The Academic Editing & Proofreading Process Explained
It is Iterative
Having edited for a number of clients over the past decade and on a variety of topics ranging from Finance to Medicine and Philosophy, we often get asked how we go about editing an academic paper for a thesis, publication in a journal or for pure research purposes.
The answer, in a nutshell, is always the same: there are no short cuts and editing and proofreading is a meticulous and time consuming process. But the most important thing to remember is that it is an iterative process in which the Editor is there to help you, to make your life easier and at all times to offer his, or her, support and knowledge to make your writing shine.
We have a saying: “one edit or proofread doth not a perfect paper make.” It has to be read time and time again to reach a satisfactory level of completeness – perfection is what we all strive for, and unlike in nature, eludes most of us.
So what do we do that is different from the rest and why are we so successful at getting our students, researchers and academics published and reviewed positively?
The Process: We are not mind readers; we are “language doctors”
Our job as editors and proof readers entails the following traits (and many more):
- A keen eye for detail;
- A love and knowledge of the English language: so that what works in a philosophical context might not work in an economics or medical context;
- Working WITH you – the client, to make sure what you want to say is what is actually there on paper, whether implied or otherwise.
How do we achieve this?
Through talking to YOU.
Editing or proofreading is not simply about being sent a word document, tracking the changes and then sending it back, it is about understanding the reasoning behind the sentiment expressed on the page.
Speaking throughout the whole process, whether on Skype, FaceTime or through email is vital to the success of the assignment and achieving a perfect piece – or as near to perfect as one can possibly get. This means encouraging the author, pointing out faults, looking at the piece again and encouraging the author again. We know how hard it is to reach the stage when you are finally at that stage when you believe you are finished… but there is one last thing to do: polish.
Many a slip twixt cup and lip…
This is how we, The Write Writing, help you get the cup to your lip:
1. The First Edit (and proofread): this is where we look for language, grammar, meaning and related errors. Things like: are your sentences flowing? And if English is not your native language, rewriting it to make you understand with all important comments to explain things like: collective nouns, or restrictive clauses. The paper is then sent back to you and you accept (or not in some cases) all the changes.
2. The Second Edit (and proofread): This is where we start looking at the structure of your theses, dissertation, research or White Paper and advise you on what and where changes need to be made. We look at the sum of the parts and round off any rough edges. Of course, there is also a proofread at this stage.
3. The Final Edit (and proofread): By this time, we are practically finished – just one last check and that’s it. We have been discussing the paper for a while now, we have made the changes, caught all the errors and helped with any structural issues. We have supported you and given you belief in yourself.
And by this time, you are ready to confidently submit your paper to garner the recognition it deserves.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for more detailed explanations and questions – we are here to help and advise!