METM10 workshops

Ready, Steady, Edit: an introduction to editing medical texts

As language experts, most MET members will have, at one time or another, been asked to revise a text written by a non-native speaker. And most of us will have accepted the job (at least once) and got on with it in a hit or miss manner without really knowing what it involves or the scope of the task. This workshop will explore how to re-formulate this casual request for assistance into a much-needed service in the field of biomedical texts. It will cover the whole process from A-Z, i.e. from how to assess a document for feasibility to final delivery, and discuss why author's editing is different from editing translations.

Developer/Facilitator: Felicity Neilson

Purpose: To provide practice and practical tips on how to approach requests for biomedical author's editing.

Description: An interactive workshop designed to give participants the opportunity to share experiences they may have in this field and compare approaches to editing based on five examples of texts. Those who have no experience will benefit from those who have some, and those who have some experience will benefit from analyzing their approach.

Structure: The workshop will kick-off by defining objectives for author's editing. Then, after an overview of the structure of research articles, we will brainstorm on the specific challenges of each section and discuss how an editor's input can help. Small groups will be formed to assess extracts from five articles that were sent in for editing and draw conclusions as to how the texts could be edited. The articles will be ranked according to feasibility, complexity and how much time might be required. There will be discussion about the various types of editing (from copy editing and proof reading through to technical editing) and the differences between reviewing a translated text and editing a text written by non-native authors. Each group will then get down to editing one of the extracts and exploring the practical issues that arise: assessing what changes are necessary, tracking these changes, inserting comments, interacting with the author-¦ and present their work to the rest of the group, justifying the choices made.

Who should attend? Translators and trainers who work in the biomedical sector and who have some knowledge of medical articles and publishing criteria. Some previous experience in editing would be useful but is not essential. The workshop is not intended for highly experienced editors.

Outcome skills: Participants will have learnt how to move from a line-by-line to section-by-section approach and gain confidence in the value of their input. They will come away with a clearer idea of how to assess an editing job, communicate with authors and pitch their service.

Pre-meeting reading: Greenhalgh T. How to read a paper: getting your bearings (deciding what the paper is about) BMJ 1997;315:243-246.

About the facilitator: Felicity Neilson has been working as an author's editor, project manager and communications trainer for 18 years. She runs Matrix Consultants, a Paris-based agency handling a range of services for international biomedical communications in France: training, translating, writing and editing.


* The extracts will be on memory sticks and 5/6 participants will need to bring a laptop along. The facilitator will be in touch with those signing up to find out who could bring a laptop.


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