communication for the real world

Learning editorial TLC: editing Dutch-authored English

A Bernini angel standing on drifting clouds

On Friday 14 January 2011, a group of SENSE editors got together in one of the Park Plaza Hotel meeting rooms in Utrecht, something we rarely get to do because of our work schedules and because, as John Edmund Hynd said, “You would have to go a long way to find another workshop anything like this.” We were editing Dutch-authored English with Dr Joy Burrough-Boenisch.

The members of the group that day were equally capable and enthusiastic, some working freelance from home offices, others working permanent jobs in corporate and academic settings. Each attendee brought their particular set of skills to the group exercises, their history of working with English that’s gone Dutch, and their knowledge of editing tools and practice.  I find group exercises exhilarating so I felt in my element in the atmosphere of co-operative learning. All the participants were open-minded, eager to learn, and willing to share ideas.

Dr Burrough-Boenisch made us all feel comfortable. She never failed to include each one of us as she progressed through her material. With patience and skill, she delivered her lecture in a style designed to promote our editing strengths to the next level. She described editing principles particular to Dutch-authored English and included real-world examples that fostered useful discussion. Incidentally, you can find most of the principles discussed in the workshop in Dr Burrough-Boenisch’s book Righting English That’s Gone Dutch.

Dr Burrough-Boenisch‘s TLC method uses knowledge of Transfer from Dutch, English-language Learner errors, and Conventions and Culture from Dutch writers of English to understand the problems of Dutch-authored English. Now I can explain to my Dutch authors of English that they are committing very understandable but incorrect transfers from Dutch to English, or learner errors, or that they are using Dutch conventions or making cultural references that do not work in English. Sally Hill added, “It is satisfying to realise that I apply this method when editing and that my professional practice has a name: TLC.”

After lunch, during which we shared stories from the wordface over a delicious buffet provided by the hotel, we learned about the many different methods used for onscreen editing and how each one might suit a particular working style. Kamlesh Madan said, “The onscreen editing styles and comment styles that other editors use were fascinating.” I confess that since that day, I have tweaked my own onscreen editing practice to use some of the methods that Dr Burrough-Boenisch demonstrated.

Later in the afternoon, we swapped places in the room to work with different people. “The opportunity to network with fellow professionals is invaluable. I would rather refer a client to someone I have met than have to say, ‘Sorry, I can’t help.’ —And now I have a list of people whom I have met, know what they do, and can use in the future,” said Deborah Valentine. I think Susan Bos spoke for all of us when she said, “The Editing Dutch-authored English workshop was focused, informative, thought-provoking, and inspirational.”

Thanks to Dr Burrough-Boenisch for her professional generosity and her valuable knowledge. She is a gifted teacher of this highly specialized subject matter. Special thanks to Lee Ann Weeks for her stellar organizational skills. Everything was perfectly executed. I know it can’t have been done without substantial effort and, yet, she made it look so easy.


1 Andrea { 02.01.11 at 10:42 AM }

Hi Jane,

It sounds like you had a great learning experience.

2 Alice Jane Emanuel { 02.01.11 at 11:31 AM }

It was great! — And so useful as a frequent editor of Dutch-authored English. SENSE provides very good events.

3 Joe { 03.09.11 at 9:33 AM }

I think you tweeted about this at the time, but I do wish I’d been in on it. Perhaps next time.

Also nice to see you updating this blog again – fascinating stuff.

Leave a Comment