Copy Editing

I was reading a tourist brochure recently. It contained both French and English text, and the translation into English had generally been very well done. However, at one point it described a certain well-known individual as ‘notorious’ – when in the original the sense was ‘famous’. A subtle distinction perhaps, but nonetheless, for an Anglophone reader, the meaning changes hugely.

It’s these shades of meaning that can make all the difference if you want to communicate well in English. Whether in business, advertising or journalism, just one wrong-placed word can alienate or confuse. Even expert translation can sometimes create hiccups (never mind machine translation), simply because living English is filled with the strata of new meanings that no dictionary can fully unpick.

Which is where having a native Anglophone for copy editing comes in. Someone alive to the idiosyncrasies of the language.

In this venture I am aided by the expertise of Francophone translator Ségolène Dupuy, who can look at the contextual clues within the original French text to divine the writer’s intentions. Between us we can provide a solution that is both accurate and reads well in English.

Copy-Editing goes beyond proofreading and involves reworking and rewording the text, removing awkward constructions, reordering the sentences, and suggesting better alternatives to specific words or word orders. Whilst respecting the original text, it makes things better.

Obviously, copy-editing services apply not just to text translated into English, but also English-original text. Books, website text, business documents – anything goes.



The basic copy-editing rate is €0.02 per word (€2 per 100 words, with a €5 minimum charge). However, I’d always like to inspect the job first, and then give a more accurate quote based on the nature of the work.