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Professional Development Seminars
This seminar is meant for both novice editors and those who want to improve their writing. You will learn basic techniques for improving text and the types of errors and difficulties typically found in everyday writing.
The instructor will introduce participants to some of the perennial problem topics that copy editors face such as:
- Spelling: determining capitalization and hyphenation; forming compounds; choosing spelling for a Canadian audience.
- Grammar: ensuring subject–verb and pronoun–antecedent agreement; avoiding dangling or misplaced modifiers; maintaining parallel structure.
- Punctuation: clarifying meaning; understanding necessary and optional commas, dealing with hyphen and dash difficulties; determining whether punctuation goes inside or outside quotation marks.
- Word usage: sidestepping commonly misused words; avoiding noun strings; eliminating redundancies.
- Mechanics of style: using or creating a style sheet to maintain consistency; dealing with abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms; knowing when to italicize.
This is a learn-by-doing seminar with many exercises to illustrate the content.
Moira Rayner White entered the work world as a social worker and later moved into social policy. In both professions, she found that her organizational skills, attention to detail, and love of words were pointing her in a new direction—the world of editing. Currently a freelance editor, writer, and trainer with both public and private sector clients, she has decades of experience editing print and electronic publications. Moira is a past president of Editors Canada.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019—Editing Technical Content
What do you do when the content you are editing is more technical than you are? This seminar offers insights into how to make technical content written by engineers and/or subject matter experts (SMEs) more comprehensible to its intended audience, even if you personally are not a member of that audience.
The role of a technical editor is to improve the readability of (and sometimes assemble and normalize) documents written by technical writers and SMEs. By definition, SMEs are quite knowledgeable, but are too close to their subject matter, inexpert at writing, or both. A technical editor’s goal is to render the content as uniform, understandable, and appropriate for its intended audience as possible.
So how can you edit something you don’t fully understand? Editing Technical Content will show participants how their existing editing skills can be applied to improve the communication aspects, and how to elicit meaningful clarifications from SMEs. There will be plenty of real-world examples and exercises.
- Experienced editors who wish to feel more comfortable when subject matter is highly technical.
- Experienced technical writers who are asked to “proofread” or “format” a SMEs messy brain dump.
Marta Cepek has worked as a technical writer since 1991. For the last 10 of those years, she has been editing and reformulating SME-written content into customer-facing documentation. In addition to her 27 years of industry experience, she has a Diploma in Education from McGill and a BA in Philosophy and Creative Writing from Concordia.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019—Electronic Editing for Windows Microsoft 2013 and 2016
Are you taking advantage of all the editing horsepower that Microsoft Word has to offer? If not, this one-day seminar will teach you a variety of electronic editing skills that can save you valuable time and simplify your work.
Bring your Windows laptop equipped with Microsoft Word 2013 or 2016 and be prepared to do plenty of hands-on electronic editing exercises. Please note that this seminar is suited only for Windows users and those with Microsoft Office 2013 or 2016.
- Capitalizing on track-changes and compare-documents tools
- Tracking and merging changes by several reviewers
- Managing queries or comments embedded in texts
- Finding and replacing text effectively
- Applying styles for fast and reliable formatting
- Creating sections and working with headers and footers
- Inserting hyperlinks to documents, web pages, and email addresses
- Anyone who wants to capitalize on the editing capabilities offered by Microsoft Word
- Anyone who reviews or edits other people’s writing
Graham Young, MBA, is an independent writer, editor, and consultant with 35 years’ experience in business and government communications. He has delivered some 750 business writing and presentation skills workshops since 2000 and taught Business English at the University of Ottawa. His lively, informative professional-development workshops instruct participants how to communicate effectively on the job. In addition to his teaching experience, Graham also has a Teachers and Trainers of Adults certificate.
Tuesday, April 9, 2019—Writing Effective Procedures
What makes some instructions effective and others ineffective? What can you do to make complex, hard-to-follow instructions better? Is there a difference between a process, a procedure, and a task? This seminar aims to answer those burning questions – and more. Whether you need to document the workflows of your company or department, prepare installation instructions for hardware or software, or simply write down a recipe, to write good instructions you need to meet identifiable criteria.
There is a difference between knowing how to do something and knowing how to write it in a way that someone else can follow successfully. At the heart of Writing Effective Procedures are several hands-on exercises: both writing and following procedures and then examining what went wrong, what went right, and why.
- Anyone who needs to write step-by-step instructions for others to follow.
- Editors who are looking for guidelines for improving procedures, giving writers feedback, or making a disparate collection of procedures more uniform.
Marta Cepek has worked as a technical writer since 1991. In that time she has documented countless workflows, process flows, installation and configuration guides, operators manuals and user guides for software and hardware systems, as well as several company potluck cookbooks (Engineer-written recipes). In addition to her 27 years of industry experience, she has a Diploma in Education from McGill and a BA in Philosophy and Creative Writing from Concordia.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019—The Sweet Spot: Editing Infographics
As editors, we live for words. But if we only use words in our toolbox, we’re missing out on the power of data and images. Where the three overlap is the sweet spot: Infographics. Many organizations—including the federal government—are putting more time into infographics to engage, inform and entertain readers. It’s said that we remember 30% of what we see but only 10% of what we read. As editors, we should improve our visual literacy–it’s the way the world is turning. Luckily, we don’t need to be designers to edit infographics.
Using real-world examples of infographics, this hands-on seminar will give participants the confidence to handle the most common types of infographics and add value to any project. This seminar is aimed at editors working on infographics intended for a general audience, though some more specialized contexts will also be covered.
- Four main purposes of infographics (to inform, to explain, to persuade, and to entertain) and how to ensure an infographic achieves its purpose
- Science behind how we perceive visual information and what that means for editing infographics
Features of the most common types of infographics (e.g., Venn diagrams, process diagrams, flow charts, bubble charts, data maps, hierarchical infographics, decision trees, pictographs, schematic diagrams, timelines, statistical infographics, comparisons)
- Top mistakes infographic creators make and how to fix them
- How to handle statistics in infographics even if you’re not a math whiz
- What to do with an infographic at every stage of editing, from substantive to proofreading
- Bar charts, line charts, pie charts, and scatter charts
Laurel Hyatt has been a journalist, writer, and editor for more than 30 years. She has worked in-house at Statistics Canada and freelance for the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, as well as on university textbooks in accounting, psychology, management, and statistics–all of which use a heck of a lot of infographics.