How to choose an academic editor during graduate school

The Importance of Good Academic Editing Services

Student edits her dissertation

As English has become a truly global language, more and more colleges and universities worldwide are offering advanced degree programs in the language.

For students who are not proficient in English, but who aspire to the prestige and opportunities that a degree in the language confers, such programs present challenges from the moment they apply. Non-native speakers are usually required to demonstrate English proficiency before they are able to enroll. Once they begin their studies, they often struggle to understand their lectures and course materials, especially scholarly books and articles written in high-level academic English. In the most extreme cases, their lack of understanding leads them to fail in their programs.

These students flounder as well when faced with the challenge of writing academic English. Lacking the necessary fluency, they conceptualize their papers in their mother tongue and then try to translate them into English. This disconnect between the language of thought and the language of writing can often result in an unintelligible final product, leaving instructors dissatisfied and students frustrated.

Employing the services of an academic editor can be of immeasurable benefit to a non-native student writer. An academic editor can not only help correct grammatical errors, but can improve the logical flow of a paper’s argument, flagging erroneous sentences that are direct translations from the student’s mother tongue.

The most effective editors are specialists in their academic fields as well as being language experts. An editor trained in archaeology, education, or medicine—whatever the student’s particular discipline—will be familiar with specific scholarly terminology and will make sure the right terms are used in the right way. For example, legal studies use the word “consideration” to mean money or an item of value that makes a contract enforceable. However, an editor from outside the field could easily misunderstand the term, and, thereby, the entire text.

However, students have to be careful. Not all of those who advertise their academic editing services are reliable. The anonymity of the web has made it possible for people to exaggerate their English proficiency and their academic credentials with the hope of deceiving the unsuspecting.

The challenge for students, who may be inundated by the various offers and advertisements, is locating editors who are true experts in their fields. Students should be wary of an editor who advertises their expertise in a number of unrelated subjects; they may well be misrepresenting their skills.

Those looking for quality editing would do best to find a reputable company dedicated to quality English editing who can call on the services of a wide range of experts in various fields. That way students can ensure that their paper is written in the highest possible level of English, and says exactly what they want.

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