MET workshops

Harnessing the power of the Correspondence-Consistency-Correctness (CCC) Model: a systematic new approach to error detection in manuscripts that promotes professional text improvement

 John Linnegar, Antwerp, Belgium

Summary: The CCC Model for text analysis, evaluation and improvement encourages writers, editors and translators to adopt a systematic, top-down – as opposed to an “intuitive” – approach to the improvement of texts.

Purpose: To introduce writers, editors and translators to a matrix of 15 “evaluation points” (the CCC Model). By using this matrix, practitioners will be empowered to analyse the imperfections in texts and approach their improvement in a more systematic, top-down manner. The outcome is usually a text that is appropriate to its genre, that best conveys its author’s intentions and that is also most accessible to the intended readers.

Description: In this hands-on workshop, in pairs or small groups the attendees will be asked to read three short texts (about 400 words each) that represent different text types or media. After detecting the errors in the first passage (unedited text intended for a website), they will provide feedback on the types of errors they detected. These will be written up on a whiteboard or a flipchart and common errors (eg structure, content, word choice, punctuation, spelling, formatting) grouped and labelled. This will lead into the introduction of the CCC Model’s 15 evaluation points (PowerPoint slides and printout). This matrix comprises three columns (Correspondence, Consistency, Correctness) and five levels of text facets (Text Type, Content, Structure, Wording, Presentation), and practitioners who follow the model are more inclined to consider aspects of a document systematically from top (Text Type) to bottom (Presentation).
                After a discussion about the model and how the errors detected in the first passage correspond to its evaluation points, the attendees will be asked to read the second passage (a passage of academic writing) and identify the errors according to the evaluation points. They then discuss their findings and the evaluation points that the errors they detected correspond to. This prepares them for an analysis of the third text (an excerpt from a thesis) and the identification of the errors in it, labelled according to the CCC Model’s evaluation points. Here the imperfections are somewhat different from those in the other texts, leading to a discussion about the more logical and systematic approach to text improvement encouraged by adherence to the model.
                Finally, the attendees will be asked to record and discuss their reflections on their experience of being introduced to the more systematic approach.

Structure: Introduction 10-15 minutes; Error detection in first passage 30 minutes; feedback and discussion 15 minutes; Introducing the CCC Model 15 minutes; Error detection in second passage 30 minutes; feedback and discussion 15 minutes; Error detection in third passage 30 minutes; feedback and discussion 15 minutes; Reflections 15-20 minutes.

Who should attend? The workshop will be conducted in English, but research has shown that the CCC Model can be applied universally to improving any text type and in any language. It also has been shown to be effective in improving an individual’s writing through self-editing. Writers, text editors and translators will find it particularly useful in helping them shift their approach to improving texts from one that’s less intuitive to another that’s more structured and systematic.

Outcome skills: Sharpened, more systematic error-detection and correction skills, following the logical hierarchical approach promoted by the levels and evaluation points of the CCC Model. A new perception of texts and a logical, structured strategy for analysing and engaging with them.

Pre-workshop information: The original CCC Model is the brainchild of prof Jan Renkema, formerly of the University of Tilburg. His articles on the development and use of the model for text analysis and improvement are both prolific and readily available online.

About the facilitator: John Linnegar is a text editor, writer, developer of House Style guides for clients. Trainer of editors since 1999: Basic/Advanced Copy Editing and Proofreading; English Grammar for Editors; Book Design and Production Fundamentals; Editing Law Texts; Editing Maths and Science; Editing for Academic Purposes; Writing/Editing for the Web. Author of several publications on editing- and language-related topics, including Text Editing (UPA, 2012) and guides for the Professional Editors’ Guild (PEG, South Africa): Consistency (House Style); The Business of Editing and Marketing your Freelance Services. Introduced to the CCC Model in 2011. Member of several societies of editors, including Canberra/IPEd, MET, PEG (former Chair), SENSE. Special interest: Mentoring editors; current postgraduate research on a model for mentoring editors online.