Tag Archives: Editing

SENSE Professional Development Day 2019

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!

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SfEP Conference 2019: In the beginning, there was the word

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.

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Summer 2019: Lots of professional development!

It’s been a while since I last blogged! My summer was filled with work, courses, and conferences. To begin with, I completed another course toward obtaining Queens University’s Professional Editing Standards certificate: Stylistic Editing, now renamed Copyediting Standards 2. This brings my total number of courses to three: Copyediting Standards 1, Fundamentals of Editing (completed this spring), and Copyediting Standards 2. I have two more courses to go before I can apply for the certificate! I also enrolled in a course from the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) titled “Brush Up Your Grammar,” which I have almost completed.

As it turned out, whatever I learned from my courses could be put in practice right away, as my summer schedule filled up with work. I edited two academic monographs, eight journal articles, two dissertations, two book chapters, a conference paper, some blog posts, and even a card game! Thanks to the courses, I have become quicker at spotting issues, and I more readily know what to do about them. The issues I encounter are not just spelling and grammar errors, but also language that is not clear, coherent, or concise. It is nice to feel more confident in my abilities to spot and correct these instances!

My skills were honed even more by the conferences I attended this September: the Annual Conference of the SfEP and the Professional Development Day of the Society for English-language Professionals in the Netherlands (SENSE). While attending two conferences in such rapid succession was intense and left me feeling a bit drained, I am very happy that I went, because I met many people and learned a ton of stuff. I am working on detailed blog posts about these two conferences, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, I am booked up until the end of October at least, having started work for Terreform’s publishing imprint Urban Research on a forthcoming edited volume that I’m very excited about: an anthology of essays in honor of legendary urban theorist Mike Davis!

Mini-conference in Newcastle

The article below was originally published in the July/August issue of Editing Matters, the magazine of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP).

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!

The pre-conference dinner venue in Newcastle.
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I’m a new(ish) member of the SfEP!

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

My first year as editor and five tips for new editors

2018 has almost come to an end, and I thought that this would be a good moment to reflect on what I have achieved during my first year as a full-time, professional editor and look ahead to 2019. I have to say, I’m quite satisfied! I registered my company, created my website, learned how to run a business, joined Editors Canada and SENSE, took my first course towards obtaining my editing certificate, became a stakeholder in Peerwith, worked with dozens of kind and talented clients, met many amazing “edibuddies” online through various social media platforms, and, not unimportantly, managed to make enough money to have a fun and comfortable life. I hereby want to thank all the clients who chose to work with me and all the editors who have given me their time and advice.

In the new year, I am planning to complete my training, attend my first editing conference, and expand my client base to include think tanks and governmental institutions. I am now also a Permanent Resident of Canada and am going to explore what opportunities this might bring in 2019, beginning with a two-week trip to Toronto in the second half of January 2019 (where I’m planning to meet up with plenty of edibuddies!).

Here are five tips I have for new editors, based on my experience during my first year as a professional editor:

1. Join a professional association

My membership of professional associations no doubt made me look more professional, but for me the main benefit was that it provided me with (information about) many useful resources in terms of training (courses, webinars, books), business (contract templates, how to set rates), and networking (conferences, mailing lists, Facebook groups). These associations also usually have a directory where you can list yourself as a freelancer, so potential clients can find you. They also offer discounts on conferences, office supplies, and online subscriptions, and different editors’ associations offer discounts to each other’s members. There are usually different ranks for members, assigned according to experience, training, or exams, and one can move up the ranks over the years. Continue reading