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Shmuel Ross

I agree completely, and it's one of the reasons I love copyediting, but I think this could benefit by having some examples. Without them, this all seems a bit nebulous...

Judi Brown

Isn't all of this implied in the term copyediting? Anyone billing themself as a copy editor should know the parameters of their function.

Shmuel Ross

Judi: of course, but I assume these posts are meant for the uninitiated. I certainly have friends and relatives who think I have the most boring job ever.

Joe Eugene

I do occasional amateur-level editing of bilingual (English and Spanish) material. One is usually a translation of the other so part of my work is to improve the occasional clumsy translation to better reflect the original meaning. There are plenty of times when a comma here or there isn't enough to fix an awkward paragraph. It's always a judgment call between respecting the author's original and making it as good as it can be. Fortunately, we're all focused on the final product more than on our respective contributions.


"If his ego gets in the way, well, that’s an issue for another day."
I'm curious to hear your take on this! What do we do with the writer who thinks his prose is infallible after one draft?

April Michelle Davis

Editors are definitely a creative breed. Though we have rules upon rules to follow, we have to oftentimes find creative ways to implement those rules in practical ways.

Editors must also be creative because they sometimes have to rewrite, and this must be done in the author's voice. A non-creative person could not write in another person's voice.


This is a great post and I think people may not get it. I agree that the creative part is the fun part. I can be cruising along changing the usual when all of a sudden I stop, back up, and go, "that's not right!" I will then spend several minutes trying to reconstruct a sentence so that it makes sense and stays in tune with what the author is trying to say. It's hard to explain but that is the really fun part!

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