“You Put A Spell on Me”: Spelling and Grammar Checkers
One nice thing about word processors is that they make it much easier to find and fix the inevitable errors that arise from authors who can’t spell and editors like me who get fumblefingered under deadline pressure.
Since I entered publishing in the early 1980s as an editor for a small publisher of religious books, computers have caused immense changes in the business. Many elements of the editor’s duties in prepress have been transformed by:
(1) electronic submission,
(2) electronic workflow management,
(3) desktop electronic operation, and
(4) electronic proofing.
Nancy Titus Napierala
I had no idea that technical editing could be a career path, yet that is what I learned when I took a class in this field as a graduate student at Northern Illinois University. Considering for the first time the possibility of specializing in the field of technical communication, I recalled my impression that scientific writing and editing must be highly difficult and specialized. People with traditional humanities backgrounds (like mine) are also thought to be averse to anything connected with such hard sciences as mathematics, chemistry, physics, or engineering. Yet I had already experienced another seemingly high-tech field — accounting.
I work in a department responsible for on-the-job training and have experienced the challenges of working with people for whom English is a second language. I see that sometimes they become frustrated, for lack of a better term, when writing. What they have in their minds is not always reflected in the written document. My colleagues are extremely knowledgeable – they just have a language barrier. This is where I come in.
Whether you are a full-time editor or simply someone who believes in the importance of editorial vigilance, you have a lot to gain by becoming a visible leader. Even if you’re not in a supervisory position, taking an active role in stressing the value of high-quality editing can improve your company’s products, boost the reputation of the editing profession, and often provide some payoffs in your career as well.