When I began working as a freelance proofreader 20 years ago, I had no thoughts of expanding my horizons beyond the UK. My first client was based many miles away in the south of England, so I became used to working remotely. Hard-copy proofs arrived and were returned by post, discussions took place over the phone, and payment was made by cheque. But the idea that my work might have an international dimension probably didn’t occur to me, especially in the early days, before most people had internet access.
With the arrival of the internet, email made it possible to send and receive documents very quickly between countries. Editors and proofreaders were able to offer their services to clients in far-flung locations, and it was much easier for those clients to find an editorial professional using search engines and online directories. It seemed as though the world had opened up.
Fast forward to the present. I edit journal articles for academics all over the world: my main academic client holds professorships on two different continents. I edit reports written in English for an EU agency based in Italy, via a company based in Spain. And I regularly work for clients in the Far East, the Middle East, Australasia, and all over Europe. (I also do still work for UK clients!)
As well as having clients from across the globe, I’m now in touch – through social media – with editorial colleagues based in many different countries. I’ve found this to be an enriching experience, and one that has enhanced my perspective and given me a real insight into what’s happening in other countries, editorially speaking.
I recently expanded my horizons even further: I attended my first overseas editing conference, the annual meeting of the Mediterranean Editors and Translators in Tarragona, Spain. I met editors and translators of different nationalities who are based in countries around Europe – and further afield.
It was a reminder that editing, proofreading and other English language services are in demand across the globe. Long may that continue.
UPDATE: I attended another Mediterranean Editors and Translators conference in September 2019, and wrote a blog post about the event.