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General medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology editing services, English editing editing services, English editing
A double major in English and Anthropology, this editor has applied her talents to editing documents from a diverse array of subjects, ranging from sociology to biosciences to clinical medicine. A member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), she has worked in a senior capacity for several well-known publishing firms.
editing services, English editing My first question relates to your resume. Your areas of specialization include medicine and nursing in addition to anthropology and sociology. When you edit a document on medicine as opposed to a document on humanities or arts, do you follow a different process?
  Well, I would say that overall my editing process is the same, because I focus on areas such as punctuation, grammar, and readability of the paper, whether it's on medicine or sociology.

However, I would probably ask more content-related questions while editing a medical paper, simply because the developments in the field of medicine are tremendous, and in some areas I would not be able to follow some of the technical details. So, if there are issues involving the clarity of the presentation, I try to provide some pointers if I can, but sometimes I can only mark the unclear passage and ask the authors to try to rework it.
editing services, English editing When it comes to authors writing on sociology or anthropology, you can normally detect their overall style, whereas medical or technical documents tend to be more curt and to the point. What do you think?
  Well, I agree with you. Medical papers are written in a very factual style, because the information must be conveyed clearly, using an established format. So, when preparing an article for submission to a medical journal, authors need to organize their thoughts within the particular framework of the journal and maintain a consistent style. When I edit, I always try to maintain the author's style rather than imposing my own. So, if the article is a technical paper and the author has a particular style, I will not interfere with that style. I will only try to clean up any errors and see that the rules of grammar are followed.
editing services, English editing You have extensive experience editing papers by non-native English speakers. What are the things that non-native speakers, especially Japanese authors, should keep in mind when they write papers in English?
  One of the things I have observed is that many non-native authors write very long sentences. It's usually much easier for a reader to understand the content of a sentence when it's short and to the point. Extremely long sentences are often constructed from two or more short sentences that have been strung together. When I think the reader's comprehension of a passage would be improved, I'll suggest ways in which the author can break up these long sentences into shorter statements that build on each other to present the author's point.

Some authors write long paragraphs, with lots of supporting information, at the end of which they condense their main point into a single statement. When a paragraph is filled with supporting data, this type of statement may be more effective if placed at the beginning of the paragraph. This orients the reader to the main point that will be developed in the rest of the paragraph. So, rather than starting at one point and working through a series of statements to a conclusion, it may be better to make the main point available to the reader at the beginning, and then follow with the supporting information.

With Japanese authors in particular, a major issue is working with definite and indefinite articles (the, a, and an) because English articles don't have exact equivalents in Japanese. So, authors are often uncertain about which article to use in a particular instance. There are grammatical rules for using the definite versus an indefinite article, but other decisions, such as when to use and when to omit articles, are more subjective and can only be learned with experience.
English editing service, editing proofreading services You have handled a number of rush assignments, once even a 16,000-word pharmacology document in a single day. Do such assignments challenge your skills? Do you handle them differently?
  I would say that my process is always the same. I don't think of editing a document until I have a sense of the whole thing. Usually, I look through the copy to the end so that I can see where the author is starting and where he or she is trying to get to. But I am particularly careful with assignments that have really close deadlines. Sometimes I don't really understand some of the issues being addressed until I've worked halfway through the paper. Then I suddenly realize what the author is trying to say in the abstract. When I don't have much time for an edit, I try to identify the major points that are being discussed, so that I have the maximum possible information in my head when I go on to edit.
English editing service, editing proofreading services Is editing always a good learning experience?
  Yes, the thing I like about editing is that I am always learning something. There have been some interesting assignments for which I would like to commend the authors' efforts, such as those discussing the development of new drugs, which will ultimately help all of humanity. There are many such moments when you feel that you are really contributing something beyond the simple correction of text.
English editing service, editing proofreading services Is that one reason why you decided to become an editor? Did it just happen or was it a conscious choice?
  I'm not sure if I really thought of being an editor. I have always been interested in the English language. In fact, English literature was one of my majors in college; I've always loved books and I wanted to work with something that had to do with writing. I enjoy learning about a variety of subjects, and editing has given me an opportunity to keep expanding my knowledge about diverse topics. This is what has kept me interested in editing over all these years.
English editing service, editing proofreading services Could you tell me about your academic background and your work experience in general?
  I am a double major in English and sociology. I started as an English major but I enjoyed sociology so much, and I took so many courses, that I ended up with another major! Once I got out of college, I worked for a law publisher for three years. They published books on tax law, which were quite dry and not particularly interesting.

When an opportunity came up to join a medical publisher, I jumped at the chance. My sister is a physician, a kidney specialist, and owing to her, I had an interest in medicine and health. So, I pursued medical editing, and from there I went on to general science and other areas. I have worked in many capacities within publishing - I've been a production editor, a managing editor for a large textbook publisher, and a development editor. I eventually decided to work as a freelance editor because I wanted to have some control over my schedule.
English editing service, editing proofreading services Does editorial feedback really help authors? Do you agree with the concept of providing explanations for some changes you make in a text, like the remarks file that we have?
  Yes, I think that this type of feedback is very important. Especially with non-native English authors, I sometimes try to provide an explanation of why I've made a change so they understand it is not arbitrary but is based on either rules of grammar or my experience of the topic.
Note that the views expressed on this page are of the person interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the views of Enago as a company. Please contact feedback@enago.com if you have any questions regarding the content of this interview.
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