Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wiley Is Looking for a Copy Editor

In a world where more and more copy editing is being outsourced (and offshored), it's encouraging to see the local Wiley office posting a job for an in-house copy editor (see here). Requirements include prior editing experience, a four-year degree, and tact. I suppose that eliminates a lot of us.


Steph Mineart said...

Wow, companies are offshoring copy editing? No wonder there are so many unreadable books out there.

Copy editing needs to be done by people who speak the language as a first language. I realize some people are going to react to that as a xenophobic statement, but I really think it makes a difference.

I also think it's a really long-term business policy economically, too.

Lori Cates Hand said...

I know--I'm trying not to sound xenophobic myself, seeing as how Jason and I bill ourselves as citizens of the world. I also am conscious of the protectionist overtones that sound like last century's factory workers. But darnit, I'd like for my wages to not be eroded by foreign competition. I totally agree with you that even if someone can speak English, it doesn't mean they'll get the nuances of the dialect right.

Julie Cancio Harper said...

Just as long as we keep in mind that having English as your first language is NO guarantee that you'll be a good copy editor.

Keen attention to detail and a thorough understanding of grammar and style conventions are also required. And MANY people who grew up speaking English as their first language possess neither. Speaking English and reading it critically are NOT the same thing at all.

People are born with (or without) a keen attention to detail. And grammar and style must be studied. So I don't theoretically see why copy editing could not be successfully outsourced to a well-studied person of any origin who had a natural attention to detail.

But to maintain quality, you would need an ESL copy editor to be a very advanced critical _reader_ of English. For a second language, that is a very high level of skill and it may prove difficult for hiring managers to find qualified candidates. Of course, it may not -- and there's the rub!