One of the reasons that I enjoy being a technical editor is that I get to play with words. I get to add words, delete words, and rearrange words to create clear communication. (I don’t often get to use alliteration like that, though!) Every now and again, I even get to create a new word, a new term for some feature or concept that is a part of our product. More often, I get to explain to architects, developers, and marketing professionals why we cannot create a new word or reuse an existing word in the way that they want to.
I am not one of those editors who edit all words or all text that comes across my desk. I can let grammatical errors go, not let them affect me or influence my opinion or perspective, if they appear within less formal or internal only communications. I wonder how many people do change how they communicate when they know they are communicating with an editor. I know that I make many mistakes in my own words and sentences in my own information communications. We sometimes don’t have the time needed to be completely accurate, clear, or precise in our words.
In a meeting yesterday, we had a good guffaw over the nouning of a made up verb and adding on a biz-lingo-bingo word for good measure. We were stumbling over finding the right words to say what we wanted to say, but ended up saying “impactful cleansification.” Yeah, that’s I do as a technical editor: impactful cleansification. The next time someone asks me what I do, I’m going to say that I’m an impactful cleansifier that plays with words.
Happy editing everyone!