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December 2, 2012 12:59 PM Subscribe
How do you edit writing written in a different dialect than your own? I'm very soon going to be responsible for editing some English technical/business writing by a team in a highly multilingual south-Asian country.
posted by TheNewWazoo to writing & language (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm used to editing documents written by Americans or by European writers, where I find the language is usually pretty close to British English. Altering their words doesn't change the writer's voice much. In this case, that's just not true. I recognize that English is a first language for these writers, but that the rules of grammar that they use day-to-day are simply different (and if the English-speaking world all voted on the rules... they'd win). As a result, there are some constructions that are clearer to me when phrased in different ways, but not necessarily clearer to the author.
So, given that I don't want to have to spend the time re-writing every sentence to fit my ideas of clarity, and I also don't want to give the impression that the authors are somehow wrong in their perfectly reasonable use of language... how in the heck do I approach this?
We're writing documentation about human or technical processes, with occasional forays into technical explanations. My/Our audience is strictly internal, and pan-global, but I'm not an editor by trade; I'm simply their supervisor, but I'm ultimately responsible for the quality of their work.