An American Editor

August 12, 2011

Worth Noting: A Report on Overseas Outsourcing of Editorial Services

In February 2011, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) published a report on overseas outsourcing of editorial work. The report is well worth reading and keeping handy. Unfortunately, the response to the Society’s questionnaire was small. From the report:

In 2010, the SfEP asked members to report their experiences of this type of editorial outsourcing. More than 40 replied, giving us perspectives from freelance project managers, proofreaders and in-house desk editors, as well as freelance copy-editors who have seen their supply of work dry up and their income dwindle. The relevant parts of their replies are quoted and commented on in this report.

The complete report can be found here: What Price Quality? Overseas Outsourcing of Editorial Services.



  1. We have a proposal ready to go that might interest you (not as a client but as a fellow pro editor of long standing and with shared interests). If you’d like to drop me an email, I’ll explain. You could maybe make use of the idea yourself and your opinion would be greatly appreciated before we go live. Happy weekend and best wishes Neil — (use the @ sign, of course)


    Comment by Neil Marr — August 12, 2011 @ 4:30 am | Reply

  2. I read the report, and it struck me that the core of the topic came in the final two paragraphs:

    “Editors are traditionally accustomed to being in the background. Although the focus in large publishing houses has moved from editorial to marketing in recent decades, we’ve continued to assume that everyone understands the value of the work we do and is prepared to pay us (although usually not very well) to do it.

    “That’s no longer the case. If publishers, ever aware of the bottom line, now think that substandard but cheap editing is ‘good enough’, that’s what they’ll use. It’s up to us – i.e. SfEP and anyone else who is interested in editorial quality – to demonstrate what good editing is and the value it can add to their publications.”


    Comment by Carolyn — August 12, 2011 @ 5:12 am | Reply

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