An Editor on Editing Editors

by Paul Eprile

Published at 2011-02-11

As a recent addition to the TEC team, with responsibility for marketing and communications, one of my first tasks has been to update and “tweak” TEC’s own website. Needless to say, for an editing company, the textual quality of our website is a particularly important demonstration of what we offer to do for others. In other words, we have to show off our editorial and communications skills. If there were typos, defective sentences, needless repetitions, inconsistencies, etc., in our own written material, how could we expect to inspire confidence in you, our prospective client?
This point leads me to an aside. Hoping to learn some dynamic marketing ideas, I took a brief, online e-marketing course, developed by the eMarketing Association, a prominent player in the field. To my dismay, the course materials were riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. A few examples:  Your goal is to communicate your message as clear as possible.” “The single most important aspect of email is that is it relevant to your audence.” “Breech of Security.” It was a bit like an emperor with no clothes (close?).
So, editing an editing company’s own website is an important task. At the same time, it makes one a little nervous. But editors do need editing, just like anyone else. (I can only hope that these repetitions of “editors” and “editing” are justified!) While there are myriad rules in editing that we can objectively apply, there are also many variations and nuances. Punctuation is particularly sensitive. The key is consistency. Whichever choices you make, to edit well you have to apply them uniformly, without exception. (This is why book editors compile “style sheets,” listing spellings and treatments of particular words and phrases, both to keep track of their choices, and to explain them to their authors.)
If you spot an error in our site, please report it!