Tag Archives: Editing

My Top 3 Editor Roles

In 2016, the STC Technical Editing SIG held a Watercooler Chat entitled, Technical Editors Wear Many Hats. We discussed the evolving role of an editor and various roles technical editors play. Some common responsibilities:

  • proofreader
  • trainer
  • peer reviewer
  • writer
  • video creator

Most days, I juggle several editorial roles. Here are my three favorites.

1. Peer Reviewer

Peer reviews–or feedback–isn’t formal editing. I critique stories, blog posts, articles, chapters, or online course material. Sometimes, it’s an early draft and my colleague wants another read to help her organize the piece. Other times a fellow writer emails the story for me for one last review, to make sure the piece flows.

The side benefit? I read material before it’s published!

2. Proofreader

It’s all in the details! A client sends me a draft article or a link to their website. The task? Proofread for grammar, spelling, and punctuation matter.

One client asked me to proof their initial blog posts. I received the link to the newly-launched website and began reading. One post had this bold title: Heart Attach [sic]. I emailed a screenshot to the client before adding this error to my list. “Yikes! I proofread that title many times! It’s supposed to be ‘Heart Attack’.” Every writer needs a proofreader!

We can’t trust the automated spell checkers to pick up all our errors. ‘Attach’ is a good word but not the right word for this context!

3. UX (User Experience) Editor

I hadn’t thought of UX testing as editing. In several cases, I test as a consumer and provide text edits.

Case 1: Missing Login/Logout Buttons

Recently, I checked on one educational institution’s website. Where’s the login button? I wondered. I emailed their tech support. Tech Support responded that there’s no login button and provided the login steps. After I click around, I wanted to logout. No logout button or link, and when I closed the browser and reopened, I was still logged in. Again, I contacted Tech Support; they sent me the logout link.

My feedback to the institution? It was difficult to login and logout; please add buttons!

Case 2: Missing Donate Button and Unsecured Website

A non-profit client requested that I click through their site and try some features. We agreed that I would try and donate, to test the automated responses. On the main page, there was no Donate button. Why make a potential donor hunt through the site to give money? When I did find the donation page, I noticed that the website address wasn’t secure (not https). Consumers don’t want to provide PII (Personally Identifiable Information) on an unsecured website.

My suggested edits? Secure the donation page. Add Donate buttons on all pages.

 

Sherri Leah Henkin is a Senior Member of STC. Her STC-related articles have appeared in NEO STC’s newsletter and Intercom. In addition to tech writing and editing, Sherri has published creative non-fiction pieces in several international magazines. Sherri offers content creation and editing services through www.contentclarified.com.

Book Review: Effective Onscreen Editing (3rd edition)

by AElfwine Mischler

correctcoverHart, Geoff. 2016. Effective Onscreen Editing: New Tools for an Old Profession (3rd ed.). Diaskeuasis Publishing, 827 p. (PDF version).

 

Whether Word has ever tempted you to smash your computer or you just want to do some word processing task more quickly, you need this book.

Geoff Hart published the first edition of Effective Onscreen Editing nearly ten years ago. It was so popular that he wrote a second edition and has now produced a third. Continue reading

Nine Steps to Improve Technical Editing Skills

Francis_Bao_thumbnailBy Francis Bao

Technical writers always want their work to be recognized by the audience. Technical writing and editing skills are highly associated with each other. Effective editing will help make bad writing good and good writing better. Experienced editors will catch both factual and grammatical errors in copy before it is published, preventing embarrassment, additional costs, and possible legal action. Follow these simple steps to improve your editing skills. Continue reading

Book Review: The Sense of Style

geoff-Australia-croppedby Geoff Hart

Pinker, Steven. 2014. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Penguin, 359 p.

We editors love our style guides and accumulate them by the dozen so we can seek insights to solve vexing editorial problems. But if we’re honest, we’ll admit that we return to some guides more than others—usually the ones that support our preferences and prejudices. Even for those references, we sometimes wonder whether certain recommendations make sense, or whether they’re just rules for the sake of rules—the author’s prejudices carved in stone, as in Theodore Bernstein’s eponymous “Miss Thistlebottom” or even The Elements of Style, which William Strunk began carving in stone nearly a century ago. Continue reading