Friday, September 21, 2007

Difficulties of ESL Editing Work

One of the ways that ESL tutors can supplement their income is by offering their editing services to ESL and other students. As a private ESL tutor, I don't advertise to do English editing work. However, at least once a month, I receive an inquiry about an editing job.

I believe I've mentioned in the past that editing is not one of my favorite things to do. Actually, I love editing. I'll gladly do it for free for friends. I just don't usually like doing it as a paying job.

More often than not, people asking for my editing services will say things like, "It doesn't need much editing; just a few grammar problems." Or, "You don't have to correct too much; I just want it to sound like a native English writer."

While I (think I) understand what people are trying to convey when they tell me that their paper won't need much work, I often feel that people don't really understand what goes into editing a paper. For example, even if there are only a few necessary corrections, I still have to read the whole paper to find the errors. Even if there is only one error on a page, the whole page must be read and understood and checked.

I've gotten used to people making these sorts of statements about their papers. I expect it, and I don't let that deter me from taking a job.

The one thing that I've learned not to do is to not take on someone else's pressure. I had an ESL student contact me today to edit his paper. He needs it by tomorrow "at midnight." However, he hasn't finished the paper yet. He offered to send it to me by 10 p.m. I told him that I wouldn't able to fit it into my schedule; that it would take more time. "But it only needs a few corrections." --Sigh--


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