Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cross word

Just imagine. It’s mid-morning, you’re in your peaceful office, fresh cup of coffee close at hand (but at a safe distance from your keyboard), working avidly on your latest exciting assignment (don’t laugh, most stuff I edit manages to excite my neurons). You’re on a high, racing along at your best editing speed when rrrrrrriiiiing-rrrrriiiiiiiiiinnnnng. Oh no! It’s the bell from hell.

Who does it turn out to be? Not some nice client lusting after your professional language services, but a muckety-muck telemarketer. How dare they muck up your day, uninvited! The audacity! The distraction! The exclamation point (taken). "No!" you snap in lieu of a witty retort, refusing whatever's on offer. You slam the phone into its cradle hoping the caller will end up in purgatory. And stay there. In agony. Forever.

Hm. Is that how you deal with the tyrants of the telephone? I would, at a punch [stet], but you’d never guess I hate answering the blasted thing, now would you? No, don’t bother answering that and listen to this. What I want to say has nothing to do with my telephoney (sincere) phobia. Remember how I’ve been asking freelance editors what they consider to be standard editing speeds? Well, I’ve had another great response on LinkedIn, this time from David McClintock in New York.

David has surveyed his American colleagues in the Society for Technical Communication on this very topic and has come up with the following benchmarks based on three levels of text complexity and measured in words per hour (wph): heavy (~500wph), medium (~2000wph), and light (~3000wph). You can read the full account in Corrigo, the newsletter of the STC’s Technical Editing SIG (special interest group). The bottom line, David concludes, is that editors need to find their personal word-processing speed. "Thinking about personal speed means acknowledging a universal limitation: You can think fast, but you can’t think faster."

Think fast, editors, and help David update and expand his “rather unscientific study” of editing speed. Submit your heavy, medium, and light wph rates here. And don’t forget to let David know how he may credit you in a future article (or ensure you're anonymous).

Talking of submissions, here’s a fun link that Kari Koonin, one of my translator friends on SENSE forwarded to our Non-Sense group this morning. Fell right off my chair, I did, laughing out loud (gosh, isn’t there some clever way of abbreviating these cumbersome expressions?) when I followed Kari’s link and read the business blurbs trumpeted by Eurozone Translations.

Health Warning for NEEDSer clients: In case you’re worried by what you read on Eurozone and its subsidiaries, I do NOT think you are anything like any of the clients described. Honest.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to track down the source of this saucy viral satire. Kari says she got the link off the German Network forum run by the UK’s Institute of Translation and Interpreting and she’ll have to ask her colleague who posted it there where she found it. Watch this space!

Which reminds me that I should get back to watching my own space, I mean, back up to speed on the doc I’m editing at the moment. Let me leave you for the nonce with a not so cross word for when those telemucketers won’t take no for an answer. Enjoy and see you next week!

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