Editor: Asha Khaladkar Company: Freelance Number of years in editing: 14 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I have always been interested in words and language. I hold a BA in English Literature and Linguistics from McGill University and an MSc in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh. In university, I did a lot of self-editing and editing swaps with my peers. I started doing some freelance editing and it just built from there.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
I mainly work in medical research, especially written by non-native English speakers. It is an area I really just fell into. Because I took some Latin in university, I find the vocabulary intuitive; over time, I have become familiar with how a piece of medical writing should be constructed. I am passionate about this area because doctors and other medical professionals train for years to learn their area of expertise, but they often have to communicate their knowledge in a language they don't know perfectly. I strive to bring their English to near-native levels so that readers focus on the content of what they are saying rather than language issues.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I start work at my home office at about 7 a.m. I typically work on a few projects at a time, skipping from one to the other as I do my first pass. Once a document is ready for a second pass, I focus only on that document, reading it aloud (via software) from top to bottom. I work in this way throughout the morning. Around midday, I take a break for a couple hours (deadlines permitting). I often take a long walk or have a nap. In the afternoon I deal with any deadlines I have that day and work on professional development. Finally, I knock off at about 5 p.m. on a regular day. I can usually get a pretty good sense of how long a task will take me by looking at the language level and word count, so to manage time, I lean towards those elements that I know will be more involved. I use software to help with editing tasks, and I built buffers into my deadlines so that I will be on time for the client even if I run a bit late.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
Helping authors reach their goals.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
Editing tables is a big challenge for me because my eyes just want to skip over them. It is not always clear what should be checked and what shouldn't or what formatting needs to be changed. To work through this, I try to do a pass where I only look at tables. This helps focus on them and catch inconsistencies between them.
What are you currently working on?
A lot of COVID-19 research is crossing my desk just now.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Join a local editing association to connect with editors near you.