Why I love being an editor

Editing isn’t just adding commas, “undangling” participles, and checking whether “affect” is used effectively.

Editing is helping clients to organize their thoughts and create from them clear and effective prose that reaches out and speaks to their target audiences.

The editor isn’t just a teacher with a red pen; the editor is a soundboard, upon which the clients’ ideas can be bounced, kneaded, and sculpted until their stories can be understood loudly and clearly.

I am just finishing up work on a thesis, the topic of which, I must admit, was way beyond my ken. Really, before I started checking out Wikipedia, I thought the guy had his topic backwards. (Due to non-disclosure, I can’t reveal the topic, but it’s kind of like the difference between “Dancing Snake” – the snake doing the dancing – vs. “Snake Dancing” – being a style of dance.) Of course, I did my share of conjugating his verbs and correcting spelling, and I hope I got them all!  (And I probably missed a few.) But I think that the most important contribution can be seen from the following email that he sent me after he received his (gulp) bill:

Dear Linda

I much appreciate your work and effort. I think that without your help I would not have been able to conclude the thesis as quickly, and quite likely would still be struggling with converging the document towards a conclusion.  The interaction itself has much contributed to keeping pace, and getting it done, something that goes much beyond the editing help itself.

The cost is higher than I anticipated… I think for our next project, it will be important to make the hours you accumulate visible to me, … so I can know when we are… close to reaching the limit…although I don’t know right now what I would have done with that knowledge. (My emphasis.)

The most important thing is that with your help I managed to complete the thesis write-up — and the feeling to be there is quite indescribable. Once I find work, the difference in cost will hopefully be quite insignificant.

X

To my defense, all costs and charges were plainly laid out in the contract; the work was just much more than he even anticipated. And I didn’t even count in the conversations we had on Skype; and there were many, though much of them also included recipes and comparing the antics of our offspring.

To my credit, I have allowed him “unlimited time and installments, within reason” to complete payment. To his credit, he sent me his first deposit in the mail before I even looked at his first page, and I trust him implicitly that I will eventually get my full remuneration. (Well, not exactly before looking, as I had, of course, done a sample page for him. But that doesn’t count.)

One of those jobs that gives me, also, an indescribable feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.

ITA Convention 2011 – A personal account

On the Road

Monday and Tuesday (Feb. 7-8) I attended the annual ITA convention. I believe this is the second time I have gone (maybe third). Last year I attended it for one day. This year I did two out of the three, traveling back and forth to Jerusalem each day; with the new 431 road, the direct bus takes only 45 minutes. I drove to the CBS in Rishon, hopped on the bus, read the free paper (actually, the first day I used the time to repair my purse, in which the lining had ripped), and hopped off at the CBS in J’m. The convention center (Crowne Plaza Hotel)  is just across the street from the CBS in Jerusalem. Furthermore, Monday evening I had my “Canine 101” course at the Israel Kennel Club in Or Yehuda, and I didn’t want to miss it. So staying over was out of the question.

The Sessions

The first day was “workshops” but I don’t  really see understand the difference between them, as an entity, and the “lectures” the following day. We didn’t “work.” I always thought a “workshop” was where you get exercises or hands-on experience in something. I don’t know why they just didn’t call it Day 1.

Anyway, most of the sessions were really great, even if, truth be told, some of the information was rehash:   “Getting Your Foot in the Door” (panel discussion), gave the obvious methods, (sending out CVs, agencies, etc.);  “Political Correctness” by Donna Bossin  echoed  a lesson at Beit Berl (yet amusing, informative and well-presented!);  the lecture on “Problems of Translating Hebrew Terms” with Fabienne Bergmann was somewhat a repeat of the course in “Editing the Jewish Text ”  that I took with Ilana Kraus, but the insights and methods of dealing with difficult translation items was most enlightening.  Nevertheless, review is always good, and each of the lectures had something to inform or inspire.

Some of the lectures were especially great! One of the best, for me, in the sense of practical information, was “Google Tips and Tricks” by Hagit Azoulay Rozanes. I used to think myself a “champion” Googler…I see how primitive my googling skills are!  “A Guide to Various Client Types” by Yael Sela-Shapiro, neatly categorized and discussed the “professional” and the “unprofessional” client. As always, Yael’s delivery was engaging, and her material informative. She speaks so quickly, though… sometimes things went right by me! But I always enjoy listening to her lectures. Last year she gave a good one too.

The lecture on ergonomics, by Dalit Ben Tovim, was also excellent (and she would yell at me if she would see me now: sitting on sofa, hunched over laptop on coffee table! But my forearms ARE supported on my knees!) I do use a timer to break up my work sessions, but I will now add her 5-minute stretching exercises into my regime. She gave some great ideas for making the office ergonomically better too.

The problem at this convention is that for every great session you attend, there are two that you are missing! For example, while the panel discussion on getting one’s foot in the door was informative and gave me some ideas, it also caused me to miss the first half of Adrienne Geva’s “Editing to Create Translations that Read Like Originals.” I sat in after the break, and wish I had attended the first half too. Perhaps I can find it online.

The last lecture I went to was “All About Alliteration” by Leo Selivan of the British Council . It was a suitably rousing, amusing end to my two days there.

Glitches ?

There were a few slight glitches for me at the convention. The lecture doors weren’t properly labeled, and at one point I got a bit frustrated and flustered  looking for one of the sessions, misunderstanding the meanings of one of the signs. Of course, once I had figured it out, I knew it, but better signs would have been appreciated. Or maybe the name of the session on the door. Maybe it was just me.

Also, the lecture  on “The LGBT Field Guide to Respectful and Not So Respectful Terminology” (Do you know what LGBT is? I didn’t.) was rescheduled, and while they may have announced this in the introductory session in the morning (I came a bit late), at one point I found myself  learning about “dyke” and “FtoM”  in what I thought was a lecture on “Coining Verbs in Hebrew and Arabic.”  What the … ??? I must say I was thrown for a loop! I didn’t really feel I needed 45 minutes on gay and lesbian terms, so after 10 minutes I left that one and found something else. I probably would have left after 2 minutes, but I was sandwiched into my seat. But after 10 minutes, I just couldn’t take it anymore: the time is dear, and the choices were many; I wanted to use the opportunity for something more valuable for me at the moment.

As an aside, I feel “LGBT” should have been defined in the program; does everyone but me know this? Furthermore, neither a synopsis of the lecture, nor a bio of the lecturer was given in the program, so I was totally clueless. I am sure I was not the only one, and would be interested in your comments.

Friends and Food

Obviously, part of the fun was meeting old friends and colleagues and striking up acquaintances with new ones. I handed out some cards, and will hopefully reap the rewards.

Naturally, I can’t end without discussing the food! It was, as always, great and plentiful. Each day had a coffee break (with some kind of fattening offering) and then a lunch — including a (fattening) dessert buffet. Fresh fruit was always available, too. Hey, once I even ate a tangerine (followed by something fattening). The afternoon break on Monday was especially amazing, being a total chocolate orgy. I would describe it, but I don’t want to get drool on my computer. I tried to keep my portions small (just tastes) so I probably was able to limit the calorie intake to a mere 5 zillion.

The lunch on Tuesday was especially good, as I met with a dear lady who gave me some pointers on improving my Hebrew accent! (After 30 years here, I am tired of the disparaging remarks I get from some people.) If I practice as she suggested, it could work!

Onward Ho!

This convention affected me in two, quite opposite, ways. On the one hand, as always, I found myself inspired to proceed, pursue, and persist in my drive to become a (reasonably well-paid) editor with a reasonable amount of work. On the other hand, I felt like such a newbie, surrounded as I was by “really” professional translators and editors (I must stop saying that…I AM a professional!) with years of experience.  I ask myself why anyone would hire me when THESE people are all available?

However, I remind myself that people HAVE hired me, with excellent feedback. So I am good. What I need now, is to up my marketing, and really turn myself into a PROFESSIONAL freelancer.

So, my goals are thus: Set up my office much more professionally, including a better way of keeping track of jobs and payments. (At this point I feel in total control, but I need to be ready when business is booming!) I need to run my business professionally, pretending I am a boss to myself and demanding (yes, DEMANDING!) X hours per day of work, etc. Ergonomically, I need to improve things too. I saw a wonderful contraption called an Ergocloud, for support of the forearms while typing. It’s a wonderful idea, and one of these days I’m going to have to get myself one.

I came back home tired, yet truly excited and inspired to continue on with this field of work. I also came home richer by three pair of ankle boots (well, I had some time to kill in the bus station, and the end-of-season sales are hard to resist.)

A great two days!

You can read other accounts on the blogs of Nina R. Davis, Ruth Ludlam, and   Inga Michaeli (Hebrew)

Hello world!

Hello world

Hello English lovers, English craftspeople (i.e. editors, writers and translators), and English customers (students of English and those in need of English craftspeople.) There will be something for everyone on this blog.

Who I Am

I am Linda Yechiel. I live in Israel with my family, 2 dogs and one cat.

I have a B.Sc. (University of Toronto) in Environmental Studies.

I have diplomas from (in reverse order)

  • Bar Ilan – Teaching translation
  • Beit Berl – English editing
  • Helen Doron English – Teaching English as a second language
  • Bayit College – Furniture design
  • Ahad l’Ahad – Computer graphics
  • ORT Careers – Designing show windows
  • The Institute for Graphics and Illustration – Graphics and illustration
  • Ontario College of Art – Graphics and prerequisites for Medical Illustration (2-years, no diploma)

I have work experience in

  • editing (English)
  • translating (Hebrew to English)
  • writing (pedagogical and How-to features in newspapers)
  • technical writing (Tadiran)
  • teaching English
  • kitchen. bathroom, and storage design
  • window dressing

Some of my interests include

  • dogs: rescue, agility, canine freestyle, clicker training
  • the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind
  • reading (anything and everything; not a day goes by without some book)
  • knitting, sewing and other textile arts
  • crafts
  • cooking (if I’m in the mood)
  • illustrating children’s books

You can contact me at

  • englishwithlinda@gmail.com
  • 052-5119787 (972-52-5119787)