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Old 02-24-2012, 01:16 PM
Rhythmdvl is offline
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Shakedown Street
Posts: 12,955

Freelance grammar Nazi needed for proofreading

Do you salivate at the chance to answer grammar questions? Are you usually right? Are you more than an armchair grammar dictator? Do you have the time and inclination to take on occasional work?

Our primary clients use a somewhat idiosyncratic combination of their own style guide, Chicago and the Concise Oxford (i.e. British English spelling). The documents are relatively clean, having been through at least one editing round. Most of the issues will be in tracked-change artefacts, reference formatting, and normal punctuation/grammar issues (if you look through my posts you’ll undoubtably find a slew of errors, which should give you an idea of the state of most documents).

Workflow uses either MS Word’s tracked changes or Adobe Acrobat’s comment and markup tools (given the number of hands these go through, I’m not quite comfortable using alternate programmes). I’d ask that for these documents you’d change programme settings so the change/comment author matches our corporate identity. Standard blather about confidentiality, turnaround, etc. apply, but those details can be worked out later.

Any interest?

PS Anyone posting errors in the above will not only not be considered, but also will be responsible for talking me out of the dramatic shame-spiral you'll induce.
Old 02-24-2012, 02:20 PM
Kenm is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 3,314
Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post
. . . I’m not quite comfortable using alternate programmes).
PS Anyone posting errors in the above will not only not be considered, . . .
Assuming you use Windows, there might be cross-platform difficulties with my Mac, I'm thousands of miles away (but use the U.K. version of Firefox) and I don't have Word or Acrobat, so I'm out of brickbat range.

You've piqued my interest, but I don't know whether iWork's Pages would work with Word to the extent required.
Old 02-26-2012, 03:49 PM
Malacandra is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: England, Britain, UK
Posts: 18,480
I might. Btw, in British English I have always used "program" as both verb and noun in the computer sense, "programme" otherwise (so a "computer programme" would be a broadcast about IT, a "computer program" is something that executes on a CPU). As a grammar Nazi I'm generally rated Standartenführer by my peers so a chance to be pedantic for profit instead of merely to be annoying would be worth considering.
Old 02-27-2012, 06:25 PM
foolsguinea is online now
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Tornado Alley
Posts: 15,846
There is, I take it, an in-house guide to which one may refer?
Old 02-28-2012, 09:26 AM
Ca3799 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Tejas
Posts: 4,339
Is this a paid gig?
Old 03-19-2012, 11:03 AM
Attack from the 3rd dimension is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Soviet Canuckistan
Posts: 5,803
What is the subject matter?

Or is this all sorted now?
Old 03-21-2012, 09:02 AM
Eve is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 22,064
Originally Posted by Ca3799 View Post
Is this a paid gig?
Ditto--I would love to have at some copy, for great whacking gobs of cash. Count me in.
Old 03-21-2012, 03:08 PM
Rhythmdvl is offline
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Shakedown Street
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Sticking with Word and Acrobat is kind of essential. These documents go through many rounds of peer review, often with cantankerous and technology-averse professionals working in the developing world. Imagine working with your Great Aunt Edna. She’s completely clueless, but fortunately your cousin Steve spent last summer with her and got her up and running with Word and Acrobat. You’ve tried talking to her about things like Picasa and Google Docs, but she just doesn’t respond well to change.

Also, I’m a bit leery of porting between programs (see, I can learn!). I wouldn’t want to chance losing a comment, change or formatting element, even if the risk is relatively minimal. Word’s change tracking has a hard enough time dealing with deleted and moved footnotes. That said, any version of Word later than 2K would be fine and platform (PC/Mac) shouldn’t make a difference.

Come to think of it, I think an Acrobat substitute would be okay. If you have a program that opens a PDF without disturbing any graphics, can make visible in-text changes (e.g. cross-outs, insertions), anchors comment balloons (e.g. “adjust orphaned text,” “align with margin”), produces a check-offable (affable Chekhov?) list of all changes and comments and saves it so it opens seamlessly in Acrobat on a Mac, that’s fine.

Typical source materials are from agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme or UNICEF. Lengths typically vary from 10-page policy briefs to fifty- or sixty-page assessments. There are usually a handful of tables and figures, but documents rarely contain any significant data analysis.

There are a few (occasionally conflicting) style manuals to follow. UNDP (PDF) is the primary guide, along with a crapulent-but-improving UN editorial manual. UNTerm is the source for agency spelling, capitalization and acronyms. Chicago is the backup when in doubt (and the preferred style for formatting references).

We’re looking for someone with a modicum of professional experience, so I assume hopping across style manuals isn’t a big deal. Experience needn’t be extensive, but there is a bit more to proofing than keeping an eye on grammar and references (e.g. style consistency, heading numbering, table/reference correspondence, design elements).

Turnaround varies withy the project. Two to three days is typical, though we often find ourselves in situations where the client prints in the morning and then carries a box of books on the airplane as she heads to a meeting. Ideally it’ll be a situation where I write with a page/word count and ask if you can make it by a particular day. If so, great. If not, the sporadic nature of things means I can’t think of asking for a commitment to take things on. Given that, I’m thinking of eventually working with a couple people so there’ll be some backup if one can’t take on a project. That’s a bit up in the air though—there are also benefits of working familiarity and not spreading the work too thin.

And sporadic it is. We sometimes work back-to-back for months on end; sometimes we work part-time for months. It’s changing though (hence this post). We’re in a growth period where we occasionally find ourselves with more work than we have time for even with working through the night.

It’s a paid gig, freelance/1099-wise. Considering the primary client base, it’s not a fantastically paying gig. Our heart-based cockles are warmed by the nature of the work (saving the world one comma at a time). And, well, it does pay.

I think that pretty much answers all the questions I’ve received here and in PM. Again, I’m sorry about the delay in moving this along.
Old 03-21-2012, 06:45 PM
Ca3799 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Tejas
Posts: 4,339
I'm interested!


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