Guardians of the Lexicons: A Guide to Editors Canada’s 2017 Conference

by Michael Bedford

Published at 2017-05-10



With April's end, we draw ever closer to Editors Canada's 2017 conference, entitled "Guardians of the Lexicons." With just over a month until the conference's start (the conference runs from June 9 to June 11), panelists and presenters are likely busy working out the kinks in their presentations and finalizing their travel arrangements for their trip to Gatineau, Quebec, where the conference will be held.


But what will the panelists and presenters discuss? With a title as broad as "Guardians of the Lexicons," a title that should apply to any editor or writer, what will the conference entail?


Based on the sessions that will be offered, there doesn't appear to be an overarching theme beyond editorial work and how to improve at it. Topics should interest freelancers and in-house editors alike, especially if they're new to the industry.


The conference kicks off with James Harbeck's session on how to give presentations and make speeches and ends with Sandra Gravel and Michelle Boulton's bilingual session on working with an author who is planning on self-publishing. In between, a number of sessions focus on becoming a better freelancer, how to edit fiction, preserving Indigenous languages, and technical editing. Here are a few sessions that, to this editor, stand out.


Guardians of the Lexicons - Sessions Abound!


The most difficult aspect of attending this year's Editors Canada conference seems to be how to decide which sessions to miss, many of them being either informative, professionally valuable, or both. And, though I can't speak for everyone, here are a few sessions that I think are well worth the trip — especially if you live in or around Gatineau.


Speed Networking: Principles and Practice for All Types of People

June 10th, 10:00–11:00 AM

Elizabeth Macfie


Meeting editorial contacts is difficult, especially for freelancers who work from home. Although there's no way of knowing how useful the principles discussed in this session will be, having the opportunity to network with a number of people on the first day of any conference is invaluable. This session will not only prepare attendees for the next two days of networking at the conference, it should also provide the opportunity to make lasting professional connections.


Wardens of the Wordhoard: Language Change in a Nutshell

June 10th, 11:15 AM–12:15 PM

Robin Norris


This topic interests me because editors often fall prey to the allure of prescriptivism. And, though maintaining linguistic consistency over time is a large part of any editor’s job, editors must also strive to keep the work they do current and accessible. Walking this fine line is a challenge for editors and provides many a bone of contention between editors with differing viewpoints. And, as an added bonus for any history buffs, this session will trace the development of the English lexicon back to the Middle Ages.


An Introduction to Medical Copy Editing

June 10th, 1:15–3:15 PM

Kristine Thornley


Although this topic might sound a bit dry to some conference registrants, medical copy editing is potentially a very lucrative field for editors. Rather than having to seek out and network with self-publishing authors as editors of fiction often do, medical copy editors are part of an ever-changing and, more importantly, ever-publishing industry.


Setting Rates and Preparing Estimates

June 11th, 9:00–10:00 AM

Arlene Prunkl


As an editor relatively new to the field, setting rates has always made me uneasy. As a freelancer I often worry that I'm undercutting my own rates or overcharging clients. This is one aspect of editorial work that freelancers can't afford to mix up. This session will help freelancers understand how to reasonably price out a project and how to set rates in line with Editors Canada's guidelines.


Freelance Editing: The Top 10 Things I Wish I Had Known

June 11th, 10:15–11:15 AM

Elizabeth d'Anjou


Another session that will likely prove valuable for new freelancers, Elizabeth d'Anjou shares some of her freelancing experiences. In an effort to pave a way for new freelancers, d'Anjou describes her process of going from being a struggling "wannabe editor" to being a "successful and contented expert with a large stable of loyal clients."


Panel: Where Are the In-house Editing Jobs These Days?

June 11th, 11:30 AM–12:30 PM

Avivah Wargon (moderator), Rebecca Graves, Suzanne Schaan, & Kara Stahl


A question that likely occupies the minds of many new editors, this panel session will explore how the industry has changed over the years and try to address the question of where to look for in-house editorial work. Outsourcing and corporate downsizing have made it nearly impossible to get lucrative in-house editorial work, so this session definitely interests me.


Winning Contracts with the Government of Canada

June 11th, 1:30–2:30 PM

Marion Soublière


It's probably relatively obvious why I'm interested in this session. As its synopsis on the Editors Canada website states, the Government of Canada spends $15–20 billion per year on goods and services, and a portion of that is earmarked for editorial work. And, though one never can tell, the Government of Canada is one client editors likely won't have to harass to get paid.


When to Break the Rules: Leaving the Style Guide Behind

June 11th, 2:45­–3:45 PM

Jenny Lass


Following up on my interest in semi-descriptivist editorial work, this seems like a great session that will help editors and writers alike understand the benefits of letting certain grammatical rules slide. This is often a difficult concept for editors, especially, to grasp since so much of editorial work involves looking up and observing editorial norms. This session will try to flesh out which rules can be broken and when it's acceptable to break them. And, likely the most important aspect of this session, it will also cover how to discuss breaking the rules with colleagues and clients.


Guardians of the Lexicons - But Wait, There's More ...


On top of the sessions I've described, there are many others being offered. Check here for a complete list of sessions offered to find out if any of the others appeal to you. And, because conferences represent an opportunity to network and make friends as much as they represent an opportunity to learn, there are a few social activities interested registrants can attend, including a guided tour of Victoria Island on June 8th, a welcome dinner on the 8th, pre-conference seminars on the 9th, an opening reception on the 9th, and an awards banquet on the 10th.


So, don't miss out! Check out the registration page: I hope to see you in Gatineau!