Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are an editor’s main skills?
Full mastery of the language in which the document is written is essential, along with good knowledge of grammar and syntax rules and of typography, and, of course, a love of language. The objective is to ensure that a text is clear while respecting the author’s voice. You can find more information on the Editors Canada website and in this article on the Canadian government’s Language Portal.
2. What training is required to become an editor? How does one become an editor?
While there are no English universities in Quebec offering editing programs leading to degrees, there are quite a number elsewhere in Canada, including several in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. There are also various programs for editing, translation and publishing available in French institutions in Quebec. Links to programs across the country are available here on the Editors Canada website.
Many paths lead to careers in editing. Editors often have a background in translation, literature, journalism, communications, health or science. For more information on being an editor, please see this page on the Editors Canada website.
3. Does Editors Quebec/Atlantic Canada offer training?
Every year, Editors Quebec/Atlantic Canada arranges several day-long seminars that are open to members and non- members alike. A list of upcoming Editors Quebec/Atlantic Canada seminars is posted here.
4. I would like to become a self-employed editor. What are my chances of success? Where should I start?
A career as a language professional requires time and determination. Its success depends on a variety of factors: the strength of your network, the type of contracts that you land, the strategies you follow, the effort invested, the competence shown, etc. Here are several routes:
Consult Professional Editorial Standards from Editors Canada to learn about established practices, and the competencies needed in this profession.
Participate in activities organized by Editors Quebec/Atlantic Canada to meet other language professionals and discuss the realities of the profession with them.
Join Editors Canada and take advantage of professional development opportunities (workshops, seminars, panel discussions), employment opportunities (Online Directory of Editors (ODE), National Job Board), invaluable information (website, publications, newsletters, forums and the email list), networking opportunities (national convention, volunteering, meetings), and even commercial services (mediation, insurance, email address).
For administrative, financing or marketing components, contact organizations that support entrepreneurs in your region. Most offer support services for launching a business that can improve your chances of success.
5. How much does a freelance editor earn? How are freelance editors paid? What are current rates?
When it comes to editorial services, rates vary according to a number of factors, notably the type of work and the amount of time it will take, the expertise and experience of the editor, the language and whether translation is required, the market (e.g. rates charged by editors in urban areas can be different from those in non-urban areas) and the complexity of the material.
In general, editors are paid on an hourly basis. Sometimes they charge a per-page rate or even a fixed fee for a complete project. Hourly rates vary between $30 and $100.
6. Does Editors Canada have a recommended rate scale?
No. Editors Canada is a non-profit organization and its aim is not to regulate the market but rather to bring editors together in a community so that its members can help and support each other.
7. Will Editors Canada help me find a job? Does Editors Canada provide work for editors?
The role of Editors Canada is not to provide work for its members. However, Editors Quebec/Atlantic Canada sometimes receives job or contract offers. These are forwarded to members by email so that interested members can apply or offer their services.
Companies and organizations in need of editors or people seeking editorial services can consult the Online Directory of Editors on the website of Editors Canada. Members who would like to add their profiles to the ODE must register and pay the annual $80 fee (plus taxes).
Editors Canada also has a constant need for editors who can volunteer to help in communications. Volunteering in the association gives a member visibility and helps establish contacts with other professionals in the field. Many volunteers claim to have obtained contracts or other work thanks to these contacts.
8. Is Editors Canada a professional order?
No. Editors Canada is an association that brings editors together into a community. The services it offers depend in large part on the work of the many volunteers who have chosen to engage with their professional community.
9. Does Editors Canada have a code of ethics?
No. Editors Canada does not have a code of ethics, but it has adopted general principles of professional editing. You can download Professional Editorial Standards from Editors Canada for a list of these principles.
10. How many members does Editors Canada have?
Editors Canada has about 1,600 members from coast to coast, approximately 200 of whom are francophone, and including many who are bilingual. The national association is subdivided into six regional branches.
11. What are the criteria for becoming a member of Editors Canada?
Anyone interested in the world of language, including correction, editing, translation and publishing, can become a member of Editors Canada by registering and paying the membership fee. No test is required. No school certificate is required. Only those joining as student affiliates must provide proof of their student status. See this Editors Canada web page for more information on becoming a member.
12. Does Editors Canada have a certification program for editors?
After many years of dedicated work, volunteer members have succeeded in developing a full certification program. An English-language editor can choose to write the certification examination in any of the four categories – proofreading, stylistic editing, copy editing and structural editing – and will receive the title of Professional Editor for each category successfully completed. Whoever passes all four tests is designated a Certified Professional Editor (CPE). For full details see the Certification page of the Editors Canada website.
On the French side, there are two categories of certification available, each having its own exam that evaluates the competence of candidates. These categories are general editors or editors who do comparisons of translations from English to French. Find full details on the Programme d’agrément page of the Réviseurs Canada website.
13. Does Editors Canada have tests for editors so that they can show their level of competence to their clients or employers?
No, Editors Canada does not have this kind of test. The website has a page entitled So You Want to Be an Editor: Information about a Career in Editing that will answer many of your questions and help you decide if editing is the career for you.
14. What references do editors consult? Which is the best?
An editor will consult different sources depending on the type of document and the intended audience. Good dictionaries, grammar and punctuation guides, style guides and online databases are all useful. No one source is better than another and good judgment should be used in applying the guidelines recommended. No reference work is a substitute for full command of the English language.
15. Which businesses are currently hiring editors? What areas of expertise are in demand?
Editors Canada does not collect data about market conditions, so we cannot answer these questions.
16. Does Editors Quebec/Atlantic Canada offer mentoring possibilities to novice editors?
Unfortunately, the Quebec-Atlantic Canada branch does not currently have a mentorship program. Sometimes individual members will get together on their own as mentors and mentees. This type of relationship can be created by participating in networking events or through the online discussions open only to Editors Canada members.