Introducing ‘The Sophics’ 

As a sideline to Vintage Pointe I have, since the late 1990s, been one half of a modest enterprise called The Sophics, employed for activities ranging from editing and small publication management to the compilation of literature reviews, content creation and website management. Academic editing and proofreading are particular areas of expertise, developed through connections with La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne. Presently I also provide editorial assistance to the Children Australia journal published by Cambridge University Press.

You can contact The Sophics through Vintage Pointe to discuss your editing and proofreading needs.

Proofreading 

Just the other day, a good friend popped over, proudly brandishing the proof copy for her new book all set to be printed by a boutique publishing company in Western Australia. In under a minute I’d spotted three minor errors and a one nasty typo. My, how her fingers flew as she frantically texted the publisher to stop the presses and fix the error!

Then there was the time when a booklet for social workers was about to go to press. On the proof sheet I spied an interesting misspelling of ‘arising’. Hmm, ‘arsing’ for children and families in the sensitive child protection context … ?

People distinguish proofreading from editing in various way. But for my purposes, a document is ready for proofreading if it is a finished document. That is to say, it has already been edited, has essentially attained its final form, and may even have been laid out by a designer or printed out on ‘proof’ sheets by a printer, ready for … well, ‘proofing’!

Although I don’t hold an official qualification for the role, I have been a proofreader in various capacities, including as part of my previous employment with the independent publishing firm Innovative Resources, based in Victoria.

Suffice to say, books, booklets, journal articles, professional reports, websites: I can assist by being that fresh pair of eagle eyes. Please ask.

 

Editing 

If proofreading is the (usually pleasurable) final read-through, editing is the nitty-gritty phase when sentence structure, spelling, word repetition, punctuation, and the meaning and accuracy of what has been written all come under close scrutiny. It may also involve sections of text being moved, reduced or reinserted into other passages for clarity. Most documents I receive require editing.

Editing is very individual. Every editor works to their own preferences or in accord with their employer’s house style (some would insist I wrote that sentence with “his or her own preference and style” while others embrace the use of “their” with the singular subject!). As an editor I’ve learned that the rules of grammar will only take you so far, and consistency is generally more important than whether one follows British or American spellings (and our Australian spelling conventions borrow from both). So while I follow British-Australian spellings, I also adapt to the conventions within specific academic and professional disciplines as required.

THESES: Thesis writing is a fact of life for many of us, whether completing a minor thesis for that finishing flourish to an undergraduate degree, or a major, research-based PhD as a requisite for career advancement. Theses have been coming to me for editing for over a decade, including Honours, Masters and PhD theses from candidates and academics in the disciplines of Social ScienceSocial WorkPublic Health and Education. Theses undertaken for Arts and Humanities degrees are also welcomed.

While most universities have clear rules and policies governing editorial intervention by third parties, it is generally acceptable to receive assistance with grammar and sentence structure, spelling and corrections to referencing. However, students and their supervisors retain all responsibility for final thesis structure and content, and determining which referencing style is used.

Having regularly edited PhD and Masters theses for candidates from the Social Sciences, I can offer particular expertise for documents using APA (American Psychological Association) style.

If you are considering having your thesis edited, please bear the following in mind:

  • The thesis should be supplied as a complete draft, preferably in hardcopy and as an MS Word file. I do not appreciate trying to edit a thesis if the candidate is still writing or tinkering with sections.
  • Make contact early and allow at least two weeks (often more) for editing a PhD. I fit editing work around my other research and employment activities, so don’t be afraid to make contact with me six months or more in advance. It is normal for candidates’ own timelines to keep changing – sometimes nearly two years have passed between the time when a candidate first approached me and when I finally received the draft. Making contact early and staying in contact is your best way to ensure I can fit my timelines with yours.
  • The more work your thesis requires, the more time it takes, the greater the cost. It’s very hard to be precise about cost since every thesis is different. Generally the cost of editing a PhD falls somewhere between AU$1700.00-$2800.00. Supply me with a draft (or parts thereof) and the expected word count as soon as you can for a quote.
  • Happy referencing, happy life. Whether you’re using Endnote or inserting references manually, heed that piece of advice everybody gives you: be accurate and efficient from the outset when compiling your list of references. Know what referencing style you’re using and the information required for each type of material cited (author, title, year, month, place of publication, doi, etc.). Inaccurate, missing and incomplete references are a surefire way to blow out editing time and your costs!

REPORTS AND PROFESSIONAL DOCUMENTS: I assist with general editing for a range of documents, and work comfortably with designers and layout artists to ensure the final product is produced to a high standard. Prices vary, with flat or hourly rates offered according to what is required. Recent jobs have included the preparation of a practice booklet for homelessness support workers, a meditation text for a self-publishing author, and the research report The Perspectives of Carers on Housing Needs and Mental Illness, edited and supervised to publication for the La Trobe Rural Health School, La Trobe University, Victoria (http://hdl.handle.net/1959.9/560885).

 

APA Referencing Support

Speaking of theses above, it occasionally happens that a candidate, by sheer mischance, ends up with extensive errors in the formatting and presentation of entries in their final thesis reference list. In one instance, a PhD student had been routinely importing references to Endnote during her candidature, without realising that the data needed to be supervised to ensure details like title, subtitle, type of material and publisher were transferred correctly (Endnote cannot recognise errors or unwanted spaces in citations imported from library catalogues). It was only as she was preparing for submission that she realised almost every one of her Endnote references needed individual attention. My familiarity with APA referencing formats means I’m happy for authors to contact me should they need some additional hours of support to sort out similar predicaments!