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By: Geoff Hart  09-12-2011
Keywords: Graphics, Forestry, Substantive Editing

My primary service involves developmental and substantive editing, with a specialization in the sciences. As an editor, I work with authors to ensure that their manuscripts communicate their messages clearly, efficiently, and in their own voice. I've worked extensively with authors from China, France, India, Japan, Poland, and Russia (among others) for whom English is a second language.

Developmental and substantive editing involves:

  • developing an effective outline
  • improving the logic and flow of sentences, paragraphs, and entire manuscripts
  • revising phrases to maximize their clarity and communication efficiency
  • seeking an effective mix of words and graphics
  • identifying and correcting any internal inconsistencies in a manuscript

As part of this process, I also perform basic copyediting and proofreading. These involve:

  • fixing problematic grammar
  • correcting typographical errors
  • ensuring that the final product contains no errors that a keen reader would stumble over

I edit primarily in English, but can also perform substantive editing and basic copyediting in French. For more detailed grammatical work in French, I work with several francophone colleagues in Québec.

I'm not a graphic designer, but I work with several experienced graphics professionals to design graphics that communicate clearly and that complement the accompanying text. Where graphics are provided with a manuscript, I'll confirm that they support and are consistent with the text both in their substance and in their tone. Working with graphic artists, I've developed the following types of designs:

  • data graphics
  • marketing documents
  • scientific illustrations
  • slide presentations (PowerPoint, Flash)

I've worked with commercial printers to produce the following types of print publications:

  • annual reports
  • books, including scientific monographs
  • brochures (marketing, technical information)
  • documentation for computer hardware and software
  • magazine and journal articles
  • newsletters
  • posters
  • scientific monographs (technical reports)

My experience in this field lets me guide a manuscript through all the stages of production: outlining, writing, editing, technical review, graphic design, desktop publishing, proofreading, developing print specifications, and working with a printer to print and bind the final publication. I maintain a close working relationship with commercial printers in the Montreal (Québec) area; for clients located elsewhere, I will provide clear guidance on how to deal with their preferred printer so as to obtain the desired results.

I translate technical material from French into English, in the following areas:

  • computer hardware and software
  • forestry (applied forestry science and engineering)
  • science (particularly forest biology and ecology)

I also perform translations in non-technical areas such as annual reports, sales brochures, and advertising and marketing information.

Web sites: I designed and created my own Web site. As you can see, my philosophy is based on simplicity, usability, and functionality. For more complex designs (e.g., the use of scripting languages, animation, high-impact graphics), I work with various colleagues who have more experience in these areas.

Online help: I have developed online help systems for Windows software. As is the case for Web design, my emphasis is on simplicity and functionality, and I can work with other professionals to develop more sophisticated systems.

I've already developed or am in the process of developing a series of workshops based on my extensive technical communication experience. The following training options are currently available:

  • On-site training: I'll visit your workplace and provide a customized version of any workshop designed to meet your specific needs.
  • Conference training: Training provided in conjunction with my attendance at a professional conference.

©2004–2011 Geoffrey Hart. All rights reserved

Keywords: Forestry, Graphics, Substantive Editing

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Workshops and other training offered by Geoff Hart

Many "rules of thumb" have been proposed to describe our profession's "best practices", but blindly applying these rules leads to reflexive designs that may fail to meet the audience's needs. Many organizations can no longer afford a full-time editor to perform quality control on their printed and online publications, and instead perform peer review.