This week I sacrificed my Tuesday evening to attend a revision workshop. This was a 2-hour session delivered by Sue Young. Sue is an experienced reviser and a member of ITI.
Here are some of the key learning points I took from this class:
• Punctuation is very important and shouldn’t be overlooked. Sue suggested the Penguin Guide to Punctuation as a very good guide to English punctuation. I’ve been using it since the class and have found it easy to follow and not as dry as some other guides.
• Before you start to revise you need to ask who will be reading the text. That way you’ll be able to check if the register is right for the intended audience.
• Don’t ask if it can be improved, but if it needs to be improved. This is perhaps the most important lesson I took from the class. It’s an important rule because unnecessary stylistic changes are time consuming and, as revisers often work to set time limits, you need to use that time wisely.
• The point above is equally important when it comes to revising texts that have been written by a non-native English speaker. Limiting your corrections to those that are strictly necessary will spare the client’s feelings when they read their corrected text.
• You should revise your own translations, but not straight after you’ve written them. Give it a while before you go through the text. It also helps to print it out as this can reveal typos that are often missed on the screen.
So overall this was a really interesting talk with two very useful practical exercises. Highly recommended for anyone interested in revision work.