Tips for working in editing services

Before starting to work on an assignment, you may want to discuss the client’s preferred editing style and any other special requirements. Issues to keep in mind before the editing begins may include: Are there any particular word limitations for the assignment? Are you clear as to the deadline by which the assignment has to be completed? Did the client specify which section of the text requires particular attention? Does the client expect extensive language editing as part of the assignment? For manuscripts, has the target journal been specified and if yes, are you expected to reformat the text accordingly? For grant proposals, has the client made it clear whether they would like your input on the feasibility of the proposed research (akin to pre-peer review)? This list is incomplete and will be assignment-specific.

Regarding the style, we strongly encourage experts and clients to discuss the client’s editing style preference before the editing job commences. All the revisions are done a ‘track change’ mode, for the client to accept or reject them, along with comments and questions for the client when further clarifications are required. However, some clients will be expecting a light edit (with most revisions signalled by comments; e.g., commenting: ‘to enhance the logic flow, please transfer this fragment to the preceding paragraph’) while others will expect heavy editing (introduction of the required/suggested changes; e.g., moving the text to enhance the logic flow). In either case, when the meaning of the text is not immediately apparent, instead of guessing, it is good practice to make sure that you understand the author’s intentions before going ahead and revising (e.g., you may comment: ‘The meaning of this sentence is unclear. If you meant..., say…’).

Agreeing on the style beforehand will (1) prevent the expert from re-editing an assignment multiple times, and (2) maximise the chances of client’s satisfaction with the completed assignment.

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