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Here you will find occasional updates on the activities of The English Editors and an ever-growing selection of startling orthographical errors and catachrestic cock-ups that have caused us amusement. If ever you wanted proof that the services of a good native English language editor and proofreader are essential, you've come to the right place.
Ok, so we can't in all honesty claim that editing book manuscripts makes us here at The English Editors any healthier than we already are and nor does it make us any more relaxed than we usually are.
However, it is probably true to say that our book manuscript editing and proofreading services help authors relax knowing that their precious work is in expert hands. That's especially true in the case of the yoga book pictured – eventually. Initially the author had given her manuscript to an editing service in the UK because they were cheap.
Sorry to say that the author found the end results unsatisfactory and so turned to The English Editors for help. Of course, we were happy to offer our book manuscript editing services to her, but wish she hadn't had to go through the stressful and ultimately costly experience that she did in the first place. It really is true that you get what you pay for and that includes professional English language editing services.
After we'd finished Maja was at last delighted knowing that not only had we treated her book with the respect it deserved, but that we'd also edited it to the highest professional standards. So happy was she with the services of The English Editors that she penned us this wonderful testimonial.
"As English is my third language, I desperately needed a good English editor for my book about yoga. It took some time to find such a good one as Russell of The English Editors. He is very devoted to his work and finishes even before the deadline. I am very pleased with his professionalism and will continue working with him. Thank you."
Maja Miklic, yoga teacher and author
We appreciate these kind words very much indeed. It's always wonderful to be recognised as being dedicated to the pursuit of editorial professionalism. And better still, it was an immensly enjoyable book manuscript to work on.
Maja's book is available through her website:
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy - so goes the old English proverb. Apparently the saying first appeared in print in 1659 when it was published in James Howell's Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish. After more than 350 years, does the proverb still hold true? There are those obsessed souls for whom work is life and life is work, of course, but generally they're a breed apart.
We at The English Editors understand what it is to be driven by work, especially when editorial deadlines loom large. At the same time we fully endorse the idea that space must be given over to other activities. Whether such activities need be recreational or not is a matter for another day. In our case, our non-editorial activities of recent months have centrered around redesigning and adapting our own website.
Website tinkering has long been an interest for The English Editors, although in no way would we call ourselves professionals - and in no way could we describe it as "play". Nevertheless, when we're not editing magazines, copywriting corporate texts, proofreading academic papers or checking book manuscripts, we can often be found messing around behind the scenes with The English Editors website. Mind you, we readily admit that should a professional web designer come clicking through these pages, they'd be sure to spot that The English Editors website is held together by HTML sticky tape and bits of old CSS string.
That said,The English Editors are rightly proud of the latest improvements we've made to the site - namely the elimination of Adobe Flash components and the introduction of jQuery image sliders. The benefits are immediate. Flash doesn't function on iPhones, tablets and other devices: jQuery, on the other hand, does.
Essentially then, while learning how to incorporate jQuery sliders into the site - and creating the images to go with them - isn't very challenging for anyone with a modicum of real technical ability, it is a great achievement for us as The English Editors website is built and maintained entirely by The English Editors themselves.
Maintaining and developing a website is a challenge far greater than any editorial, copywriting or proofreading assignment we've ever had to undertake. That's because we have a very high level of proficiency in the editorial arts, but remain as poor amateurs in the world of website building. At the same time, while it is very challenging, there is also immense satisfaction in achieving new things and seeing The English Editors website come along in leaps and bounds.
With that very much in mind, it's possible from our perspective to argue that there is little or no truth at all in the saying that "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". On the contrary, challenging work of different kinds keeps Jack - and Jill - very happy indeed.
These are busy times for The English Editors. This is very satisfying as our existence as a provider of professional editorial services depends entirely on how pleased clients are with our work. Given our busyness I guess they must be delighted! What's also particularly satisfying is the diversity of editorial projects in which The English Editors are involved.
For example, with my editor/journalist cap on, I had the opportunity to interview Ellen Kuppens, vice president of human resources at DSM Netherlands. Just last week, I interviewed Ulla Kruhse-Lehtonen, vice president of customer insight and analytics at media giant Sanoma. The resultant editorial articles are currently works in progress and will be published soon.
Other editorial projects in recent weeks have included:
At the same time – and as if that were not enough – in the capacity of managing editor and editor respectively, I'm in the process of putting together two flagship corporate magazines for one of Europe's top business schools. It really is "all go". Naturally, I'm delighted that so many esteemed clients hold the professional editorial services offered by The English Editors in such high regard.
If you need the services of a professional editor, copywriter or proofreader then
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. The maxim owes its origin to the poem To a mouse, written by Robert Burns in 1785 (The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley....).
The poem, although considered a reflection of Burns' own inner turmoil, highlights the fragility of the human condition and in some respects mankind's fallibility. It's common that at times we wonder whether we, like Rabbie's mouse, have any genuine control of our lives. Is the path upon which we tread the one that we chose for ourselves or is it one that we blithely accept?
What's Robert Burns and a mouse got to do with writing, editing and proofreading, I hear you wonder. It's a valid question. Taking the time to step back and reflect on the choices we've made in life gives us the opportunity to reappraise not only what we've done, but also what we may do next.
Proofreading and editing is rather like this. You've written a text – an article, say – and you're convinced that it all makes perfect sense. Your logic is sound; presentation, syntax, spelling and grammar are perfect. But are you really sure? Most writers suffer nagging doubts – they linger in the back of the mind; sometimes they grow, giving way to uncertainty. Suddenly your article no longer seems to make sense to you. What about all the story elements you left out – should you redraft and include them? Does your story flow naturally – does it, like life, take the path you wanted?
When life's struggles become confusing and you're not sure what to do, you seek guidance from someone who can provide objective counsel. Editors – professional ones – are counsellors of the written word. An editor has an objective view, one that is supported by years of professional experience. An editor can advise when you feel that your story – like the road travelled – may not be the one you originally started upon.
Like a life counsellor, a good editor will appraise, support and advise so that you can be certain that what you write takes the path you choose. Although we can't do anything for mice, as professional editors we can prevent your texts from going awry.
The photo above, taken by editor-in-chief Russell Gilbert, is of a bust of Robert Burns that is to be found at the Wallace Monument in Scotland. (© Russell Gilbert)
Understanding the origins and roots of words and expressions is an integral part of an editor's job. Well, it is if the editor wants to have a solid understanding of the English language. So, when The English Editors are not busy writing, editing and proofreading, we can often be found browsing through an etymological tome or doing some research online with the purpose of learning how interesting words and expressions came into common usage. It's a delightful distraction and one that's always very enlightening.
For example, here we are at the end of August. It would appear that summer has now gone, although one hopes that we may yet enjoy an elusive and oft-referenced "Indian Summer". But what exactly is an Indian Summer and from where does the expression originate?
According to an article on the BBC News website -– the term originally referred to the extended summers experienced by Native American Indians who lived on the eastern seaboard and where fine sunny weather extended through September. The first recorded use of the expression dates back to 1778, but as the article points out, it was already widespread at that time.
According to the article, an Indian Summer is defined in the Meteorological Glossary (published by the UK's Meteorological Office) as: "A warm, calm spell of weather occurring in autumn, especially in October and November." So, although we often think of an Indian Summer as happening in September - essentially an extension of the summer period - it actually refers to unexpectedly warm weather that occurs late autumn or early winter.
We at The English Editors are with the Native Americans on this one and would very much appreciate experiencing the warmth and golden glow of a summery September. That said, it remains to be seen whether the weather Gods will oblige. At the same time, while the seasons come and go, the knowledge gained from exploring the English language remains with us permanently.
Like the photograph? It was taken one summery evening in the Amsterdamse Bos (the woods of Amsterdam) by editor-in-chief, Russell Gilbert. Click on the image to see more of his photography.
Life should always present us with new challenges. Otherwise how are we to improve and better ourselves personally and professionally? Just such a challenge presented itself recently when I was invited to participate in a management debate organised by the business school of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
The subject was ethical leadership and I was to moderate the discussion, something I had not done before.
The participants were Steffen Giessner, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Marius van Dijke, Professor of Behavioural Ethics and Scientific Director of the Erasmus Centre for Behavioural Ethics, and Rob van Tulder, Professor of International Business Society Management.
I was initially a little hesitant about how the debate would unfold. Happily everything went very well indeed and the event was a success. Old editors – and I use the first word cautiously – can learn new tricks! I hope you enjoy watching the debate.
In our fast-paced, technology-driven business climate, it's a natural next step for publishers and media owners to consider whether making their magazines available on app platforms is worthwhile.
There are many considerations, including how the transformation process will actually be achieved - both from software and content/workflow perspectives.
For some there is also an initial difficulty in visualising how an interactive digital version of what is essentially a passive product – the printed magazine – will work from the reader's perspective.
At The English Editors, we understand the publisher's pre-app hesitancy and nerves ourselves having recently been instrumental in guiding Rotterdam School of Management, the top-ranked business education institute of, towards publishing its flagship corporate magazine RSM Outlook on both and app platforms.
Magazine app publishing is not without its difficult choices, one of which is the fact that the initial decision about how to publish - to develop the app internally or make use of one of the many 3rd party provider solutions that are currently on the market (a complex decision to make in its own right) – is fundamental to all subsequent steps in the development of the digital magazine.
Another is to decide whether a replica magazine or a completely new app-specific design interface is the goal.
Of course, the ultimate consideration is the user experience, or at least it should be.
I'm happy to report that the app format chosen provides an engaging and interactive magazine experience, one that is based on a replicant offering.
So, if your organisation is taking its first exploratory steps down the avenue of magazine app publishing, why not consult with The English Editors and let your management and editorial teams - and your readers - benefit from our experiences and insights.
I was recently privileged to interview the CEO of Royal Philips, Frans van Houten. The interview, on the subject of corporate innovation and the path to value, features in the latest edition of RSM Outlook, the corporate and alumni relations magazine of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, with whom I work on an ongoing freelance basis as managing editor and publishing consultant.
The English Editors offer a full range of editorial and publishing consultancy services. To find out more, and to see if we can help you,.
It's been a busy year for The English Editors, and particularly so the last couple of months because of the demand for our native English language copywriting, proofreading services and magazine publishing expertise. It's great to be in such high demand.
We've also recently moved location and are no longer on the quiet fringes of rural Aalsmeer (all horse stables and flower growers), but are instead smack in the centre of Aalsmeer dorp itself. Having said that, Aalsmeer is less of a town and more an extended village, so whilst we now have all amenities to hand (no more cycling 5km to the nearest Albert Heijn), we still benefit from the relative calm and quiet that this new urban life has to offer.
The move will also allow us to provide our professional native English language proofreading services and editing services to a whole new range of clients - the many businesses that operate in and around, and exist because of, the collosal flower auction and market that is.
For now though, we need, quite literally, to get our house in order after our move; after which time we'll put our editorial red pen to one side and enjoy the holiday period ahead. As 2013 draws to a close, for The English Editors the future looks blooming marvellous!
It's great to be able to come back from holiday, get stuck into the first writing and editing projects, and receive some instant praise for your efforts. We're currently writing 250-word precis of complex research papers on a wide variety of management topics for the, one of the top management science research centres in Europe. The texts are being written so that they can be used as news stories for the ERIM website. What links the papers is that they have all been, or are about to be, published in some of the most prestigious academic journals in the world.
Even for a professional editor and writer, it's a tougher writing and editing job than it might sound. Distilling the contents of a complex academic paper running into several thousand words so that you have the essence of it in a newsworthy form is quite a challenge, especially when it has to pass the scrutiny of the paper's author.
So, we here at The English Editors were both relieved and exceptionally pleased to hear the comments of, Associate Professor of Marketing, after we had written such a news article for his highly-lauded study into the , which will be published in the American Marketing Association's internationally renowned Journal of Marketing.
"Quality work as always!" he said. "Many thanks again."
No lengthy outpouring of praise there, but then that's simply not needed. As professional editors, writers and proofreaders, Christoph's few words say it all as far as we're concerned. Thank you very much indeed. You've made our week!
To help makewebsite more useful for people looking for professional proofreading and editing services, we've provided a handy so that you can get in touch with us more conveniently. We've also added a list of for whom we've ghostwritten articles or provided professional native English proofreading and editing services, including the proofing and editing of academic papers.
Oh, the irony of this typo... If you want to make a strong statement using the written word, then you also need to take an equally strong stand when it comes to the all-important matter of proofreading. How embarrassing this must have been, not just for the mayor of the town (who's probably still blushing to this very day), but also for the residents. As amusing as it is for us to behold, this reinforces the lasting damage that can be caused by poor spelling and an even poorer attitude towards proofreading and accuracy. Hire a professional proofreader; get your documents proofed and edited by a professional editor. Give people reason to remember you because of the quality of your words, not the embarrassment they caused.
is the quarterly management research magazine of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), ranked by the Financial Times as one of Europe's .
The English Editors are responsible for all editorial processes such as commissioning writers, briefing interviewees, editing and proofreading articles, and overseeing design, layout and print readiness. We work closely with top management and senior academics within the organisation to ensure that the corporate communications goals of this premier division business school are met.
While shoppers in the UK recover from the shock of learning that beef burgers bought from Tesco and other once-trusted high street retailers contained horse meat, please spare a thought for poor Dutch consumers who seem to be getting even more of a bum deal, literally. In the Netherlands, it would appear that retailers don't even bother to try and hide the fact that their own beef burgers contain ingredients you might not normally expect - or want!
Of course, we know that's not true, but what a difference a 'G' make (unlike in the UK, where the problem is with Gee Gee's)! This photo, showing a product labelled as 'anus burgers', spread rapidly over the internet just before Christmas. This caused one Dutch supermarket chain tremendous embarrassment at a prime selling time as the image went viral through Facebook and beyond - embarrassment that could have been prevented by the trusty eye of an experienced editor or proofreader. The lesson is obvious: hire the services of an experienced editor to do your proofreading - or risk making an arse of yourself and your business!
RSM Outlook is the corporate and alumni relations magazine of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. Russell Gilbert of The English Editors is freelance Managing Editor of RSM Outlook and provides a full range of editorial and publishing services to the school. Highlights in the Winter edition of the magazine include interviews with Philip Malmberg, CEO of Ecover, the sustainability-led producer of 'green' household cleaning products; and John Apesos, founder of Symbicity, a firm that wants to help tackle food shortages through vertical farming.
Seen outside a shop at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, this poster is guilty of apostrophe abuse - twice. The headline text should read: "Passport photos". Some speakers of English may think that the second apostrophe is correct (with the apostrophe indicating a missing letter: "Your passport photo is ready in minutes"). However, the first line uses a plural (or it would do without the erroneous apostrophe), so it's clear we're waiting for more than one photo. Therefore, the use of the second apostrophe is also incorrect. Even for native speakers of English, such mistakes are all too common. Having the advertisement checked by a professional English language proofreader and editor would have saved the copywriter and the company from embarrassment.
It always gives us a great feeling to receive positive feedback from the people and organisations that we work with. After editing and proofreading an academic paper forof the Erasmus School of Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam, here's what she had to say:
"We have gone through all your revisions and suggestions and it certainly has improved our paper. Great! It is a pleasure to work with you."
Thank you, Karen, for making use of our professional English language editing and proofreading services. It was our pleasure to help and we look forward to working with you again very soon!
Our absolute favourite example of why companies really must make use of professional English language proofreading and editing services if they want to communicate successfully in a language that is not their native tongue. These unintentionally hilarious and confusing cooking instructions were found on a packet of paella rice that we bought at a Spanish delicatessen in Amsterdam. This really is a classic!
Oh, this one certainly had us chortling over our bowl of hot noodles. It highlights the effect that just one wrong letter can have on a text and the difference between something being accurate and something being embarrassing. Of course, those who found this typo would have had a laugh at the expense of the product and the company's good name just as we did. It may be finger-pointingly funny for the public, but it's mortifying for the company and particularly for the executive responsible for the brand packaging.
The description written on the back of a bottle of wine is often the deciding factor in whether the consumer makes a purchase or not. The flowing and descriptive text paints a picture in the mind's eye and creates a heightened level of desirous expectation. All was going well with this description until the very last line. Oh, dear. Someone forgot to call the proofreader. Still, typo aside, we enjoyed the wine very much.
Seen on the exhaust pipe of a scooter in an Albert Heijn car park in. Temperatures are bound to be raised when even the simplest of words like please are spelled incorrectly. Next time, use the proofreading and editing services of The English Editors!
Another t-shirt, this one spotted on prominent display in a shop window in Amstelveen. Now, we've seen some right good typo's in our time, but this one is spectacular. Typically, a typo occurs when a couple of letters are transposed. In this case it's as if they came up with a new word by throwing a handful of Scrabble letters on the floor. Just think of the impact such shockingly bad mistakes have on your reputation as a business. The t-shirt proclaims 'trust'. With a spelling mistake this bad, it's very hard to do so. It's another clear reason why you need the services of a good editor and proofreader.
The buying department of Dutch department store V&D could do with some advice on the correct usage of the English language! This embarrassing mistake could easily have been avoided had the company employed the services of a professional proofreader before ordering this t-shirt by the hundreds, if not thousands.
If you have any examples of atrocious English use or terrible typos that you would like to share, please do send them to us. If they tickle us sufficiently, we'll be delighted to post them here.
"Russell has left us
with a legacy of
results driven, friendly
and dedicated. Russell is
the most capable and
talented editor I have
ever had the good
fortune to work with."