Shevchuk Editing: scientific editing and consulting

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EDITING OR TRANSLATION?


This is a relevant question when you are planning the writing of your manuscript. You definitely should not attempt to write your manuscript in English or translate the manuscript from your native language into English in the following cases:



Unfortunately, this kind of English text is unsuitable for editing, that is, the meaning of many sentences is lost or inaccurate and cannot be recovered by editing (more details in this article). Your time and effort will be wasted. Authors at these levels of English need to either i) assign the translation (or writing in English) to a coauthor who knows English well or ii) hire an interpreter who understands your field of research (e.g., Drosophila polytene chromosomes) or at least your general specialty (e.g., chemistry). For example, you can hire Shevchuk Editing for Russian-to-English translation.

Your English text is suitable for editing in the following situations:



In these cases, small and few distortions of meaning and a small number of unclear sentences can be corrected by editing or clarified through questions/comments of the editor. The editing and translation services offered by Shevchuk Editing are described below.


CONSULTING SERVICES


Scientific comments (advice). These are provided for free with language editing and are the editor’s comments on organization, logic, and validity of results and conclusions of an academic text. Because the editor has a lot of experience in biomedical research, this service is most suitable for texts related to life sciences or medicine. For a research article or grant proposal, this consulting service will reduce problems with reviewers and improve the chances of success. The advice does not imply that the editor is “smarter” than the client. Rather, this service gives the author/client a fresh perspective on his or her ideas and helps to identify blind spots in thinking and writing. The blind spots are inevitable because researchers often work in a narrow field for extended periods and start to assume that what is obvious to them must be obvious to other people.

Advanced editing of a response letter. Authors often make the following mistakes: incorrectly understand a reviewer's question, refuse to fulfill easy requests, fail to address all comments of a reviewer, do not provide page and line numbers when describing revisions, insert long quotations from the manuscript (instead of simply citing page and line numbers), or start to talk back. It is necessary to respond politely and to apologize profusely, especially when authors refuse to grant a reviewer's wish. In addition to language editing of the responses to peer reviewers, advanced editing of the response letter helps an author of a research article to address the questions and suggestions of peer reviewers. This consulting service also helps the author to avoid pitfalls and misunderstandings when dealing with peer reviewers. This service is most suitable for texts related to life sciences or medicine because the editor’s background is in biomedical sciences. The editor reads the reviewers’ comments and verifies the validity of the authors' responses as well as helps with difficult comments or suggestions. This service requires a significant effort on the editor’s part (good understanding of the manuscript as well as some research and problem-solving). For authors, many months and perhaps years of work are at stake during peer-review; therefore, the correctness of responses is important.



EDITING SERVICES


Copyediting. Sometimes called proofreading, this service is light editing intended to find typos in galley proofs. Copyediting is appropriate for good-quality texts, such as those written by people with advanced proficiency in a language, and these texts must have gone through at least one round of editing (a second or third draft). Copyediting includes correcting punctuation, misspelled words, inconsistent terminology, grammar (small and rare changes), and word choice (seldom). Structure of the majority of sentences does not change after copyediting.

Language editing. This type of editing is appropriate for a raw text (the first draft). Depending on English proficiency of the author of a text, language editing involves moderate-to-big changes in grammar, sentence structure, word choice, and the order of sentences within a paragraph. Clients whose mother tongue is English benefit too because language editing makes a text clearer and easier to read. Although copyediting serves to correct small errors and inaccuracies, language editing is designed for improving the language (grammar, clarity, and flow) and style (tone, brevity, word choice, and paragraph structure). This type of editing modifies structure of many sentences. Language editing consists of two rounds of editing.



TRANSLATION SERVICES


Manual translation from Russian to English or vice versa: The text is translated and then edited once before delivery to the client. On available days, the speed of translation is ~5000 words per day. All document formatting is preserved.

Translation from Russian to English with the help of Google Translate: When the schedule is open, the speed of this kind of translation at Shevchuk Editing is ~6000 words per day. Quality is the same as that of manual translation, but there is no privacy because Google will get access to the text, and accordingly the price is lower. All document formatting is preserved, for example, tables are still translated manually or by copying and pasting each cell individually if the cells contain a lot of text; the formatting of literary references (by bibliography software) is preserved too. All Microsoft Word styles of headings and sections of the text stay intact as well (for instance, if you are using a Word template from some journal). At Shevchuk Editing, after manual translation, the text is edited once, whereas after Google translation, the text is edited twice: first, very slowly by comparing individual sentences to correct the meaning, and the second time, to correct typos. Manual translation and translation with the help of Google have roughly the same speed for Shevchuk Editing. For authors who have not mastered the English keyboard (cannot type with all fingers without looking at the keyboard), Google translation with corrections will be much faster than manual translation, if you decide to do it yourself; see the next paragraph. With Google Translate, there is less manual work and more "comparison work," i.e., the input and output texts have to be compared slowly, sentence by sentence. Google Translate started to generate fairly good translations in the year 2020, but meaning is distorted approximately in every third sentence, and terminology is not always correct: thorough editing is required. Machine translation became fairly good in 2020 owing to huge advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies.

It is important to eliminate all abbreviations (gene and protein symbols are not abbreviations) and to copy and paste the maximal allowed amount of text into Google Translate (portions of less than 5000 characters), so that Google Translate has sufficient context for each sentence. It is not a good idea to translate the whole document at once—that is, to upload your document to Google Translate—because translation quality will be much worse. As already mentioned, two editing passes are needed: the first one to correct the meaning and the second one to correct typos. Google Translate cannot handle long sentences with complicated logic. It goes without saying that machine translation should go through both editing passes before you submit the text for editing at Shevchuk Editing or at some other company. It is best to correct errors too (the second editing pass) because otherwise some sentences will be unclear or the meaning will be inaccurate. For a fully corrected machine translation, the regular price of editing is applicable.

In some situations, correct meaning does not matter to authors because a Russian journal forces them to provide an English translation of a manuscript that is published in Russian. This is understandable, and Shevchuk Editing can make corrections of grammar and word choice in this kind of low-quality text, but please keep in mind that at the regular price, the editing of a machine translation will not correct meaning and will not improve unclear sentences (the "garbage in garbage out" principle). At Shevchuk Editing, verification of an uncorrected or slightly corrected machine translation (when you provide both the Russian and English text) will cost more unfortunately than translation with the help of Google because the verification will take up more time. The reason is that machine translation is typically performed incorrectly by authors.

If authors decide to use Google Translate with corrections themselves, then the person doing the translation should have good English proficiency, namely, it is preferable that he or she has produced intelligible translations of scientific articles before. If English proficiency is low or the person has never successfully translated a research article into readable English, then Google Translate will not help. You will produce an unintelligible text unsuitable for editing by a third party, and the translation will have to be redone from scratch. It is best to assign English translation to the coauthor who has the best command of English. Please be advised that Google translation requires a lot of corrections before it will look like a real translation; divide your typical duration of manual translation by 2 or 3: this is how much time is needed to rework the Google translation of your research article if you do it yourself.


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