Note: An edited version of this post was published on the SENSE blog.
On September 21, SENSE, the Society of English-Language Professionals in the Netherlands, held its biennial Professional Development Day (PDD), a one-day professional-development workshop for editors and translators. I was excited to be attending my first SENSE conference!
After some coffee and networking, the day started with a plenary lecture by Jenny Zonneveld, who gave us a number of valuable tips on how to gain repeat clients: be an expert in your field, network, attend events, and build sound relationships with clients and your colleagues. This will require leaving your comfort zone, leaving space in your schedule so you can be flexible, spreading your risks, and learning from feedback.
Next, I attended a fascinating presentation by Dianna Beaufort on writing and translating in architecture and urban planning. I have a background in urban studies and am familiar with the embellished writing architects can produce. Beaufort guided us through some examples of problems caused by “architecture and urban development speak” or false friends and showed us how she dealt with these. Translating “een karakteristieke oppervlakte” into “a characteristic surface,” for example, does not work!
The annual conference of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), which took place in Birmingham from September 14 to 16, was an absolute blast. Not only were the facilities at the Conference Aston hotel absolutely luxurious, but the delegates were a delight as well. As a first-time attendee, I was invited for drinks with the council before the start of the conference, and everyone made sure that I felt welcome and included. The conference organizers set up a speed networking event and assigned us random seats for the gala dinner on Sunday, ensuring that we talked to new people. They had also provided us with pronoun stickers, which I thought was a great inclusive move! More entertainment and bonding opportunities were provided by conference choir The Linnet’s performance on Saturday night and the after-dinner quiz that same day, during which I learned that I really, really suck at guessing songs based on their first few lines being read out.
On 22 May 2019, the SfEP’s North East England local group organised a mini-conference in Newcastle. As a relatively new member, I was determined to attend my first-ever SfEP conference, even though it involved taking the overnight ferry from the Netherlands to Newcastle. People warned me that it was a notorious party boat and that I would probably not get much sleep. Thankfully, the trip was perfect: it was more like a pleasant mini-cruise than a hyped-up stag party (more on the boat trip here).
Expectations for this conference were high. Not only was everyone enthusiastic about the programme and looking forward to meeting up with old and new friends but a debate erupted on Twitter that raised the stakes for the treats served during the intervals.The pressure was on for co-organiser and cakesourcer, Kia Thomas!
After a wonderful trip, I met up with fellow editors the evening before for a pre-conference dinner. We went to a gorgeous restaurant in the centre of Newcastle, where we shared stories and had a few laughs about my unnecessary boat worries. I love how inclusive and welcoming the editing community is! The following morning, people arrived at the conference venue early, eager to get started. After registering, I socialised with old and new friends. It was great to recognise people from Twitter!
For anyone interested in how I got to the mini-conference in Newcastle, I wrote a guest post on it for the Low Carbon Academic blog. If you want to read about what the actual conference was like, you will have to wait until the article I wrote about it is published, which will be soon!
I have not yet reported on my new(ish) membership of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (effective as of March). This UK-based organization has members all over the globe and offers many benefits to editors, including a wide range of courses and many (local) events to attend. Seeing as I’m based in Europe for now, it made sense to join an association located next door with events that are only a train or boat ride away (I’m trying not to fly within Europe; more in this below).
What I especially like about the SfEP is its focus on training and community. Let me say something about training first. The SfEP offers training in core and editorial skills and for in-house editors. Members can obtain different grades of membership: Entry, Intermediate, Professional, and Advanced Professional, dependent on the amount of training they have completed and their work experience. Only members who have obtained the last two grades can advertise their services in the SfEP directory.
I think this thorough vetting process lends a lot of credibility to the SfEP and its members. I am currently an Entry-level member but am planning to upgrade to Intermediate soon (I should have enough training points by now). I will probably take the “Brush Up Your Grammar” course (next to my ongoing coursework at Queens University) and am planning to reach the Professional level as soon as I can. Continue reading →