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By Michelle Waitzman
Anyone who has considered (or completed) any of the Editors Canada certifications has probably reviewed Professional Editorial Standards (PES). But how were these standards developed, and what do they have to do with the day-to-day tasks of editors and proofreaders?
Editors Toronto’s November program looked at PES through the eyes of four editors, each working at a different career stage and/or in a different editing niche. The speakers made it clear that the standards involve much more than taking tests; they are a practical and evolving guide to professional editing, which editors can use in a variety of ways.
The program started with an overview and history of PES from experienced freelance editor and instructor Elizabeth d’Anjou. Editors Canada first began discussing the standards in the early 1980s, and Elizabeth’s mother was a member of the committee that first created the standards, so Elizabeth practically grew up with them!
One of Editors Canada’s early goals was to set up a certification program so that professional editors could be easily identified (and their work properly valued) by potential clients. But before the organization could create a test for editors, it first had to define what it was testing. They considered questions such as the following: What skills are important? What tasks should editors know how to do? What kind of industry knowledge should they be expected to have? PES was created to answer these types of questions—a task that took many years and involved a number of consultations with members. The standards were not only important for informing a certification program, they were also a key tool for Editors Canada to use to raise awareness about editing as a profession and to explain what editors do.
Editors Unplugged: Get to know our panellists for Professional Editorial Standards in Action (Part II)
Interviews conducted by Catherine Dorton.
Our popular monthly program meetings often feature a jam-packed agenda. We like to keep our introductions short, so you can hear more from our panellists and less from us! It’s hard to do justice to the incredible wealth of experience these guests bring to the table, so we are offering you a preview with this short Q&A beforehand.
What were your goals when you started your career and have you reached them?
When I first started this career and got my Creative Book Publishing certificate from Humber College, I definitely saw myself as an in-house editor. But the job market didn’t make that easy. I went on to complete an internship and bounced around a bit in related roles, the longest as a publicist/proofreader for a small academic publisher. I still wanted to focus on editing, so I started a freelance editorial business three years ago. Now, my goal is to help independent and self-publishing authors prepare their books for market or to query [literary] agents. When a client tells me how much I’ve helped them, I know I’ve been successful, but it’s something I strive toward all the time.
When: Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 7–9 PM (Please note the earlier start time, to accommodate our rescheduled business meeting.)
Where: Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, 192 Spadina Ave., Third Floor, Room F
(Note: CSI Spadina moved across the street, to 192 Spadina Ave., as of late September 2018.)
Have you ever wondered whether your work as an editor meets the criteria set out in Editors Canada’s 2016 Professional Editorial Standards (PES) document? Have you read the standards but been left with questions about how to apply them to your own editing, or not read them and wondered what you might be missing?
Whether you’re familiar with the document or not, are new to the field or have been editing for years, or work in-house or freelance, our November program will help you gain a better understanding of the updated professional standards that were adopted by Editors Canada on October 1, 2016, and implemented on January 1, 2017. This meeting brings together four experienced editors for a panel that’s designed to take the mystery out of the standards by exploring how they work in practice.
Drawing insight and examples from their own backgrounds as practicing editors and members of various standards committees, Elizabeth d’Anjou, Amy Brown, Jennifer Dinsmore, and Laura Edlund will explore the four stages of editing covered by PES: structural editing, stylistic editing, copy editing, and proofreading. They will discuss the type of knowledge and practices that are required of all professional editors and the skills needed at each stage of editing. They will also talk about how they have applied the standards in their own work as in-house and freelance editors of Indigenous literature, fantasy and speculative fiction, educational texts, government documents, and more.