Technical Editing

Technical editors review content in preparation for publication to ensure that: the material is concise, complete, accurate, and correct; is usable; meets the needs of the audience; supports the corporate brand; and adheres to applicable quality and safety standards.

The Editing Cycle

Editing is generally performed in cycles. Comprehensive editing occurs early in the development cycle and deals with high-level considerations:

  • Is the information well organized?
  • Is all relevant information included?
  • Is the information concise and complete?

Copyediting ensures that comprehensive edits are incorporated and reviews:

  • grammar, spelling, and punctuation,
  • compliance with style guides,
  • accuracy of supporting figures, and
  • accuracy of details and references.

Proofreading is performed at the end of the development cycle to verify that:

  • all prior edits have been incorporated,
  • spelling, punctuation, typography, and spacing are correct, and
  • the document is ready for publication.

Editing Skills

Proofreading requires language skills to review spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence and paragraph structures, as well as knowledge of the use of proofreaders marks and software editing tools. To perform comprehensive editing, one must also have the skills to evaluate the overall content and organization to ensure the document meets its purpose.

Technical editors must have the skills to edit numerical data, tables, illustrations, and other figures to verify accuracy, relevance, and usability. They must also evaluate the suitability of visual design as it relates to organization. Technical editors rely on their industry knowledge, style guides, and author queries to evaluate word choices and maintain consistency. Editors should record their decisions in style sheets.