Thursday, September 14, 2006

Editing an English Newsletter

One of the major components of translation is revision, i.e. the detailed and careful analysis of a translation to ensure its accuracy. It is a form of editing. Traditionally, translation students learned it from their professors, employees from their company revisors. Debuting freelance translators are at a disadvantage because they do not have a second pair of eyes looking critically at their work.

I was fortunate to have had good revisors and later on carried out an extensive study of translation quality control using statistical analysis. In recent years, I have used my critical skills while assisting ATIO's certification exam candidates during their preparatory work.

In the present world of the Internet and Websites, many business people resort to E-letters and Newsbulletins to reach their potential clients. In many cases, these are professionals who have embarked on a second or third career in the independent world. They are well educated, knowledgeable and have years of experience in their field but they have, in the past, relied on writers or other staff to do the bulk of their writing. Some have discovered the advantages of speech recognition and dictate their letters. I myself have tried it and find it quite effective once you have mastered the media and the method. The problem is that people have little time to do the editing work or they are too absorbed in it to see the errors or areas for improvement.

In the last six months, I have had the opportunity to provide editorial (i.e. revision) services to several very capable independents and was amazed by their reaction. They absolutely welcomed my comments, asked for opinions and generally made me feel that the service provided was worthwhile.

What has been your experience?


Dave Crisp, Leadership Speaker said...

Oleg makes good points. In my own work I found switching from writing directives and memos as a senior executive to writing informative, interesting pieces for a newsletter took some doing. His help was valuable as a matter of fact as was input from a number of others along the way.

It's hard to underestimate the value of having other eyes look at your work. Editing is a skill. I can see the translation background fits naturally into it.

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted to have found your blog on the Internet! I work as an editor. As an editor, my goal is to produce English language material that is consistent, correct, concise, complete, and easy to translate. Editors can help achieve this goal through careful examination of vocabulary and syntax. Because you work as an editor as well as a translator, I would be very happy to hear your views. I am also a student of French. So I would be happy to base this discussion on "Editing for easy English-to-French translation." If you have the time, I would be very happy to have this discussion with you. I can be contacted by e-mail at

Thank you very much indeed.

With best regards,

Oleg Kuzin said...

Translation and editing cannot, in my mind, be reduced to a few "recipes". I was taught grammar and syntax as I was growing up and the importance of the proper use of language was always emphasized. This applied to Russian, Czech, French, Latin, English and German. Revision and editing were definitely emphasized when I started learning about translation and continue to be pivotals elements of the translation process.

Professional associations, such as the Editors' Association of Canada have a comprehensive programm of education and upgrading for their members. Interestingly enough, some of their members are translators as well, so your interest in reflected in reality, in Canada, at least. Your country of residence may have such an organization.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Oleg Kuzin. Your views, given your experience as translator and editor for over 45 years, are valuable to me. I will study the site that you mentioned. Thank you for your time.

Best regards,