(A bit about) Copy-editors on Wordy

Being an editor on Wordy means working from a standardised set of guidelines so that editors know exactly what to deliver and customers know exactly what to expect. Editors are, of course, expected to be native speakers of English with a good, professional working knowledge of English language, grammar, usage, punctuation and standard editorial conventions as laid out in New Hart’s Rules (UK English) and the Chicago Manual of Style (US English). Beyond this, editors should be able to work pretty autonomously – as far as getting the job done right is concerned.

Here is how we judge that to be the case.

The large majority of applicants on Wordy are already skilled editors when they register. Even so, only a little over 25% of all applicants are instantly approved to work on Wordy – mostly because registering with Wordy is a two-step process involving account settings and an editing test:

  1. Account settings include personal information as well as qualifications, languages, text categories, subject areas and software competencies (what formats the editor can work with)
  2. The editing test is a timed on-screen test of 400 to 600 words on different subjects. All tests have errors in e.g. grammar, spelling, structure, hyphens and fifteen other specific areas that resemble errors that most editors correct on a daily basis.

In the large majority of cases, editors’ backgrounds and qualifications are excellent (we check all qualifications individually), so it’s really up to the editing test to determine whether the editor can be approved to work on Wordy right away. This emphasis on the editing test has a lot to do with the way in which all texts on Wordy are edited: namely, on-screen. On-screen editing tests the ability to spot and correct errors without necessarily having a print-out of the text to turn to. This means that on-screen editing is a somewhat different process from working with hard copy.

The tests are marked on two criteria: accuracy and intervention. By intervention we mean whether the editor has raised sensible queries, in what quantity, and whether any inaccuracies are introduced. Editors must perform acceptably on both scores.

Accuracy means:

  • Editors must find and correct at least 90 per cent of all errors
  • Editors must find and correct all “must have” errors in the test.

In short, editors must have a high-level score to be accepted on Wordy.

Intervention means:

  • Anything introduced by the editor that is plain wrong is an instant fail
  • Sensible amendments are acceptable, and have neither a positive nor a negative effect on the final outcome unless the candidate shows signs of tinkering too much (say more than three interventions/queries per test)

Being able to edit a text without being too heavy-handed is essential when working as an editor on Wordy – especially because Wordy guidelines lay out a pretty strict agenda for what editors should do with the text, and what they should not. In this way, Wordy editing includes:

  • Correct grammar (correction of all grammatical errors)
  • Reliable punctuation (correction of all punctuation errors)
  • Appropriate words
  • Correct spelling (correction of all spelling errors)
  • Internal consistency (imposing a consistent style)
  • Logical structure (ensuring that the structure of the text is well organised).

Wordy editing does not include:

  • Development (any writing apart from ensuring consistent structure)
  • Rewriting or ghostwriting
  • Critique or evaluation of the document or text.

This does not mean, of course, that editing on Wordy cannot be made to include development, rewriting, critique – or even fact-checking, SEO optimisation, permissions checking and seeking, research, content development, copywriting etc. But in its basic form, this is what Wordy copy-editing includes, and is why editors should be able to display the ability to follow exactly this string of guidelines. There is, of course, a lot more that could be said about the editors on Wordy; I can’t resist pasting one of the latest customer reviews:

Mark made quick and insightful edits, commented where he thought we could improve structure and where we could avoid misunderstandings by choosing other words. (2010-02-28)

If you want to experience how copy-editors on Wordy really work, you are more than welcome to add professional copy-editing to your writing process in the fastest, most reliable way possible.