MET workshops

Editing non-native English

What are the characteristics of non-native-English texts? What triggers the editorial changes made to such texts, and why? Are there particular strategies that editors should follow in order to identify and deal with the ‘non-nativeness’ of English texts? This workshop sets out to answer these questions and to stimulate editors of non-native English to reflect on their remit and how best to fulfil it.

Facilitator: Joy Burrough-Boenisch

Purpose: To consolidate and improve participants’ skills in correcting and editing non-native English texts. This will be achieved by
  • characterising non-native English writing
  • positioning the editing of non-native English in relation to regular text editing and translation
  • presenting and discussing strategies for dealing with problematic non-native English texts
  • presenting and discussing internet resources for editors of non-native English
  • providing insights and vocabulary that enable the participants to discuss and justify their editorial changes to texts written by non-native speakers of English
Description/structure: The workshop will be a mix of PowerPoint presentations, hands-on exercises (to be done individually and in groups) and discussion. The presentations will introduce and explain the generic traits of non-native texts and some strategies and internet resources for editors of non-native texts. The examples and assignments will be in several varieties of non-native English and the topics will not be overly specialist. As discussion and exchange of views will be encouraged, the workshop will provide a rare and valuable opportunity for language professionals based in a variety of countries and working in different multilingual contexts to compare and share experiences.

All the workshop assignments will be available on paper and digitally.

Who should attend? Translators, other language professionals, scientists or academics, who wish to branch out into or are already engaged in editing non-native English. As well as giving novice editors insights into challenges and approaches, the workshop will enable more experienced editors to consolidate and benchmark their skills and practices.

Outcomes: Insight into the generic features of non-native English texts, which will make it easier to describe the shortcomings in such texts and justify editorial changes. An understanding of the types of editing that can be applied to texts written by non-native speakers of English. Greater awareness of the techniques and strategies that language professionals can use to solve textual problems.

About the facilitator: Netherlands-based British-born Joy Burrough-Boenisch edits and translates (from Dutch to English) for scientists and academics, teaches scientific English and trains language professionals. She is a founder and honorary member of SENSE (the society of English-language professionals in the Netherlands) and a qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. Her doctorate is in applied linguistics. She has authored scholarly and professional publications on editing non-native English and given workshops for language professionals in various European countries, including for the European Commission. She is a seasoned conference speaker, particularly for MET.