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Technical editor: 2 reasons you can't afford to work without one

What can a technical editor do for me? Who me? Nothing! I don’t need a technical editor, I hear your say. No time! Can’t afford it!

But what if you are responsible for writing a winning proposal for a multi-million contract; a policy paper that could make or break your reputation; a scientific or technical paper that will reinforce your position as leader in the field? These documents have money and reputation riding on them. Can you really afford not to work with an experienced and competent editor. 

Here are two very compelling reasons in a nutshell. 

  1. Your technical editor will work closely with you to produce a convincing, professional document that’s correct, clear, concise and coherent. And written in the style and tone of voice for your intended audience.
  2.  Your technical editor will work with you to meet your deadline. No matter how tight your deadline. And together we’ll produce the best possible result in the time available.
edit - rewrite
edit-rewrite-edit

Documents for editing 

  • technical and business reports
  • technical proposals and tenders
  • user manuals, technical manuals
  • product specifications
  • instructions and procedures
  • white papers
  • scientific papers
  • technical articles and papers.

When to call in an technical editor

Many technical specialists, engineers and scientists are experienced writers, so why call for an editor? It’s quite straight forward. No matter how much writing experience you have: when the going gets tough, call for an editor.

Maybe, you’re pressed for time on an important document with a tight deadline fast approaching. Maybe, your not a native speaker and you’d like some support in producing a key document. Or, you’d like a second opinion to ensure your document is clear, concise and accurate for your audience. 

Because your technical editor makes every word you write count, and gives you practical support during the writing process.

The bottom line. If you have an important document to write and there’s  a lot riding in its success outcome – winning a prestigious and lucrative contract; enhancing your reputation; publishing a groundbreaking paper.

So here’s what an experienced, competent editor can do for you.

Copyediting, language editing, proofreading 

This minimum level of editing focuses on ensuring your document looks carefully and professionally prepared. The editing focus is on checking your document to ensure that it is consistent and without errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, capitals, abbreviations, units of measurements, and other writing conventions.

Readability, style editing

This level of editing focuses on improving readability – making sure your document can be read with understanding, quickly and with ease by your intended audience. The focus is ensuring that information and complex ideas are clear, concise and coherent for your readers to understand and comprehend without re-reading and reading again. Editing may involve removing redundant words; suggesting more appropriate words; shortening and rearranging sentences; reorganising paragraphs.

editing text on screen
Mostly, your technical editor will work on your document using track change
Sometimes a technical editor need to work on hard copy
Sometimes it's more appropriate for your technical editor to work on hard copy.

Structuresubstantive, content editing

Your document may need some structural or substantive editing to develop a more coherent sequence of information and ideas. It’s a good idea to talk to your technical editor before you start work. Decide what needs doing to complete your document in the time available.

Your document may need structural or substantive editing to develop a more coherent sequence of information and ideas. Structural editing aims to make your document easier to read and to understand. Editing may involve rearranging sentences within paragraphs; reshuffling paragraphs into a better sequence; and removing repetition.You’re the writer and you decide the document content. As your editor, I’ll check for inaccuracies and omissions. Perhaps, a date is incorrect. A geographical location is not right. Or, there’s an inconsistency in the tables and figures.

So what now?

If you’re working on a key document that’s important for your professional reputation, give me a call. Because I can help you to make every word you write count, and together we can streamline the writing process. Maybe, you want to learn tips and tricks to make an instant improvement to your writing, then take a look at Helen West, writing coach trainer, and contact me at west@englishcom.nl 

one-to-one discussion about text edits
The secret to a compelling document: working together with your technical editor