Publish Insights 23 October 2021
Expand Your Horizons
Writers from around the world are eager to offer their blog-writing services. Hiring a remote workforce with lower wages can be cost effective. However, you will need to become a good editor.
Though many freelance writers are bilingual, their fluency may not be in your native tongue. As a result, they might write articles in another language before using an online translator app. If they write in their second language, they may rely on grammar checkers to approve their work.
The problem with such methods is the end result can lack naturalness. Sentence structure, though correct, might not flow properly. As an example, the following sentence is grammatically correct:
“The well-articulated subject about which you speak brings to the human hearts much satisfaction.”
Hemingway Editor gives it grade-13 readability with no grammatical warnings. Yet, a much simpler way of making the same statement is below:
“I’m happy to hear that.”
Not all work is as egregious. Many writers articulate well in their native language but lack the nuance of international vernacular. Some write at an average grade school level in their own language, with lesser abilities in another. Other writers are proficient in several languages. Your challenge is distinguishing between them. As an editor, do you want to take on the role of teaching language and writing skills?
English is a challenge because there are many variations of it. Most understand that British English differs from American English. However, people in New York, Boston, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Los Angeles, and other areas speak English differently. Unless the writing is technical or proper English, “Y’all betta’ get ready for like, da biggest mess ya eva’ seen.”
Many Latin languages always include an article (the) before a noun. In English, it is not always necessary. It primarily distinguishes singularity. So when someone less familiar with the language writes, it sounds unnatural.
“When the bruise is on the hand, then apply the ointment into the skin for the relief of the itching.”
As an interesting experiment, have someone from another country proofread an article written by a native English speaking person. Notice how many times they add “the” (grammatically: definite article). Depending on context, the following is simpler:
“Apply ointment on your hand in order to relieve itching within the bruise.”
The way this is written, a person can apply any ointment to relieve itching. If a prior sentence describes a specific ointment, then “the ointment” is appropriate here.
As an editor, you must not only identify typographical errors, but suggest natural ways of expressing thoughts. I am not faulting all international freelance writers. Some contribute articles to this website. Use, but don’t always trust, grammar checkers. Weigh the amount of time editing with the time you might spend writing yourself. It you outsource, strive to maintain the style and standard of writing your readers expect.
Main photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels.