Has your work ever been edited by someone else?
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:40
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 28, 2009

If so, you may enjoy this piece:


..."Charlie makes a lot of changes that are totally arbitrary. A perfect example is my paragraph on removing and cleaning the crumb tray," Leff said. "He changed 'scrubbing pad' to 'scouring pad' purely for the sake of change, as though he needed to feel like he was an editor. I specifically asked Charlie about his thought process behind that one, and he couldn't even give an answer. He just said, 'I don't know, something about "scrubbing pad" just didn't sound right.'"

[Edited at 2009-04-28 19:31 GMT]

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Terry Gilman  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:40
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Fantastic Apr 28, 2009

Jeff, thank you for posting the link to this Onion article, which I would have otherwise missed. Perhaps they just edited/adapted an interchange among themselves as a filler?

In any case, I'm putting this in my collection right next to "I'm billing time" (to the tune of "Time after time"), which some wonderful person posted last year.

On the serious side, being edited well is terrific. Being reminded of the right term on the tip of your mind is a wonderful relief. Being saved from overwriting is the best. The faster we have to work, the harder it gets in some ways and the more grateful I am for the "get by with a little help from my friends" factor in my life (sometimes referred to in German as the "four-eye principle").

TGF editors (and copyeditors and proofreaders!)

All the best,

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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:10
German to English
I agree with the editor on one point Apr 29, 2009

Thanks for the link to this article.

Although I see the author's point about "scrubbing pad" and "scouring pad," as far as instruction manuals are concerned, I do agree with the editor on this point:

Just tell the reader what part of the toaster you're about to talk about, and leave it at that. This was clearly a case of 'less is more'—something that's never been Ron's strong suit. He has a real tendency to overwrite

I think "overwriting" or "overtranslating" is something we all have to be careful about.

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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:40
Member (2007)
French to English
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Needs to be a two-way process Apr 29, 2009

Hello there

I enjoyed reading this article and did feel a bit sorry for the bloke who had written the instructions for the toaster. Nobody likes their work hacked about by somebody else; however editors are there for a reason; OK, maybe not hacking a piece of work to pieces, but certainly for doing a bit of polishing?

Finding the balance is not easy for anybody and just maybe this editor was one of those hackers and went a bit overboard.

So, I do understand the original writer's irritation when he had toiled and sweated over the piece:-)


Liz Askew

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:40
Member (2003)
Danish to English
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So true! Apr 29, 2009

And now to see what my editor has done to the last five files I sent her - I very rarely get any feedback, but this month we are working on a joint project...

I'm lucky here, and it is extremely good for me!

But I know the feeling - you sit up all night googling, skip your favourite TV series, serve fast food for supper and neglect your spouse to produce the correct terminology and the correct cadences and collocations in the language of the pros...

... and some upstart proofreader sends it back more red than black with the comment 'No native speaker would ever write this crap!'

But I'm lucky: it has only happened to me a couple of times, and even then, my clients 'can English'. When I sent a furious explanation of why I rejected at least 99% of the changes (More sitting up all night, living on coffee and fast food...) They accepted my version after all.

And my spouse is a workaholic too, so we're still married

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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:40
French to English
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It's nice for a change! Apr 29, 2009

It's nice for a change not to have editors and proofreaders ripped to shreds in one of these threads!

I do a lot of editing and proofreading and I fully understand colleagues who complain about unjustified edits. I would, however, like to point out what a pleasure it is for me as an editor to come across a well-written document that doesn't need much marking up!

A good editor would much rather not have to mark up a page and make changes.


PS. For those not familiar with The Onion, it is not a "serious" newspaper - it's a parody (but has caused confusion more than once on Proz.com as I recall).

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whither has fle
Local time: 18:40
French to English
excellent quality articles for proofreading Apr 29, 2009

" It's nice for a change"

hello Jocelyne,

I was pleased to read you comments. I have done quite a lot of proofreading over the years and now and then came across a really well written article, usually by scientists, who get their work proofread at least 12 times! Publishing is a tough game. So, now and again, I used to find myself reading an almost perfectly written article. This made me feel almost quilty, asking for money, with no corrections to offer! In fact, I always made a point of congratulating the authors on the trouble they obviously went to and their mastery of the English language. This was mainly just to make sure they didn'nt suspect that I might have been watching "Star Wars" while I was proofreading their work!

So, I am glad to see that somebody enjoys going through and excellent piece of writing.


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