Re: what to look for in a Tech Editor

Subject: Re: what to look for in a Tech Editor
From: Jean Hollis Weber <jean -at- jeanweber -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 07 May 2003 15:07:26 +1000

While we're on the subject of grammar etc (having got a bit off the topic of what to look for in an editor), I encourage everyone to read my recent article on the techwr-l website, "Escape from the Grammar Trap."

Returning now to the original question), people might be interested in the collection of job descriptions on my web site. These are, I assume, wish lists from the hiring companies.

Now a personal note: When I'm wearing my writer hat, what I want most from a technical editor is an analytical mind: someone who can spot inconsistencies, lapses of logic, important inconsistencies (the kind that will confuse some readers), and the elusive "what's missing here," among other things. Good comprehensive and usability editing are far more important than copyediting and grammar checking to me as a writer.

Lastly, a response to Dick Margulis, who wrote,

I don't think an editor has to use the names of parts of speech in communicating improvements to an author. I merely expressed my prejudice that to be a good editor one ought to know the technical aspects of grammar cold. Norma loquendi is great for writing, but I think it is not entirely sufficient for editing.

Despite nearly 30 years as a scientific and technical editor, I've long since forgotten the names of lots of the parts of speech and grammatical constructions, but I definitely know what they are for, how to use them, and other technical aspects of grammar. And yes, I'm over 50 and was rigorously taught grammar a long time ago. Sometimes I use the sig line "I know it all; I just can't remember a lot of it."

Regards, Jean
Jean Hollis Weber
jean -at- jeanweber -dot- com
The Technical Editors' Eyrie


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