amy J. Schneider, who has been a full-time freelance copyeditor and proofreader since 1995, long ago discovered that macros are marvelous, magical tools that editors can use to increase efficiency and accuracy. In this session, you’ll learn how to record macros, view them in Visual Basic Editor, and save them to a template. Amy will then share several of her favorite and most commonly used simple macros. Working with Independent Authors Tanya Gold is a book editor and writing coach from Cambridge, Massachusetts, who edits fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry (she’s also events coordinator for the Editorial Freelancers Association’s Boston chapter). In this session, she’ll present tips and strategies for working directly with authors. Learn skills for better understanding an author’s goals, setting expectations, establishing good communication, talking about pricing, and giving effective feedback that creates a positive working relationship. Proof Your Health, Performance, and Finances: Wellness for Editors When K. Aleisha Fetters was working as assistant editor and associate online editor for Women’s Health, she used to joke that she “sat at a computer all day, writing about how bad it is to sit at a computer all day.” Putting her writing into action, she became a certified strength and conditioning specialist. In this session, Aleisha will explore some of the biggest health and wellness concerns for editors while sharing practical, data-driven strategies for improving your energy, performance, and career. Saving Your Voice: Freelancing Outside the Box Joanie Eppinga has a bachelor’s degree in English, has a master’s degree in counseling psychology, and studied medieval mysticism and literature at the Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies in Oxford, England. In this session, she aims to …