METM09 presentation     Thread: Promising practices

Strategies for editing non-native texts

Joy Burrough-Boenisch — The Netherlands

When we edit non-native texts, what do we do? Why do we do what we do? What should we be doing? In this presentation I will try to answer these questions by deconstructing the editing/correcting procedure I follow. By so doing I aim to identify the editing strategies available to language professionals specialising in this field. Though the focus will be on editing English-language texts, the conclusions will be applicable to the editing of non-native texts written in other languages.

I will begin by identifying the characteristics of non-native texts. Then I'll explore how we language professionals can react to these characteristics. To do so, I'll consider the various roles a language professional can adopt during an editing assignment. Each role has a mindset that drives the language professional's interventions in the text and each role is therefore associated with particular strategies. Insight into these strategies will benefit you whether you're an experienced language professional looking to consolidate your skills, or a novice still developing your approach to editing.


Joy Burrough-Boenisch is an experienced author's editor, based in the Netherlands, who helped found SENSE (the Society of English-Native-Speaking Editors in the Netherlands) and whose discussion of that experience opened MET's first meeting in 2005. Her publications include the booksRighting English that's gone Dutch and Culture and conventions: writing and reading Dutch scientific English, as well as articles in professional and academic journals. Email: