Jessica Aitken: Academic proofreading
Qualifications: B.Sc. (Hons) in Astronomy and Physics from UCL; M.A. (Hons) in Women’s Studies from York University (in which I focused predominantly on global and development issues); Principles of Written English at BerkeleyX, an online learning initiative of the University of California, Berkeley.
I think my greatest strength as a proofreader – apart from a keen eye and the ability to read with critical awareness – is my natural interest in understanding what other people have to say. This involves not only their main argument but the style, context and emphasis of each writer’s individual approach. I particularly enjoy the process of understanding the subtleties of what an author intends and the challenge of transforming awkwardly phrased English into clear unambiguous prose.
Both my primary interest and most recent background knowledge lie in issues relating to conflict transformation, development and human rights and I offer special rates for work connected with these.
Moreover, as a graduate with a background both in science and social sciences, I have developed an appreciation of the stringency of pure science writing alongside an understanding of the broader interdisciplinary language of social science. Therefore, I am familiar with the terminology used in both fields. I have also read widely in a variety of fields, including human rights, development, global politics, literature, art and psychology.
I started proofreading in 1991 when I supported several international students while undertaking the Women’s Studies MA course at York University. Since then, I have trained in proofreading on the Grammarplus Proofreading course and in the conventions of academic English on Berkeley University’s Principles of Written English. Overall, I have extensive experience in helping international students express their ideas in English.
I also act as external advisor to Hayaan, a Somalia-based, east African firm specializing in research on governance and public policy – and RDI, a Somalia-based organisation for humanitarian relief and development.
Anna Hywel-Davies: Academic proofreading and French translation
Qualifications: B.Sc. (Hons) in Psychology from Bristol University; M.Sc. (Hons) in Marine Environmental Protection at University of Wales, Bangor.
I began proofreading as a student during my first degree course, a B.Sc. (Hons) in Psychology from Bristol University (1992). I continued to assist native and non-native English speaking students with their coursework and final theses whilst studying for my M.Sc. (Hons) in Marine Environmental Protection at University of Wales, Bangor (1994).
Since graduating, I have predominantly worked as part of multicultural/multilingual teams in various organisations overseas and in the UK. In all the diverse positions I have held, I have had a great deal of experience in personally preparing documents that respect the conventions both of pure science and of interdisciplinary writing so as to be acceptable to diverse audiences worldwide; and in proofreading/copy-editing the work of my colleagues whether native English speakers or not.
My places of work include: the Public Awareness Department of the Ministry of Environment, Sultanate of Oman as researcher/writer of environmental awareness publications; the Oman Natural History Museum as assistant curator; the Oman Whale and Dolphin Research Group as a marine scientist; the Arabian Seas Expedition as scientific advisor; and Hunting Aquatic Resources Environmental Consultancy as environmental consultant.
One of my strengths as a proofreader comes directly from my extensive experience of working abroad which has given me the ability to easily understand those whose native language is not English and a keen interest to communicate with those around me. At present I live in France and so I am living my life ‘in French’, which has curiously brought me even closer to my mother tongue! From teaching English and doing French-English translation work, I feel I am now even more aware of the complexities of the English language and its occasionally peculiar usage as I make daily comparisons between the two languages.
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