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Joining Editors Canada forged my path!

by Ann Kennedy

I joined Editors Canada as a student affiliate looking for opportunities to network with “real live” editors. I was partway through the Editing Certificate program at George Brown College and already thinking past graduation. Three years on, I don’t remember my exact Google search term, but I was thrilled to discover that the 2015 Editors Canada conference—their first international one, no less—was taking place in Toronto. I’m an old hand at conference planning, having worked at the local NXNE Music Festival and Conference for nine years, so I jumped at the chance.

I had no qualms about joining the organization in order to volunteer with it. I recognized the enormous potential for meeting people who could definitely advise me in my new career. And the Editors Canada website promised all manner of other benefits to members, too.

I’m so glad I did.

Volunteering at the registration desk was the ideal way to learn who was who in the editing world. I quickly found out that editors are an extraordinarily friendly and supportive group. My Facebook friend list doubled after the conference!

I went on to volunteer at the Editors Toronto booth at Word On The Street and join a national committee. The student relations committee represents the interests of students and fledgling editors in the association. Our mandate is to raise awareness of the association in editing and journalism programs and grow Editors Canada membership through attracting new student affiliates.

I was also honoured to be asked to join a task force whose goal is to improve access to member services for people who live in remote areas or who cannot access Editors Canada services for other reasons, such as disability.

All of this activity has paid off! I’ve made some great friends and I’ve done two copy editing contracts that were referred to me by members I’d met through volunteering. I highly recommend both joining Editors Canada and volunteering. The more you give of your time and talents, the more you’ll get!

Ann Kennedy is dedicated to reviving the skills and importance of excellent spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax in the digital age. She specializes in biography and memoir, travel literature and plain language.

This article was copy edited by Ambrose Li .

 

Promoting accessibility in editorial businesses

Web Accessibility Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

By Christine Albert

As a student enrolled in an editing program, I’m often asked to reflect on issues that may arise when working with clients. The discussion and module notes invariably focus on respect, clear communications, and diplomacy—about how the language of our queries and comments can affect authors. Yet, accessibility is rarely discussed, and few resources from professional associations or courses exist on how to make editorial businesses inclusive and accessible.

This lack of information on accessibility creates a disadvantage for those potential clients who may be physically or cognitively unable to use the same editing services as their peers. An author with multiple learning disabilities once explained to me that she found it difficult working with other editors: they simply wrote long comments using Track Changes, which she had difficulty reading. As a result, she had to constantly ask her transcriber to read her the edits and comments. After discussing the author’s needs, she and I worked out an alternate method that involved verbally communicating comments and large changes, which would let her work through the draft independently—a tactic that surprisingly hadn’t been considered by the other editors.

Lack of accessibility not only affects the services side of our businesses but it also affects our marketing efforts. Google searches for accessible and inclusive editing services turned up no relevant results. While searching editor websites, I was surprised to find that many do not follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) nor incorporate basic accessibility features. For instance, a number of websites could not be zoomed in when viewed on a tablet, while others did not have enough contrast between the text and background. As someone with moderate vision issues, I struggled to read the content on these websites. Potential clients with visual or learning disabilities may be deterred by these difficulties and look elsewhere for an editor. If we are to operate our editorial businesses successfully, we need to go beyond our assumptions of what clients need and make our services accessible so we can provide them with what they actually require. (more…)