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Q&A: How to start working as a language editor

Some time ago, I received a question from a reader via the AcademicTransfer website (edited for anonymity):

Hi Eva- I’d like to get into editing conference papers and presentations if you have leads or advice of how to do so. I just reviewed several papers for The Conference and rejected two (again) due to poor writing, with apparently little no editing. It makes me sad when otherwise good topics don’t get consideration due to poor writing. Thanks in advance!

A Reader

My quick reply was the following:

Dear XX,

Thanks for sending me a question through the AcademicTransfer website!

While I don’t work as a language editor (I serve on the editorial board of a couple of journals, but that mostly involves inviting reviewers and taking editorial decisions), here are a few first ideas that I have:
– You can start your own side business and advertise locally to get started. This post by Dr. Max Lempriere may be interesting in that regard:
– If your university has a writing centre, you can see if you can work for them on a project- or hour-base to get some exposure to the job.
– If you want to target overseas students, you can set up a website/blog and start to offer advice and webinars to gain attention, and then present working packages to teach writing to students in universities where writing support may be limited.

I hope that helps!
If you will be traveling to The Conference and would like to get together for coffee to chat, let me know!


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