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Sessions: Quick Reference


Language and Culture


Plain Language

Science and Technology

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The Evolution of Eagle Feather News

Presenter: John Lagimodiere

Eagle Feather News is the largest independent Indigenous media outlet in Saskatchewan. Twenty years ago, however, it was a little Aboriginal newspaper with big problems and a new owner with no experience writing, editing or publishing. Come discover how a struggling publication acquired in wild circumstances has become Saskatchewan’s smart and successful go-to news source in Aboriginal communities.


Publishing Indigenous Literature and Art, from an Author and Editor’s Perspective

Presenter: Mika Lafond

Kimiwan Zine was born in 2012 to give new and established Indigenous creators an outlet for their art and literature, and eight highly acclaimed issues were published. This session will discuss the experience of writing, editing and publishing community-based Indigenous works, including a recently released bilingual Cree/English collection of poems.


Bridging Communities: ayisīnowak: A Communications Guide

Presenters: Gilles Dorval and Dana Kripki

In 2017, the City of Saskatoon launched ayisīnowak: A Communications Guide. It provides a basic outline of Aboriginal understandings and governance systems to bridge gaps, build more collective understandings and create positive change in an innovative and collaborative fashion. This session describes how and why the guide was developed, how it is kept up to date and what the initial response has been.


Telling Indigenous Stories: A History of Cultural Appropriation

Presenter: Greg Younging

As a legacy of colonialism, traditional Indigenous knowledge and stories have been treated as belonging to no one and, therefore, free for the taking. Describing a discourse that began in the 1990s with a cry to “Stop telling our stories,” Greg Younging will talk about how non-Indigenous people have come to be seen as potential allies in storytelling when they consult with Indigenous communities and approach the work with sensitivity.


Getting the Scoop on Being Scooped: One’s Own Story as News

Presenter: Betty Ann Adam

Betty Ann Adam and her siblings were removed from their Dene mother as part of the Sixties Scoop. Years later, as a reporter, Betty Ann told her story in a newspaper feature and in Birth of a Family, a National Film Board documentary. She had to abandon journalistic neutrality, but the personal story and its multimedia synergy generated huge interest in an emerging national issue. In this session she discusses the evolution of the project—and shares what she learned about powerful storytelling along the way.


Augie’s Story: A Conversation with Arlene Merasty and David Carpenter

Presenters: David Carpenter and Arlene Merasty

When his story was published, August (Augie) Merasty was an 86-year-old Cree man living on the streets. Written by letter, phone and in person over 10 years, The Education of Augie Merasty is at once a memoir and a story of Indigenous survival. Augie’s daughter Arlene and his editor, David Carpenter, will talk about their memories of Augie, the process of putting the book together and the impact it has had.


Voice, Agency and Worldview: Editing Indigenous Manuscripts

Presenter: Karon Shmon

With the increased demand for publications by and about the Métis, the Inuit and First Nations peoples, many publishing houses are hiring more Indigenous editors to work with these texts. This session explores the ways in which editors and publishers, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, can work successfully with Indigenous writers to maintain their voice, agency, worldview and perspective and make a potential bestseller.


The Story of the Indigenous Editors Circle

Presenter: Rita Bouvier

The Indigenous Editors Circle supports Canadian Indigenous literature by providing Indigenous editors and publishers with peer mentorship, informed dialogue and knowledge about issues distinct to editing manuscripts by Indigenous authors. This session explores the story of the circle, its philosophical foundations and current topics of importance for members and their friends and allies. It will also create space for participants to join the evolving conversation: what are the challenges and concerns when editing Indigenous literature?



Beyond Italics: Working with Non-English Words in English Text

Presenter: James Harbeck

When you handle names and other words from other languages, decisions are often more complex than “Do I italicize this?” There’s lots to trip up on: for example, writing the Husfjellet mountain (doubly redundant), hyphenating as Xinji-ang (it’s two syllables, Xin and jiang), getting the accents wrong on kürtőskalács, or using t'ai chi when you should have used taiji. Find out what to consider when working with non-English words in English texts—including what not to assume about other languages and their cultural and political contexts.


Indexing the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Presenters: Margaret de Boer and Alexandra Peace

An index is much more than a list of alphabetized terms with page numbers; it’s a roadmap. The team that indexed the English volumes will speak about the technical, logistical and emotional challenges of creating indexes for the report’s various readers, from academics and researchers to survivors and their relatives. They’ll talk, too, about the benefits and challenges of working with the indexers of the French final report.


Standardization of an Indigenous Language: Orthography and Editing Practices

Presenter: Arok Wolvengrey

This session explores the evolving standardization of orthographic and editing practices surrounding publication of Cree language materials, primarily with respect to Plains Cree, but with reference to the very large continuum of western Cree dialects. Learn about both writing systems, syllabics and the standard Roman orthography (SRO), plus specific issues such as capitalization and hyphenation and how these have changed over the past 45 years of publishing.


Bridging Language Conventions and the Author’s Voice in Indigenous Writing

Presenter: Rhonda Kronyk

The language conventions editors follow don’t always meet their clients’ needs, especially those of Indigenous writers. Using client manuscripts as examples, this session will show how editors and publishers can bridge language conventions and Indigenous storytelling techniques and cultural expression. Learn how to question what kinds of changes are appropriate and how to honour an Indigenous author’s voice and linguistic heritage.


Translating English into Cree: Not Just Lip Service

Presenters: Arden Ogg and Solomon Ratt

Cree is the most widely spoken First Nations language in Canada. After a century of intentional suppression, growing interest in language revitalization has created a demand for new materials and for translation into Cree. Learn about the issues that can lead to unexpected, sometimes even comical results in English-to-Cree translation, while considering the value of various projects to language revitalization and the community of speakers.


Des services de traduction et non un cabinet de traduction

Presenters: Gisèle Poirier and Julie Roy

Unlike translation agencies, Farm Credit Canada’s Translation Services relies on a team of internal language experts who specialize not only in agriculture, but also in finance and the legal fields. They are primarily gifted linguists with broad-based interests and backgrounds. Learn how expert knowledge in one field can ensure high-quality translations tailored to clients’ needs, and how this approach can serve as a model for anyone wishing to start their own business. (Presented in French.)


Digital Scribes: Editing and Book Design, Medieval England and Now

Presenter: Yin Liu

In the long history of one of the most successful communications technologies ever—a device that most of us just call “the book”—the Middle Ages (c. 500–c. 1500) represents a thousand years of innovation, implementation and usability testing. Discover what we can learn from information technologies in England during the Middle Ages and what lessons we can apply to the changing world of communications today.



Editing Out Loud: When Words Are Meant to Be Spoken

Presenter: Michelle Waitzman

Editing scripts, voiceovers, presentations and speeches can challenge editors, who usually focus on the way writing is presented on the page. In this session, by looking at word choice, punctuation, pacing and content, you’ll learn how editing differs for writing meant to be read and writing meant to be spoken. Note: Fictional dialogue will not be a focus of this session.


Developing and Editing Online Distance Education Courses

Presenter: Danielle Collins

Ever wondered how higher education courses come together? This session will help you understand how editing academic material, especially the various pieces for online distance education courses, differs from editing traditional publications. Learn how to identify the stakeholders, estimate the scope of editing required and anticipate the turnaround times. In-house style guides, marketing and branding considerations, and requirements for different disciplines will also be discussed.


Whose Voice Is It, Anyway?

Presenter: Yvette Nolan

As wordsmiths, what is our responsibility to the voice we meet on the page or on the stage? How do we “give voice” to characters who are different from us? How do we begin to address the question of how this person’s voice has been filtered and by whom? Playwright and director Yvette Nolan examines the notion of voice in poetry, prose and drama.


PANEL: Self-Publishing: Three Experts on Current Trends and Best Practices

Presenters: Heather Nickel, Naomi Pauls and Caroline Walker

Self-publishing is no longer about the vanity press. Today, there are more great book ideas and more opportunities to produce excellent books than there are publishers, and writers are taking advantage of those opportunities themselves—some of them landing on bestseller lists. Join our panelists as they discuss such topics as what makes a successful self-published book, what self-publishers should know before they start and why self-publishing is here to stay.


PANEL: Why Magazines Matter: Strategies for Success and Survival

Presenters: Wendy Barron, Noelle Chorney, Amanda Soulodre and Brook Thalgott

We keep hearing that magazine sales have declined and that digital is replacing print, but niche publications are thriving. Join our panel of industry experts as they discuss what magazines offer that other forms of media do not. Learn how these magazines are connecting with readers, harnessing change and becoming more valuable than ever before. And, most importantly, what all communicators can learn from their example.


PANEL: Communication in the Age of Fake News: Strategies for a New Era

Presenters: Mitch Diamantopoulos, Kristen Murphy and Heather Persson

Almost daily, we hear stories about fake news. How prevalent is it really? What is its impact? How can we, as professional communicators, be sure our facts and our messages are fair and accurate? Join our panel of media experts as they discuss the challenges of communicating in the era of fake news. From the steps they take to check sources to the strategies they use to reach audiences, they’ll share tips for those who create and consume media.



A Global View of Plain Language

Presenter: Kate Harrison Whiteside

Now is an exciting time to get involved with plain language. In 2017, PLAIN (Plain Language Association InterNational) held its 11th conference, and countries from Norway to Chile are making nationwide commitments to plain language. Canada is part of PLAIN’s global survey. Find out what’s happening beyond our borders, how professionals are bridging communities with plain language and how you can get involved.


Partners in Plain Language: Editors and Graphic Designers

Presenter: Flora Gordon

Plain language combined with clear design can make documents—from books and magazines to forms and legal documents—accessible to all. This session focuses on how design elements like typography, colour and layout contribute to readability and legibility. You will also learn how design-related guidelines can help save time on your projects.


Making Science Understandable to a General Audience

Presenter: Jana Goldman

Too many of us don’t understand how science affects us daily. Some scientists recognize that plain language can help them explain their work, but others think plain language is “dumbing down” their work. This presentation will show how using common words to explain complicated scientific concepts benefits both scientists and the public.


The Basics of User Testing

Presenter: Iva Cheung

User testing is an essential part of the plain language process. In this session you’ll learn why it is important and what different user-testing techniques can reveal about your document.


Proactive Editing: Teaching Plain Language to Staff Writers

Presenter: Aaron Dalton

Usually editors can educate writers only after the text is written. What if you could help them write more effective documents before you edit them? This session looks at how one company designed and delivered plain language training for its staff and shares the lessons they learned along the way.



Optimizing Editing Skills and Efficiency with Antidote 9

Presenter: Dolores Tam

Antidote 9 comprises a whole arsenal of dictionaries, linguistic guides and text analysis software to increase the accuracy and efficiency of anyone who writes or edits. In this session, you’ll not only learn about the program’s features but also take away valuable tips and tricks to successfully make Antidote 9 your everyday editing assistant.


Building a Dynamic Technical Glossary—with a Dash of Rocket Science

Presenters: Marsha Fine and Jane Hunt

A glossary of terms can be an invaluable resource, but how do you work with experts from nuclear physics, geology, engineering and regulatory affairs to make sure those entries are true to context? This session for senior editors draws on the experience of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. It covers the basic anatomy of glossary entries and tips on keeping the glossary evergreen. It also demonstrates that editors and subject experts can successfully resolve terminology issues together.


Editing Grant Proposals: How to Reduce Length Without Sacrificing Content

Presenter: Stan Backs

Research granting agencies and academic journals in science and technology normally impose strict length limits on submissions. Researchers often find these restrictions onerous, and deleting portions of their proposals could weaken their arguments for funding. This session discusses the common types of length restrictions in grant proposals and offers various ways to meet these restrictions without cutting content.


Explaining Complex Scientific Research to Non-Scientists

Presenters: Robert Lamb and Sandra Ribeiro

The Canadian Light Source (CLS) is Canada’s national synchrotron facility and one of only 20 similar institutes in the world. Every year, more than 1,000 scientists make discoveries at the CLS, in health, agriculture, environmental science and advanced materials. Witness how experts at the CLS speak in lay terms about highly complex scientific research using Canada’s brightest light. Whether you’re a scientist or a communicator working with scientists, this session will help you make complex research understandable to the general public.


Editing Science: Helping Communicate to Scientists, Policymakers and the Public

Presenter: Carolyn Brown

Thinking of editing in science, technology, engineering, math or medicine? Editors bring value in helping scientists communicate to a wide range of audiences. This session will help you edit specialized scientific language so that it meets the needs of the target readers, by exploring reader expectations and aspects of editing specific to science.



Facing Failure: Avoiding and Overcoming Mistakes at Work

Presenter: Jenny Lass

Learn how to turn failure into success! This session will explore the science of how editing mistakes happen and the types of mistakes that communications professionals typically make. You’ll also get tips on how to avoid making mistakes and how to deal with mistakes when they happen. Find out how failing can actually sometimes help you up your game.


Marketing by Building a Collaborative Online Community

Presenter: Kate Juniper

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”—Seth Godin. Online marketing provides the opportunity to build, inform and sell to a community of our own making—often for free—and to do so by being ourselves. It’s an invaluable element of every business’s marketing strategy—freelance editors and communications specialists included.


Bridging Two Worlds: Professional Communications and Creative Writing

Presenters: Melva McLean and Frances Peck

Are the language professions and creative writing uncomfortable bedfellows? Join editors and creative writers Melva McLean and Frances Peck as they talk about the fun and frustration of living with one foot in each world. They’ll offer ideas and tips about what works for them, and they’ll look forward to hearing from other communicators and creative writers.


Copyeditor Self-Help

Presenter: Carol Saller

Editors stress over everything: deadlines, finances, workload, author pushback, and the issue of where to put hyphens and dollar signs in “a $5- to $10-per-hour gap.” Sometimes it helps to vent! Even better is to vent in a group of like-minded professionals who can affirm, console and offer genuinely helpful solutions. Ask questions and air complaints in this session limited to 30 attendees. Note: To pre-register for this session, please email


Navigating the Freelance Life from Woe to Go

Presenter: Jenny Gates

The freelance life is not always easy. In this lighthearted presentation, learn from an experienced freelancer how to work successfully with difficult clients, resolve disputes about fees, gain confidence about your skills, balance your workload and feel appreciated for what you do. Being able to navigate these challenges makes the road that much easier and more rewarding, leading you naturally from woe to go.


Are You Certifiable? Preparing for the Editors Canada Certification Exams

Presenters: Leslie Saffrey and Jess Shulman

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Editors Canada certification exams in structural editing, stylistic editing, copy editing and proofreading from someone who has successfully completed all four of the tests. In this session, you’ll learn valuable tips about how to prepare, test your mettle with sample questions and discuss your answers with other editors.


Partnering for Success: Bridging Diverse Roles in an Agile Workplace

Presenters: Trilby Henderson and Amber Rowein

Agile working means being able to respond quickly and effectively to changing circumstances by hiring highly adaptable people and creating an efficient, productive and vibrant work environment. This session delivers an in-depth look at how in-house and freelance editors can build strong partnerships with diverse teams, “fail fast” and recover, and measure success.


Working with Virtual Teams

Presenters: Barbori Garnet and Leonie Pipe

Technology has opened up many opportunities to work from home, whether as a freelancer or as part of an in-house team. In this interactive session, you’ll learn how to work from home, where to look for work and how to balance having your work and your personal life under the same roof.


Speed Mentoring

Need editorial or career advice? Sign up for speed mentoring, an hour of 15-minute one-on-one consultations with some of Editors Canada’s most highly regarded editors. Speed mentoring offers editors of all experience levels an opportunity for advice and feedback from someone who’s been there. Watch for a list of mentors and their specialties, coming soon. Reserve your spot at