Personal standards

Subject: Personal standards
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 1996 08:22:28 -0500

Here's another trick I sometimes use to "raise" a quick and
dirty editing job to meet my personal standards: describe
the problem and tell the client how to fix it, but don't
fix it yourself. (As an editor, I'm often told "light edit
_***ONLY***_", and there's usually a direct correlation
between "light edit only" and "boy this text needs work".)

Brent is right that you have to have standards, but on the
other hand, if you expect to remain employed, you have to
somehow reach a compromise between your standards and those
of the person paying the bills. Ideally, try to move their
standards towards your own, but that isn't always going to
work. When it doesn't, identify the problems and let them
do the grunt work.

For example, the first time you encounter passive voice,
highlight it and attach a note that says something like
"This is called passive voice. It's not wrong, but it is
long (printing $$$) and far less readable. I'd rewrite it
as ... , but if your customers haven't complained, you can
probably leave it as is for the current version. If you'd
like, I'll fix it for you at an additional cost of..."
Then, use a highlighter marker to highlight the offending
passages. If there are a few different types of error, use
a different marker for each one.

I often do this for simple spell-check type corrections:
"You use the word 'patient', but current psychojargon seems
to prefer 'client'. Please do a search and replace to fix
all of this. If you do, make sure you don't inadvertently
replace 'impatient' with 'imclient'." (Yes, that one's
tricky... again, it's better to highlight the words as you
encounter them rather than relying on something as
dangerous as a global search and replace.)

It's not an ideal solution, but it might be an acceptable
compromise.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.


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