For most people who study language related courses and feel they are good at them, the desire is to become a language editor. It is generally the most important aspect of editing, no matter the document. It is actually an interesting career; but it requires a lot of effort to become one. Apart from its freelance working pattern, it can secure one a fortune.
I began my journey to becoming a professional editor since back at the university. I loved writing and calling friends to edit it. They always did it poorly, even though they made some significant editorial contributions. I stepped up by giving my works to a professional editor who did only a little better. His service was still below my expectation. Eventually, I met a European Professor of English who gave me some strange tips which really helped me. The following points are gathered from my experiences all through the journey to becoming a professional editor.
1. Read good books always
To become a language editor, you should enjoy reading. It is true that language professionals exist who are not quite interested in reading. They read if they have to. They can help with some language advice but not like in editing. As you read, you should be interested in noticing peculiar language styles and differences – not necessarily errors. You should read trusted books – those you believe are properly written and edited. That way, you will gradually become conversant with proper language usages.
2. Write in good language always
Most times people want to explore colloquialism which sort of increases their sociability, especially if they belong to a social group. You have to be the ‘one-man-gang’ in your language usage. You may hardly fit among social groups. This is more in terms of speaking, anyway. The in internet language of recent times is a clear example of this. Spellings and grammars violate language rules. It exciting to the users, but you should not, for any reason other than critiquing, admire it.
3. Speak your writing
Speak as though you are writing. What you have learnt in the above paragraph should apply hear. This is in fact where you are most likely to increase the distance between you and many. Conversations may not flow well, because you break the social pattern by been expressively civil. You career would be embedded in your life style and vice versa.
4. Offer free editing
Offer free editorial services. You don’t have to earn from your first editorial engagement. If you do so, you will lose patronage in the future. Your early attempts should a kind of apprenticeship and you should enjoy doing it. After some time, you will be known and those who come to you will on their own offer you some money. It may very little, don’t refuse it. Take it with gladness. It is evidence your impact is being felt. This may take a few years. Let your growth be measured by you patronage and testimonies.
5. Edit for small fee
You can eventually come to a point where you charge a little fee. I call it friendly fee. While you do this, you observe how other professional editors charge their customers. Try to do as good as them for a small amount. This will attract more patronage that will expose you and your worth.
6. Become a professional language editor
Now is the time to sit over the table to discuss fees to be paid for editorial services. Your mark is made already. Reference is made to your service. People have expressed confidence in your work. Now, it is time to go professional and get exactly what is yours in the editors’ world. You can have your office, create flyers and make adverts of your service.