Friday, February 13, 2009

Theirs’ know buisness...

The most dispiriting moments in editorial work come when you’ve just spent a couple of hours ploughing through some turgid prose, attempting to suck some sense out the mangled syntax and comedy typos and unintentional non sequiturs and the only thing that stops you from putting a foot or some other extremity through the monitor (apart from the money) is the awareness that the writer does not have English as a first language and when you remember that, it’s really a pretty good effort, and then you happen to glance at the byline for the first time and you realise, no, actually he does notionally have English as a first language and that’s when you just want to curl up in the corner and whimper.

10 comments:

GreatSheElephant said...

See, I actually love that process because it makes me feel so very superior.

Feel free to subcontract :-)

dh said...

My editing days are long gone. I hear they even txt it in now.

garfer said...

Blimey, wot a long sentence.

Rog said...

That's where the name "'editor" comes from!

Badoom and indeed tish!

FirstNations said...

...noted.

Tim Footman said...

Fair point, GSE. But that's also a bit like an RSPCA officer thinking "I'm glad people torture fluffy kittens, because it gives me something to do."

Wouldn't know about that, Dick. My lot still use quill pens, and half of them complain that they miss the days of stone tablets.

...as the Australian arsonist will doubtless be saying i the next few months, Garfer.

I'll blame Oz for that, Rog.

You're American, FN, we'll forgive you for your funny spellings and stuff.

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

How long have you been editing Jeffrey Archer?

expat@large said...

CCH "How long have you been editing Jeffrey Archer?"

Now THAT is funny.

patroclus said...

I'm with GSE: as long as there are people in the world who can't punctuate, insist on spelling all nouns with initial capitals and think that 'leveraging our end-to-end solution' actually means something, there's money for me. And that makes me happy.

Tim Footman said...

Christopher: What expat said.

Patroclus: Yes, there's money. On the other hand, there are people coming away from 16+ years of education in one of the world's leading economies who haven't got to grips with what commas are for and think that a small French-style restaurant is called a "brassiere", which is funny, but also a wee bit disturbing.