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Editing Grass greener1

Do you know the stages of professional editing? They apply to both print and online publications, though with variations depending on the nature of the work in question.

  • Manuscript appraisal (manuscript assessment)
    In most cases, before editing a fiction manuscript - and sometimes non-fiction - an editor will recommend a manuscript appraisal (also called a manuscript assessment) as a first step. In a manuscript appraisal the editor analyses plot, characters, setting, dialogue, point of view, suitability of the language and terminology for the genre and target audience, structure, theme, beginnings and endings, and any other aspects that contribute to the overall quality of the work. The editor does not intervene in the manuscript at this point. She or he will prepare a report of a few pages in length, outlining the main findings in a constructive way and providing guidance to the author, who then revises the manuscript. The author and the editor may agree to discuss the revised version once or even several times more, with the author reworking it at each stage. The author remains in control.

  • Structural (substantive) editing
    This stage will not be necessary if the manuscript appraisal phase has produced a text that is ready to be copyedited. Particularly in the case of non-fiction texts, the editor and author may agree to the editor's restructuring some parts of the text: for example, by adding transitional wording to ensure that the manuscript is logically presented, well structured and suitable for the intended readers. The editor finalises additional matter such as the title page, introduction, table of contents, imprint page, list of shortened forms, glossary and index. She/He also consults with the person responsible for the overall design of the publication or online content, making changes in consultation with the author or publisher.

  • Copyediting
    Once the structure of the text is satisfactory, and the author regards the text as complete, the editor begins to edit it in detail (vocabulary, punctuation, grammar, spelling, style, accuracy of factual content [where appropriate], heading hierarchies, any graphics and illustrations, etc.), ensuring that all recurring elements of language and format are consistent throughout the work. He/She then returns the manuscript to the author, who looks at the changes the editor has made and accepts these or, in a few places, notes a different change or a question. The author then sends the manuscript to the editor a second time. In the ideal case, the editor will then only have to make whatever changes the author still desires, before returning the final text to him or her. In many cases, however, the text goes back and forth thee or more times before being finalised. Naturally, the author has the last word.

  • Formatting
    Envision Editing offers formatting of manuscripts produced in Word. Please contact us for details.

  • ProofreadingOn the other side
    Once the author, publisher or layouting professional has integrated the final text into the layout, the manuscript is returned to the editor for proofreading. The editor or proofreader (they do not have to be the same person, although in most cases they are) notes any errors and sends the proofs back for correction. The editor/proofreader needs to do one final proofread once the errors have been eliminated, just to make sure no new errors have crept in during the process.

Not all editing tasks involve all of these stages. This depends on the nature of the task. We consult with you before beginning the task to determine exactly what you need.

A note on editing research theses:
If you are a Masters or PhD student, you might wish to engage an editor to copyedit your thesis. This is possible, although clear guidelines apply. Envision Editing adheres to the Guidelines for editing research theses published by the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd). Here are some tips:

  • The editor you engage does not have to be an expert in your field of research. They will tell you honestly if they do not think they could edit your thesis responsibly. Remember, factual accuracy is up to you. An editor will not interfere with the content. An editor will, however, question the spelling of specialised terms - for example, if you have used differing spellings in your thesis. It is then up to you to decide how that term will be written.
  • Remember that when you engage an editor, you should always send your editor the link to the style guide used by your research institution.
  • It is advisable to find an editor some time before the final stage of your thesis. Freelance editors need to plan ahead and may have more than one project on the go at any one time. Last-minute searches for editors narrow your chances of finding the person you need. They also mean more stress for you - and often for the editor you choose. Remember that you will need time to answer any queries the editor may pose.
  • If your editor sends back your manuscript with Tracked Changes (in Word), you should never simply accept all the changes in one go. You need to examine each one and decide if you want to accept it or not. You will need time for this process, too.


Some editing tasks require a certain amount of writing. This may be the case, for example, if the product is a compilation of different texts and needs transitional content. However, the author and/or publisher must stay in control of the product and has the last word on any new content suggested by the editor.

Envision Editing is happy to write for your project, under guidance from you. This includes the creation of content for websites. Should you need someone to create your website content from details provided, or to edit existing web content, Envision Editing can help you.


Do you need a fluent and precise translation from German to English? The trouble with many translations is that they sound like translations. For Envision Editing, the 'bottom line' in translation is:
a) accuracy and
b) producing a natural English style at a level of English that is appropriate to your text and your intended readers.

When undertaking a translation we listen carefully to the author/publisher. Consulting with the owner of the work is crucial.