Welcome. This edition of the newsletter introduces the first of a series on how to accurately estimate your fee on a project. Whether you are developing a response to a tender or preparing an estimate for a client, you want your estimate to be accurate so that the work will be profitable. The series will cover the following topics:
We hope you enjoy the series. Please email comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our featured member this month is Isabelle Ladouceur-Séguin. Isabelle is a plain language writer based in Quebec. She is a linguist by training and has experience writing for the health care sector. Isabelle is an emerging leader at the forefront of the plain language movement. Isabelle will be our featured speaker in May, as she helps practitioners marry the rigid rules of written French with the plain language writing principles.
Don’t miss our Patron’s Corner to read about upcoming training and other projects by our patron, Cheryl Stephens.
Jocelyn Pletz and Chantale Audet
Rédaction claire en français : comment composer avec le conservatisme linguistique?
May 16, 2022, 12:00 PM ET (Zoom)
Presenter: Isabelle Ladouceur-Séguin
Let's face it: the French written standard is still largely stuck in the past. More precisely, in the 18th century! So where does this attachment to old French come from? Are French speakers the world champions of linguistic conservatism? And what impact might this have on the accessibility of written content?
Isabelle Ladouceur-Séguin, a linguist by training and a scientific popularizer, will present the history of standard French and debunk the myths associated with it. She will then suggest ways to adapt our written language to the readers of the 21st century.
To register, visit our Eventbrite page.
Before and After: A Plain Language Makeover for Your Tables, Charts, and Graph
Monday, June 13 (TBD) Zoom
Presenter: Michelle Boulton
Well-dressed tables, charts, and graphs can be wonderful storytellers. Watch as ugly, ineffective illustrations are transformed into stylish raconteurs that draw attention to key points and convey information much more effectively than narrative text. Michelle will show you some easy techniques that will help you make over your tables, charts, and graphs so that you can send them out looking like real showstoppers.
Michelle Boulton is a clear communication strategist and coordinator of Plain Canada Clair.
Featured Article - How to develop an estimate
Adapted with permission from a training program developed by Michelle Boulton, 3c publications
by Jocelyn Pletz
You’ve been invited to provide a quote for a plain language rewrite. If you’re like most of us, you are excited by the project, but the excitement quickly shifts to apprehension. How do you make your estimate accurate so that the work will be profitable?
It is hard to predict how fast a plain language editor and writer can work. Plain language editing includes substantive, structural and stylistic editing, copyediting, and proofreading. Plus, plain language editing involves audience testing and revision stages, which may not be part of a traditional edit.
Editors Canada’s Professional Editorial Standards define what is expected of Canadian editors and the criteria against which their knowledge, skills, and practices can be measured. For example, they suggest typical times based on the type of editing and the type of document – standard, difficult, or specialized.
When asked to submit a quote, I will ask for a sample of the work to be edited to determine how much work is required to complete the plain language process. Considerations include:
If I feel the material is difficult or specialized, I estimate at least 1 to 2 hours per page (standard editing definition is 250 words); if the edit looks like a standard edit, I estimate at least 1 to 2 hours for 4 to 5 pages.
At this stage of the process, I clarify what is expected of me. As a plain language editor and writer, being clear on the scope of the project is critical and it will help prevent “scope creep” as the project progresses.
Next, I build in time for the following administrative tasks:
Pulling it all together
Using these considerations, estimate the time you will need. Experienced editors have suggested that once you have your estimate, multiply that time by 1.5 or even 2. Their advice works! Over time you will become more confident in your estimates – don’t sell yourself short. Your client will respect your expertise.
Featured Member: Isabelle Ladouceur-Séguin
By Jocelyn Pletz
This month we feature member Isabelle Ladouceur-Séguin. Isabelle is a plain language writer based in Quebec. She is a linguist by training and has experience writing for the health care sector.
Isabelle is an emerging leader at the forefront of the plain language movement. After completing her master’s degree in 2018, she faced the decision to go into academia and complete a PhD or move into the work world.
She started working with a tech company that develops software in the health sector. Working in the pharmacy industry, she realized how important plain language writing was to the patients and pharmacy staff.
Isabelle then worked with a team of plain language writers in a university hospital in Montreal. Here Isabelle honed her skills under a plain language mentor. She wrote material for patients and educational material for staff. Isabelle’s exposure to an organization that was committed to effective communication had an impact – she was hooked.
In August 2021, she made the shift to freelance work as a plain language writer. She is committed to building plain language writing in Quebec in both private sector and public sector organizations.
I look forward to watching Isabelle’s career grow – for someone so young to be so focused and clear on her goals. She will be a rising star for many years.
Cheryl will soon launch Plain Language 3.0. A few of the topics in this program include new developments in
Our next edition will include an article by Cheryl titled, “Your Brain on Reading.”
Cheryl encourages you to join her for her new Fireside Chats on the first of every month (at noon Pacific). Go to Eventbrite to learn more about how to participate. These sessions are open to everyone in the Plain Canada Clair community. Don’t be shy! Cheryl is welcoming and can help you build your confidence as a practitioner, advocate, and entrepreneur.