Tips for Technical Editing

Responsibilities of a Technical Editor

There are several types of technical editors but every editor:

  • Ensures document accuracy.
  • Reviews technical documents for clarity, grammar, spelling, punctuation, content, and style.
  • Makes any necessary corrections to technical documents.
  • Gives feedback and advice to technical writers.
  • Ensures that all written content meets a company’s standards.
  • Maintains quality assurance on all printed documents (like brochures, advertisements, or newsletters).
  • Conforms to strict editing guidelines and security clearance protocols.

How to Stay Calm While Editing

Editing is a tough task that requires absorption and a structured approach. I’m sure that any editor has a checklist that contains all the relevant aspects of reviewing. But having such a list doesn’t guarantee that you won’t end up frustrating because of time pressure that usually arises at the time of editing.

  • Prioritize. The first thing to do is to define the sequence of tasks, from the most urgent tasks to the tasks of low priority. It may seem evident, but throughout the day, new tasks arise, and you may lose focus and simply forget, so make a list every morning and look it up from time to time during the day.
  • Fight the repeated errors. Editors strive to standardize documents, meaning that texts are reused one-to-one when it suits them. If you find the same error in a text over and over again, you should stop and describe the error in detail at the first occurrence. Then ask the editor to correct the error globally via “Search and Replace”.
  • Know your rhythm. Any person cannot be equally efficient throughout the day. Mark the time when you are particularly able to concentrate and the time when your concentration breaks down. As editing is a cognitively challenging task, you should be in tune with your own daily rhythm. When you feel that you’re losing concentration, do the routine tasks.
  • Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the responsible expert for clarification if something appears ambiguous. Plus, you can apply the new knowledge gained from this document to future documents.
  • Gather feedback. It is worthwhile to obtain input from other editors regularly. Editing errors that often creep in can be eliminated in the long run through mutual feedback.
  • Maintain the order. There are a lot of tools for technical writers of different levels of complexity. But no matter how complex a system is, regular housekeeping and diligence can ensure that things are kept well organized, which facilitates the work of a technical editor.

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Bradley Nice

Bradley Nice

Content Manager at https://medium.com/level-up-web 👈. I write about web design, web development and technical writing. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook