Editing is the process of selecting and preparing language, images, sound, video, or film through processes of correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications in various media. A person who edits is called an editor. In a sense, the editing process originates with the idea for the work itself and continues in the relationship between the author and the editor. Editing is, therefore, also a practice that includes creative skills, human relations, and a precise set of methods.
Editing consists of: correction of grammatical mistakes, misspellings, mistyping, incorrect punctuation, inconsistencies in usages, poorly structured sentences, correction of statements conflicting with general scientific knowledge, correction of synopsis, content, index, headings and subheadings, correcting data and chart presentation in a research paper or report, correcting errors in citations.
This activity ensures that documentation is of good quality. In large companies, experienced writers are dedicated to the technical editing function. In organizations that cannot afford dedicated editors, experienced writers typically peer-edit text produced by their relatively less experienced colleagues.
Editors specialize in language, whether that language is used in an annual report, marketing brochure, newsletter, novel, website – or anything in between. In other words, any project that has text in it can benefit from the input of an editor.
If you’ve spent months or years working on your manuscript, it’s often difficult to see it with an objective eye. An editor represents your intended reader and reviews your project with that reader in mind – whether it’s a 10-year-old child, a professional, or a member of the general public.
An editor will make sure the reading level is right and the text is structured to flow easily. He will eliminate repetition and redundancy and make sure your message is clear, concise, and says exactly what you mean.
If you are like most business writers, you have done everything you can to make your copy the best it can be. Yet, once the piece is produced, you’ve cringed at the errors that got through. Perhaps you’ve had to make last-minute corrections and reprint and resend corrected documents. It happens more than you think.
A professional editor can also help you by overseeing special writing and marketing projects. When you have no staff dedicated to such projects, a professional editor can save you time and money by coming on board as needed and taking the project from beginning to end. An editor can also augment existing staff when an important deadline looms.
If you're in business, you've worked hard to be recognized as knowledgeable and professional in your field. Your marketing materials are designed to convey an image that will gain the trust of your customers and tell them that you know what you're doing. Simple spelling errors, inconsistent facts and faulty grammar reflect on the quality of the work you do – shoddy language translates into shoddy work, or tells readers that inaccuracies and mistakes don't really matter to you.
Errors and omissions in any writing, editing or proofreading of your letters, newsletters and reports can diminish your company's image and jeopardize your credibility. Meticulous language, on the other hand, reflects the scrupulous care you provide to clients and customers.