Tuesday, March 20, 2018

"Why do I need an editor? I already have a translator!” Should translated texts need to be edited?

In our first EASE member guest post on our blog, Avi Staiman considers a question he is often posed  as a language editor.

If you would like to write a post about an issue of your work that you think would make an interesting read for our members, please get in touch.

Here is Avi, with our debut guest post.

“You can translate and edit my text, right?”

Those of us who work as academic translators periodically receive questions like this from our clients (or, more often, imply that it is their expectation without actually saying it). Is there a concrete answer to this question? The short answer: it depends.

On the one hand, a qualified and experienced translator should be adept at crafting good text. A translator, after all, is a writer. She creates a new text in her native tongue, on the basis of a source text in a different language (in my opinion, academic translators should always translate into their native language). This new text should, of course, reflect the content of the original text accurately. But in its sentence structure, flow, syntax, and sometimes style, it is a wholly new creation.

Like any other good writer, a good translator should review and proofread her own work thoroughly and meticulously after ‘sleeping on it’. But scientific editing is a process that goes beyond proofing one’s own work. A second pair of eyes can notice many things undetected by the writer – typing errors, stylistic inconsistencies, redundancies or structural shortfalls.

Some translations do require editing in order to ensure accuracy and precision. Moreover, even the best translators, as they ‘think’ in two languages, inevitably leave occasional traces of the source language in their writing. Even an excellent translation can be further refined and polished. Indeed, famous authors, award-winning translators, and other literary giants have editors who play a crucial role in producing and polishing their work. Just as we would not expect an author to also edit his or her own book, so too, it seems reasonable that we should not expect a translator to be their own editor either.

So how do you know if you need an editor for your text? It all depends on your specific goals and context.

When do you need an editor?
When advising colleagues about whether to have a translation edited, I often suggest the following rule of thumb: If your manuscript is the type of text that you would have edited in its original, then you should probably have the translation edited as well. This is usually true even if the source text has already undergone editing itself, since the translation is a new creation.

Most academic books, journal articles, and literary works are edited at some point – even when they are written by eloquent, talented authors writing in their own language. A well-written article or book rendered into a new language by a top translator is just like any other piece of good writing – it is the most important step toward your goal, but it still needs to go through one more stage in order to cross the finish line.

When might you not need an editor?
The same rule of thumb applies in the other direction: If you would not use an editor for the type of text if it were written in your native language, a good translation of the same piece may also not require editing (even if it could still benefit from it).

When might this be the case? While there is no concrete rule, you might be able to get away without having a well-written text edited if it is not intended for publication. For example, texts intended for private communication; translated abstracts; lecture notes; and other materials intended primarily for transmitting information.

Similarly, if you are submitting your work to a publisher or journal with their own in-house editors, you might not need to find an editor yourself.

Finally, you may not want an editor in cases where it is critical that the translation be as literal a reflection of the original as possible - such as a questionnaire.

Of course, in these cases, too, the text should still be as polished as possible. You must be sure that your translator is a dependably excellent writer in the target language (and, if not – find a different translator!).

The bottom line
While it is reasonable to expect a translator to review, edit and proofread their own work, don’t expect a translator to be able to play the full roles of both translator and editor. In some cases, it may not be critical to have an editor and professional translation may suffice. However, any text intended for publication should be translated and edited before it is submitted for publication. Also, don’t be short-sighted. You may only be working on a draft for a limited audience now (such as a doctoral thesis), but if you plan to use the text in a published paper later, it may still be worth investing in editing.

Avi Staiman
Avi has worked as a translator and editor in various fields of humanities and social sciences, and is the founder of Academic Language Experts.

-  Tuesday 20th March, 2018  -

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

B - Payments from industry

Liu JJ, Bell CM, Matelski JJ, et al. Payments by US pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to US medical journal editors: retrospective observational study. BMJ 2017;359:j4619
(doi: 10.1136/bmj.j4619)

The authors found that US industry payments to journal editors are common and often large, particularly for certain subspecialties. Furthermore, many journals lack clear and transparent editorial conflicts of interest (COI) policies and disclosures. Journal editors should reconsider their COI policies and the impact that editor relations with industry may have on public trust in the research enterprise.

B - The choice of titles

Hartley, J. What works for you? The choice of titles for academic articles in higher education. SRHE News Blog May 2017

The range of possible forms of titles available for authors of academic articles in higher education is considerable, but few styles are actually used. This analysis of over 250 titles from the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) abstracts shows that authors in higher education employ colons most, short sentences next and questions least of all.

B - Authorship and citation manipulation

Fong EA, Wilhite AW. Authorship and citation manipulation in academic research. PLoS One 2017;12(12):e0187394
(doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187394)

This study builds a framework around how intense competition for journal space and research funding can encourage authorship and citation manipulation. It then uses that framework to develop hypotheses about who manipulates and why they do so.

B - Editors' core competencies

Moher D, Galipeau J, Alam S, et al. Core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals: consensus statement. BMC Medicine 2017;15:167
(doi: 10.1186/s12916-017-0927-0)

This article describes the minimum14 key core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals. They are divided into three major areas, and each competency has a list of associated elements or descriptions of more specific knowledge, skills, and characteristics that contribute to its fulfillment. These core competencies should be a baseline of the knowledge, skills, and characteristics needed to perform competently the duties of a scientific editor at a biomedical journal.

B - Women's visibility in academic seminars

Carter A, Croft A, Lukas D, et al. Women's visibility in academic seminars: women ask fewer questions than men. arXiv:1711.10985

The authors aimed to determine whether women and men differ in their visibility at academic seminars and which factors might underlie any biases. They examined the women's visibility through the question-asking behaviour at local departmental academic seminars (i.e., talks, presentations, colloquia, etc.). Women audience members asked absolutely and proportionally fewer questions than male. Furthermore, when a man was the first to ask a question, women asked fewer questions. Recommendations for increasing women's visibility are proposed.

B - Resistance to replication

Gertler P, Galiani S, Romero M. How to make replication the norm. Nature 2018;554:417-419

Efforts to replicate research studies are distorted by inherent conflicts between the authors of the original work and those trying to reproduce the results. The authors surveyed 11 top-tier economics journals to find out how to fix it. A first step to getting more replications is making them easier by requiring authors to publicly post the data and code used to produce the results in their studies.

Friday, March 02, 2018

IMPER Peer Review Practices Survey

A peer review research programme (IMPER), financed by The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) aims investigate the effectiveness of peer review as one of science’s self-regulatory mechanisms, particularly its’ ability to recognise erroneous or fraudulent research.

In order to do so, the project team, led by Dr. Willem Halffman and Serge Horbach at Radboud University Nijmegen, are calling for journal editors and administrators to provide information on the models and processes they use to conduct their peer review.

On behalf of the project team, we post the link to their survey which consists of a few simple questions about the peer review process in your journal (e.g. whether you adhere to double-blind, single-blind or open review, what criteria for quality is considered).  The survey will be live until 16th March, and is available at this link:


We hope our members in suitable editorial positions will be able to help contribute to this research.  Filling out the questionnaire will not take much more than five minutes. If you are involved with multiple journals, the team request that you complete the survey for each journal separately.

In return, the team offer to share the results of our project with you. Should you wish to receive details, you may indicate this in the final question of the survey.

- Friday 2nd March, 2018 -

EASE Conference Abstract: Peer Review: Research and Training

We have another session abstract for our conference!

Click here to read it in full

COST PEERE session on peer review: research and training
Chairs: Ana Marusic and Flaminio Squazzoni, Trans-Domain COST Action TD1306 New Frontiers of Peer Review

This session will use a trans-disciplinary approach to look into newest developments in peer review research and training, in order to explore the ways to improve efficiency, transparency and accountability of peer review.


  • Large-scale exploration of peer review across research domains
    Flaminio Squazzoni, PEERE and University of Brescia, Italy

  • Motivations for peer reviewers to perform pre-publication review of manuscripts: a systematic review
    Mersiha Mahmić-Kaknjo, PEERE and University of Zenica School of Medicine, Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Peer reviewer training as a means to boost a journal’s peer review capacity and quality
    Clarinda Cerejo, Editage Insights, India

  • Five Modes of “Sudden Death” – Experience with a Decision Option
    Markus K Heinemann et al., The Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon, Germany

  • Innovations in peer review: Introducing VolunPeers
    Bahar Mehmani, RELX Group, Netherlands

Thursday, March 01, 2018

EASE Conference accommodation information

We have added information about accommodation for our upcoming conference, recommended by our local advisors in Bucharest.

We have arranged a selection of 3 to 5-star hotels, including daily transport to and from the conference venue should you wish to take advantage of it.

Our offers are available through a dedicated EASE conference page on the Holiday Office website. For details and links, see our Location & Accommodation Conference page HERE