First Standard Publishing

11 Nov

Hi. My name is Jane, and I’m a sub-par English Editor.

I’m sorry, Internet.

Way back when, I was offered an editing job by a very nice British girl who was heading back home. She said it was easy, you occasionally got to read interesting things, and the money was decent. All of these things were true, I found.

However, I also found that the turnover was quick, deadlines short, the work was sometimes headache inducing, and my grasp of grammar and the English language would be slowly worn away, like a rock is worn down by water.

I’m back to my old ways. Today I handed in about 5000 words on the rules and regulations on getting a platinum credit card here in China for the Societe Generale. Yeah. It’s not really out of the ordinary: I’ve edited books on architecture, a press release on tennis, papers, short stories, consumer complaint forms, and more.

Well, I say edited

I used to be the kind of editor who would spend half an hour on a paragraph, making sure everything flowed and was perfectly true to the meaning of the Chinese original copy. That lasted about two short assignments. When I was handed the book – a 160 page Word Document with a two week schedule – I broke about two days from the deadline with over two-thirds left to edit. They weren’t paying me nearly enough to justify this sort of work, I rationalized to myself as I used SpellCheck and the Grammar function to catch the major offenders. If they wanted great work, they’d give me more time. I was only one step in the editing process, I consoled myself. I began to only go after the serious grammatical errors. If it sounded weird, well, it wasn’t my problem if they had a shit translator. (Or used Google Translate.) I was just supposed to make sure there weren’t any major faux pas in the work.

When people look at Chinglish and think to themselves, why on earth hadn’t the company hire an editor, the answer is well, sometimes that they did. I’m really sorry, Internet, I am.

But they’re still not paying me enough to fix everything.

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2 Responses to “First Standard Publishing”

  1. Karen Luksich November 11, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    Well said Jane, I certainly relate. Some editing is certainly worth the time though, depending who you’re doing it for. LOL.
    Gramma

  2. Trish November 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Hey. When you get back to the states, that can look good on your resume. “Editor”. ;-)

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