Editing Your Journal Submissions

Joseph J. Devney, M.A.

Editing of submissions to professional journals for non-native English speakers


Is this your situation?

You have completed important research and you want to share your findings with your professional colleagues in a journal article published in English. But English is not your first language.

If so, I can help you

If you are concerned that your written English may not be up to the standards expected by the journal's editors or readers, I can help. The nuances of the English language, or other language issues, should not be an obstacle to your getting published. I offer the following services:

The knowledge, the data, and the professional expertise will all be yours. I will just help make your ideas and your message available to your professional community. My expertise is in communication.

My qualifications

How this works

I can work with either an electronic or a paper copy of your article, but electronic copies are preferred.

  1. You send me a draft of your article via e-mail in Microsoft Word or RTF format, along with the name of the journal to which you plan to submit it. If you can provide the journal's guidelines for submission as well, that is best. (If you want me to work on a paper copy, ask me for details.)
  2. We trade e-mails and/or phone calls to make sure that I will provide the level of editing you need, and that I have any specific information I need related to the journal and/or your professional discipline. We also agree on a deadline.
  3. I edit the document as necessary, using Word's Track Changes feature so that you can see both your original text and my recommended changes. If I have comments about my changes or suggestions for you, I will use Word's Comments feature to document them. (If working on a paper copy, I will make my changes using standard proofreader's marks, plus notes in the margins. Any lengthy comments will be recorded on a separate sheet of paper.)
  4. I return the edited article to you as a Word or RTF file with a new filename. (If you sent me a paper draft instead, I will ship you the article, plus any additional notes, and an explanation of the proofreader's marks.)
  5. You accept or reject my changes as you see fit, and delete any comments. The article is then ready to submit to the journal.

Billing is by the hour, plus expenses. Billable time includes time for editing, telephone calls, and additional research. Expenses are normally limited to shipping costs for paper drafts.

Some tips

Please allow plenty of time for the editing process. Rush jobs cost more.

Developmental editing will involve more back-and-forth discussion between you and me, so allow more time if you need this type of editing, and also let me know if your schedule will make this difficult.

It makes my job easier, and your cost lower, if the article is formatted consistently using Word's Styles feature before I receive it.

If the article includes illustrations, please also send me the original graphic files. If you need help creating illustrations, I can subcontract someone with the necessary expertise to create them based on your input.

If your article needs to be submitted to the journal using British English conventions rather than American, let me know that before I start work.

I normally follow the publishing conventions specified in the Chicago Manual of Style. If the journal to which you are submitting prefers that you use a different style guide, please let me know and I will use that one instead.


The Word file you receive back from me will look something like this. The vertical bars in the margin indicate the lines with changes. The changes themselves are embedded in the text. At the bottom is a separate area that shows any comments, treated in a way similar to footnotes.

Use Word's Track Changes feature to accept or reject each change one at a time. Or if you are very trusting, you can accept all the changes with a single click. Once you have accepted or rejected the changes, you should highlight all the comments and delete them. Your publisher only needs to see the final, polished version of your manuscript.

Image of marked up manuscript