My Top 3 Editor Roles

In 2016, the STC Technical Editing SIG held a Watercooler Chat entitled, Technical Editors Wear Many Hats. We discussed the evolving role of an editor and various roles technical editors play. Some common responsibilities:

  • proofreader
  • trainer
  • peer reviewer
  • writer
  • video creator

Most days, I juggle several editorial roles. Here are my three favorites.

1. Peer Reviewer

Peer reviews–or feedback–isn’t formal editing. I critique stories, blog posts, articles, chapters, or online course material. Sometimes, it’s an early draft and my colleague wants another read to help her organize the piece. Other times a fellow writer emails the story for me for one last review, to make sure the piece flows.

The side benefit? I read material before it’s published!

2. Proofreader

It’s all in the details! A client sends me a draft article or a link to their website. The task? Proofread for grammar, spelling, and punctuation matter.

One client asked me to proof their initial blog posts. I received the link to the newly-launched website and began reading. One post had this bold title: Heart Attach [sic]. I emailed a screenshot to the client before adding this error to my list. “Yikes! I proofread that title many times! It’s supposed to be ‘Heart Attack’.” Every writer needs a proofreader!

We can’t trust the automated spell checkers to pick up all our errors. ‘Attach’ is a good word but not the right word for this context!

3. UX (User Experience) Editor

I hadn’t thought of UX testing as editing. In several cases, I test as a consumer and provide text edits.

Case 1: Missing Login/Logout Buttons

Recently, I checked on one educational institution’s website. Where’s the login button? I wondered. I emailed their tech support. Tech Support responded that there’s no login button and provided the login steps. After I click around, I wanted to logout. No logout button or link, and when I closed the browser and reopened, I was still logged in. Again, I contacted Tech Support; they sent me the logout link.

My feedback to the institution? It was difficult to login and logout; please add buttons!

Case 2: Missing Donate Button and Unsecured Website

A non-profit client requested that I click through their site and try some features. We agreed that I would try and donate, to test the automated responses. On the main page, there was no Donate button. Why make a potential donor hunt through the site to give money? When I did find the donation page, I noticed that the website address wasn’t secure (not https). Consumers don’t want to provide PII (Personally Identifiable Information) on an unsecured website.

My suggested edits? Secure the donation page. Add Donate buttons on all pages.

 

Sherri Leah Henkin is a Senior Member of STC. Her STC-related articles have appeared in NEO STC’s newsletter and Intercom. In addition to tech writing and editing, Sherri has published creative non-fiction pieces in several international magazines. Sherri offers content creation and editing services through www.contentclarified.com.

Protecting Yourself from Injury While Using a Computer – Part 3: Eye Strain

by Geoff Hartgeoff-Australia-cropped

Editor’s note: This series of articles is taken from Appendix II of Geoff’s book Effective Onscreen Editing, 3rd edition (http://www.geoff-hart.com/books/eoe/onscreen-book.htm), which was published in May 2016. Republished for Corrigo with the author’s permission.

The more you use your computer, the greater the risk you’ll encounter a repetitive-stress injury (RSI) such as carpal tunnel syndrome. That’s not because computers are inherently harder on your body than (say) jogging, but rather because the problems are subtler and develop over longer periods. (Unless you jog 8 hours per day.) RSI results from overuse of a body part without giving it time to recover, so it’s also called an overuse injury. Given how much time modern editors spend at the keyboard, overuse is surely a risk. The most common problems fall into three categories, each of which will be discussed in separate blog posts:

Continue reading

Protecting Yourself from Injury While Using a Computer – Part 2: Hand and Arm Problems

by Geoff Hartgeoff-Australia-cropped

Editor’s note: This series of articles is taken from Appendix II of Geoff’s book Effective Onscreen Editing, 3rd edition (http://www.geoff-hart.com/books/eoe/onscreen-book.htm), which was published in May 2016. Republished for Corrigo with the author’s permission.

The more you use your computer, the greater the risk you’ll encounter a repetitive-stress injury (RSI) such as carpal tunnel syndrome. That’s not because computers are inherently harder on your body than (say) jogging, but rather because the problems are subtler and develop over longer periods. (Unless you jog 8 hours per day.) RSI results from overuse of a body part without giving it time to recover, so it’s also called an overuse injury. Given how much time modern editors spend at the keyboard, overuse is surely a risk. The most common problems fall into three categories, each of which will be discussed in separate blog posts:

These articles provide the information you’ll need to understand these problems and take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Continue reading

Protecting Yourself from Injury While Using a Computer – Part 1: Aches and Pains

by Geoff Hartgeoff-Australia-cropped

Editor’s note: This series of articles is taken from Appendix II of Geoff’s book Effective Onscreen Editing, 3rd edition (http://www.geoff-hart.com/books/eoe/onscreen-book.htm), which was published in May 2016. Republished for Corrigo with the author’s permission.

The more you use your computer, the greater the risk you’ll encounter a repetitive-stress injury (RSI) such as carpal tunnel syndrome. That’s not because computers are inherently harder on your body than (say) jogging, but rather because the problems are subtler and develop over longer periods. (Unless you jog 8 hours per day.) RSI results from overuse of a body part without giving it time to recover, so it’s also called an overuse injury. Given how much time modern editors spend at the keyboard, overuse is surely a risk. The most common problems fall into three categories, each of which will be discussed in separate blog posts:

These articles provide the information you’ll need to understand these problems and take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Continue reading

Book Review: Effective Onscreen Editing (3rd edition)

by AElfwine Mischler

correctcoverHart, Geoff. 2016. Effective Onscreen Editing: New Tools for an Old Profession (3rd ed.). Diaskeuasis Publishing, 827 p. (PDF version).

 

Whether Word has ever tempted you to smash your computer or you just want to do some word processing task more quickly, you need this book.

Geoff Hart published the first edition of Effective Onscreen Editing nearly ten years ago. It was so popular that he wrote a second edition and has now produced a third. Continue reading