Editing in a Flat World: Taking Advantage of Globalization

BAEF South Bay forum
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Summary notes by Bill Lusto

General

Extensive, lively discussion of issues and concerns among the 15 or so attendees:

  • Learning to work with Indian writers
  • Outsourced writers typically use non-U.S. English
  • Many native-born writers don't have a grasp of fundamental English
  • Editing process often invoked at the end of the cycle rather than the beginning
  • Demeaning, vague instructions: "clean up the text"; "look it over"; "give this a quick read"...
  • Have writer describe product; identify audience; purpose of document
  • Companies axing editors; engineers creating—and editing—their own docs
  • What do "Value Added" and "Value Proposition" mean?
  • Establish Editor as a helping role, not a grammar Gestapo

Lost in Translation

Foreignisms

  • "was not good sports"
  • "nip in the butt"
  • "S&M Conference" (not what you think: a Sales and Marketing conference advertised in India)
  • "much fun experience"
  • "Pick up your arms and rein the nature's power!"
  • on the contrary = in contrast
  • possibility to do = possibility of doing
  • different to [Brit] = different from

Subject-verb agreement

Chinese: no articles, no plurals

Cultural issues

  • Writers sometimes take on air of superiority.
  • Editors sometimes seen as adversary.
  • Most writers welcome friendly guidance.

Job Market

  • Chemical companies
  • Bioscience
  • Translations
  • Video games
  • European academia
  • Copy editing
  • Proofreading

 

 

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