06 Jan 2023

CIEP Member: Hilary Cadman

Why did you choose an editorial career, and how did you get into it?

I got into editing through a happy accident. After 20 years working in science (in France, Scotland and Zimbabwe), I took a master’s in science communication. A work placement for the master’s course took me from the UK to Canberra, Australia. There, I met Janet, a science editor, who offered me a job with her company, Biotext. I was a bit fuzzy about what the job involved, but since Janet and I had similar backgrounds (being English and having a PhD in science), I thought that if she could do it, I could probably do it too! Happily, that turned out to be correct and I feel very lucky to have fallen into a job that I love. In 2009, I went freelance, and I really enjoy being my own boss.

What training have you done to get your editorial career up and running?

I took a grammar course when I started working at Biotext, but otherwise I learned on the job, with wonderful mentoring from Janet and her team of freelance copyeditors. As Biotext expanded, I was surrounded by people who were great at using Word and eventually I got my own skills up to scratch. In 2016, I started Cadman Training, offering online, self-paced courses aimed at fellow editors, to help them use Word and other tools such as PerfectIt and PhraseExpress.

What work are you most proud of?

For 10 years my team and I have edited the World malaria report. It’s a major undertaking because there’s a tight timeframe, first for editing the text, then for proofing the designed document.

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What do you do if you're struggling on a job?

Generally, if I’m struggling, the best thing I can do is to take a break – it’s amazing what a cup of tea and a biscuit can do! I work on technical reports, so if I’m finding the work heavy going, I’ll sometimes move ahead and edit the final chapter, then go back to working through the document sequentially. It’s a nice surprise when I get to the end and find I’ve already edited that chapter!

What does being a member of the CIEP mean to you?

I really enjoy being a member of such an active organisation. I’ve attended a couple of the conferences in person (being based in Australia, I’m rarely in the UK at the right time). I learned a lot and had fun meeting some of the many editors I know from social media. Also, when I’m visiting family in NE London, I often catch up with the Essex CIEP group, who are very welcoming.

Which editorial tasks do you enjoy the most and why?

I love substantive editing. I often think it’s like doing a crossword puzzle, that maybe you’re unsure about how to revise a document, then you take a break and when you come back to it you can suddenly see the answer. I also love doing references in EndNote, creating order from chaos.

Get as much training as you can. There’s a lot more available now than when I first started. Also, get involved on social media – the editing community is so generous and supportive.

Hilary Cadman

Advanced Professional Member


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