Sep 3, 2012 Ξ Leave a comment

Consistency: Editors’ winning tip

posted by nanda

Editing is all about four C’s.

  • CLEAN – Text is free of errors.
  • CONCISE – No redundancy in the text.
  • CORRECT – Technical information and assertions are verified.
  • CONSISTENCY – Text is uniformily edited.

From an editor’s standpoint, the first three C’s can be managed by using spell-check tools, grammar rules, interaction with writers/SMEs/engineers. However, the skill to edit a document with a methodical CONSISTENCY is easier said than done.

One of the important tasks in editorial involves meticulous capture of inconsistencies. That is where we say “Eye to detail” is crucial. For a certain term or a word usage, where more than one correct option exists, an eye to detail becomes very much indispensable. For example, 100 percent, 100%, and hundred percent all mean the same thing. No matter which way you write it, the readers will understand. But the credibility is recognized when the editor monitors or catches inconsistencies with an eagle’s eye. In such situations, editors must ensure that dealing with language around “percentages” is consistent throughout, but also that it matches the customer-specific writing standards.

How consistency can be achieved?

Remain focused in your task. Staying focused is a challenge. To achieve the objective, clear all unnecessary distractions. Especially while you are editing a large document, set a target to complete small chunks of text within stipulated time. Regulate the breakdown of task for an hour’s effort. Then, concentrate on the document with the customer requirement in mind.

While editing, try to remember your edits that are done earlier in the document. If you feel that you cannot commit to your memory, jot down certain keywords, hyphenated words, capitalized/ unique terms, terminologies in a notepad and maintain them as your word checklist. By using this checklist, standardize the document for consistent word usage by using the Find and Replace option in the editing tool. Judiciously follow writing standards and adhere to customer-specific writing standards to avoid ambiguity.

Consistent edits appear in the documents with practice and experience. Consistency is also achievable through collaborative work environment and enormous amount of persistence. Editors should set a challenge on themselves to get zero defects or negligible review comments from peers. Editors must meet up for a periodical review and exchange their learning/findings regularly. They must regularly interact with other editors, directly or indirectly, as their respective efforts to improvise on consistency.

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