Background & Editing Experience - D. M.

editor photo D. M.
Education :
Master's, Biotechnology
Introduction :
Hello, so I’m keeping this intro casual. My name is (as you know) D.M., and I am an editor with Wordvice. I have deep interest in reading stuff pertaining to psychology, linguistics, and world politics. When not working, I like to kick back with binge watching TV shows, listening to music, traveling, and writing. Although I am not a total grammar nazi, behind my smiles and nods, I often find myself correcting people I am talking to; that’s an occupational hazard, I guess. Well, that’s me, and I look forward to working with you. Have a great one, cheers!
Q1. You are a member of the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS). Why did you decide to become a certified editor?

Yes, I am a supporting member with the BELS. Certification was always on cards for me, and I learnt of BELS while I was still relatively inexperienced. This is a highly competitive field, and having an external body, particularly one as significant as the BELS, validate your quality as an editor carries a lot of weight in this industry. I wanted to get certified primarily to become a better editor; BELS has forums for maintaining active communications among its certified editors, and these are always the right people to learn from. From a client’s perspective, getting a paper edited by a certified editor is reassuring to them as they know that their work is in capable hands. For all these reasons, getting certified seemed like the way to go.

Q2. From your experience, what mistakes do non-native English speakers usually make?

The main issue is with English that appears translated with numerous unclear instances. From a strictly grammatical point of view, these mistakes emanate from the structure of their first language. In many Asian countries, English is still learnt by translating words from the first language to English and not learnt from the ground-up as a new language; this leads to some serious issues with writing. Each language follows a certain order in which the parts of the sentence (subject-verb-object; SVO) are structured. This is SVO in English and can assume a different order in a different language. When learning English using translation at the sentence level, even if the individual words are translated just fine, non-native English writers tend to retain the structure of their first language. As a result, you have English written in a non-SVO structure. This is a challenge to edit, and although having elementary knowledge of the first language of the client may be useful in editing sentences that seem translated, it carries a high risk of potential meaning changes. As each sentence becomes a jigsaw puzzle of sorts, it is arguably better to write in the first language instead and then get it professionally translated and edited. This is more likely to retain your intended meaning, tone, and emphasis. Apart from this, the sentences can be quite verbose at times, and there is overuse of articles. These are, in my opinion, the issues with many manuscripts written by non-native English speakers.

Q3. Please share your editing tips.

I think all established editors eventually develop a personal style. My colleagues can skim through an edited document and know that it was my work. In this regard, the workflow of Wordvice is very wise indeed, with only one editor working per document. I generally recommend against collaborating on a document; even with two brilliant editors working on the same document, the quality won’t necessarily be superior and the document does not reflect either editor’s editing style. This leads to something I like to call as a split personality document. Personally, I am not reluctant to intervene; I do not begin editing thinking of what extent of changes I will make, and I have no set rule for myself to restrict editing to the closest alternative of the original sentence. I believe that the author pays to get the best alternative, not the closest one. I edit with a fresh mind with a pen and notebook ready beside me as I make my consistency checklist while working. I also drift away into reading up a lot while editing. I take my time with the document, no intended rush, ever.

Q4. Please share some general tips on writing better papers for amateur researchers.

I think it is important to go back to basics. I have observed that many papers following IMRAD format have overlapping content. This leads to high word count from writing the same things twice or thrice and probably leads to exclusion of important content as you reach the word count limit. The conclusion should always be in line with your aim. Be very critical of what takes up space in your manuscript. Once your article is written, it is good to have a colleague read it to assess that the article is directional, progressively informative, and flows like a story. Another important tip is to not use complex words. I have, in my tenure, received requests to increase the use of “smart-sounding words.” Utilize instead of use and however instead of but, you get the point. If not all, at most instances, the fancier word is nothing more than a hindrance to readability. There are typically two elements to focus on a manuscript: the language and the content. Manuscripts are generally complex enough from the novel content being published; this paired with the use of complex words makes everything difficult to understand. Manuscripts are to showcase the research and not the vocabulary. Language should be kept as simple as possible to allow the content to shine through. Again, have a colleague read your work, and if they reach for a dictionary, that’s an indication to change the word. Keep it simple, keep it brilliant.

Q5. How do you value your editing job?

I value this career greatly and thoroughly enjoy it. The brilliance of Asians is uncontested in the world. We make such successful people worldwide. Language barriers should not come in the way of life-saving research being published. I have always wanted to do something that can have a humanitarian impact, and working with authors to ensure that their work makes lives better worldwide is my contribution to it. I have edited a lot of impressive research, a lot of which has been published. These are novel drugs and treatments for diseases that humans and animals struggle against. These have the potential to save lives and restore the quality of life. Publication is the first step to reaching commercialization of such life-saving products and treatments, and I am very happy to have contributed to it. Although I would have imagined myself as a more direct participant in impacting mankind, I find peace in knowing that ripples from my work are resonating quietly yet far and doing their bit in changing lives for the better.

Q6. A word for the clients of Wordvice

As a particular note to the clients of Wordvice, I strongly recommend the use of Second Look editing. In the first round of editing, we editors generally point out unclear sentences, logical loopholes, missing content, or similar grave issues, if any. Addressing these would require the author to revise or add content. It is highly encouraged to get these revisions checked by your editor. Sometimes, it takes more than one to-and-fro to get everything right and reach publishable quality, and I would encourage all authors to use their online interface for such effortless communication. You can send us questions, or if changes in response to our comments are quite extensive, please opt for Second Look as it is otherwise risky to submit an article with such a large chunk of non-reviewed, unedited text.

Q7. How has your experience been working with Wordvice? Could you please explain the importance of receiving Wordvice’s professional editing service?

Wordvice is simply an amazing company to work with. There is no compromise on quality, and it employs editors with scholarly educational backgrounds. It values its editors and clients alike and has a very understanding outlook in its communication. To my knowledge, most companies do not let clients and editors talk to each other directly and instead have a client servicing team to moderate talks; this is very unfortunate as this team generally understands neither editing nor writing and takes up a lot of valuable time that could have been put to better use. Wordvice is a game changing player in this regard with smooth and direct conversations between authors and editors. There is no moderation of talks between the author and the editor, leaving out any room for confusions. This, coupled with a brilliantly simple interface, makes Wordvice the editing service provider you should opt for. At Wordvice, your sentimental attachment to your hard work is valued and your manuscript is handled with utmost conscience for the best chances of publication.