If I’m honest, I enjoy editing more than writing. Improving other people’s writing can be a mindbender of a challenge, especially when it’s about a subject new to me. Material for an official website about ancient Kazakh music was an eye-opener, especially as it seemed to be translated from Russian by robots. I spent longer looking up Kazakh music sites – to understand what they were talking about – than doing the actual editing. But I learned a lot. I was once asked to rewrite 2,000 words from Shakespeare plays, keeping the scansion, for a non-native readership. Good news: I was introduced to Shakespeare when I was seven, and have never been scared of it – but to modernise it? Shakespeare used all the good words… But it was a buzz – my brain hasn’t worked so hard for decades. I won’t claim the results were any threat to Will Shakespeare, but it did the job.
I spent more than a decade as a business magazine editor in the UK, writing, commissioning and editing articles on all aspects of business from venture capital to precision engineering, from employment law to alcoholics in the boardroom. My core mission was to produce articles that were effective, memorable and entertaining – and I won awards for it.
My experience of proofreading and editing for clients in Romania is that although clients’ spoken English is admirably fluent and effective, written English is a different matter, and flaws stand out. In certain situations, it could make the difference between winning or losing a pitch, gaining a new client or not, impressing or disappointing stakeholders.
So what can I edit for you?
Annual reports and other key legal documents How embarrassing would it be to issue a crucial document, to be read by stakeholders at all levels, which has mistakes and bad English? A final check of punctuation, spelling, idiom and all the little glitches that mark out a non-native speaker could prevent a substandard document being published.
Proposals and pitches, sales information, brochures If you’re selling to native English speakers, it’s important that they aren’t distracted by little mistakes that lurk in the text. Making sure you’re using the right tenses, cutting out words and phrases that are old-fashioned or unnecessary, finding more effective ways of putting things, being clear and concise – these all help to make the proposal more powerful.
Articles, press releases and other regular publications Existing and potential clients find good information helpful, and respond well to good content that you send them. As long as it’s not full of errors. “If they make errors in their English, do they make errors in their field of expertise?” your target reader may wonder…
Anything aimed at a readership of native English speakers or an international readership in fields where English is the common language, and accurate, effective English is crucial.