What do editors do?

Editors love words. They areĀ a critical reader. If you hire an editor, they are your best reader: someone who will work with you to improve the message you are trying to convey. Individual editors may have special expertise or experience in several areas. These are some of the jobs an editor may take on:

Adaptations
Adapting content (Usually includes substantive and structural editing).
Canadianization
Editing American or British text to make it conform to Canadian spelling and usage.
Consultation for academic writers
Preliminary or developmental discussion about an academic thesis or research project.
Copy editing
Editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation and other mechanics of style.
Correspondence: government
Writing letters on behalf of ministers and other government officials.
Cross-language editing/proofreading
Comparative editing/proofreading of the same material in two or more languages for consistency and accuracy. May include Canadianization of English-language materials or Americanization of British or Canadian materials.
Developmental editing
Developing or helping to develop a project from proposal and rough manuscript to final manuscript or final product, incorporating input from author(s) and others. May include scheduling, costing/budgeting, supervising design and coordinating production.
Desktop publishing/document design
Layout and typesetting. May include selecting graphics.
Electronic forms
Creating forms to be filled out electronically using fields, drop-down menus and check-boxes.
Fact/reference checking Checking the accuracy of facts and/or quotes by referring to the author’s original sources or other sources.
Gender and bias editing
Editing to avoid bias in matters of gender and ethnicity. May be done during copy and stylistic editing, or may be a separate function.
Grant proposal writing
Consulting on or helping to prepare applications for grant funding.
Indexing
Producing an alphabetical list of names and subjects that appear in a work, including the page references.
Manuscript evaluation
Assessing manuscripts, including book-length fiction and non-fiction works, for publication. Includes evaluating for content, structure and style, and estimating the possible market potential of the work.
Mock-up (rough paste-up) Producing a mock-up from proofs and marking the proofs for changes; inserting the page numbers in the table of contents and cross-references if necessary. May include copy fitting and/or marking colour breaks.
Online editing Receiving manuscripts in electronic form and editing on-screen, using tracking software if required. See also specific types of editing, and Website/page evaluation, editing and writing.
Picture research
Locating suitable visuals, e.g., photographs, reproductions and illustrations. May include negotiating reprint permissions, copyright agreements and royalties.
Plain language editing
Simplifying language and style and eliminating jargon in order to make text easier to understand. Similar to Stylistic editing in intent, but often involves more rewriting/reworking. May include changing or unifying the reading level.
Proceedings
Recording and transcribing proceedings of conferences and similar events.
Production/pre-press/print coordination
Coordinating single- or multi-media projects. May include sourcing, costing, scheduling, and supervising design, photography/visuals, pre-press, print, bindery and distribution.
Project management
Managing a project from inception to final manuscript or final product, incorporating the work of writers, designers, desktop publishers, and other specialists. May include budgeting, scheduling, hiring, supervising design, estimating print costs and coordinating production.
Proofreading
Checking edited proofs for errors and omissions. May include incorporating or checking incorporation of author’s alterations and cross-checking table of contents to page numbers, indices or appendices.
Research
Gathering information to support new or existing bodies of work.
Rewriting
Creating a new manuscript or parts of a manuscript based on existing text. Generally involves additional research and writing new material.
Stylistic editing
Clarifying meaning, eliminating jargon and improving the flow of language and ideas. May include checking or correcting the reading level, creating or recasting tables and/or figures, and negotiating changes with the author.
Substantive and structural editing
Clarifying and/or reorganizing a manuscript for content and structure. May include some rewriting, with author’s agreement.
Technical editing
Editing technical texts to ensure that terms are used appropriately and that the language is readable and accurately conveys the author’s meaning. May include editing scientific materials, and editing to a research journal style.
Template design
Designing a skeleton or master layout to provide consistency for a suite of documents.
Transcription/preparing texts
Transcribing and editing taped interviews. May be similar to Proceedings.
Translation
Rendering a manuscript in another language.
Website/page evaluation, editing and writing
Evaluating and/or editing new or existing Web pages or sites for coherence, content, language and usage, length and links. May also include writing new material.
Website/page design
Designing and/or creating new sites or pages for the Internet. May include work on site architecture, content, hypertext links, electronic forms and templates, etc.
Writing
Creating a new work based on research done by the editor/writer. May include editing.