Translation and Literary Services
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Areas of expertise: literature, art, philosophy, psychology, journalism and history.
Editing of short stories and novels--English and Spanish
Business letters--English and Spanish
Personal letters--English and Spanish
What does an editor do?
Copyediting involves reviewing documents critically for matters of tone, style, flow, word choice, point of view, consistency, factual accuracy, suitability of graphic elements, even legal problems the document might pose. A good editor might suggest ways a writer could retool his/her data and information for many other purposes, (i.e., grant applications, public-value promotions, marketing, Web pages, interdisciplinary partnerships, peer-reviewed journal articles).
A brief introduction to some aspects of copyediting:
Critical language review
Most people understand that editors look at the grammar, spelling, syntax, and the general mechanics of good prose style. This aspect of editing focuses on grammar, sentence structure, and spelling. More than other aspects of editing, language editing follows a fairly standard set of rules. Another layer of language review looks at diction: the choice of words and the meanings they deliver.
Some deeper questions editors may ask of the language of a document:
Does it unintentionally insult or misrepresent readers?
Does it contain unexamined assumptions?
Does it present a strong, unstated bias?
Does it deliver on the promise implicit in its title and lead sentences?
Does it contain jargon, familiar to those in the author’s professional discipline, but not to other readers?
Does it contain clichĂ©s (trite, worn-out phrases that no longer convey much meaning but that do hog precious space)?
Does it use “50-cent” words without conveying their meanings through context?
Does the writer present numerical data clearly and accurately?
Substantive editing requires asking questions about the facts the author presents in a document. Fact checking involves asking questions such as:
Does the writer substantiate stated facts?
Does the writer state opinion as fact?
Do the facts in one section of the document contradict facts presented elsewhere?
Does the text appear to present outdated facts?
Does the empirical data presented in charts and graphs align with information presented in text?
Graphical elements and visual displays
Do the graphical elements (photos, drawings, clip art, charts, graphs, tables, page layout) match the tone, style, and needs of the primary target audience(s) of the document it accompanies?
Does the writer represent numerical information in a way lay readers can easily understand? Do the graphic elements (photos, clip art, charts, graphs, tables) deliver information that supports and expands understanding of ideas presented by text, rather than serve a purely decorative/aesthetic function?
Could graphic elements replace blocks of unwieldy, confusing text to make information more readily accessible to readers?
These may involve matters of potential copyright or trademark infringement, libel and other concerns. Copy editors don’t make legal decisions, of course, but they do look for red flags to bring to writers’, program leaders’, or administrators’ attention.
The bottom line?
Love your editor and cultivate a strong, trusting relationship with one. He or she can make your work sing and keep you out of trouble. Best of all, you get the credit!
Story credit: University of New Hampshire extension.unh.edu
Samples of my work
References available upon request
For more information, E-mail: Marilyn
Click on the book cover below to see one of the books she has edited
Move your mouse across the picture for a close-up of Cian
Click on the picture to see another book edited by Marilyn
If you've written a story or a novel, click
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