02 Jan 2022

CIEP Member: Yateendra Joshi

Why did you become an editor?

My interest was in documentation and information but I had no formal qualifications; however, I was asked whether I’d be interested in joining as an editor. I declined the offer at first but was fortunate enough to undergo a 4-month-long course in editing and publishing led by Ian Montagnes, who was then the Editor-in-Chief of the University of Toronto Press. Subsequently, I took up the offer.

What's the best career advice you've received?

Alas, it came too late: I worked for TERI, New Delhi, for 15 years and received the advice during my exit interview (I had decided to relocate to Pune) from the head of admin at TERI, who said, ‘You tend to say No far too quickly; try saying Yes instead and see if you can renegotiate the terms – typically, the deadline – later.’

What work are you most proud of?

I wrote Communicating in Style in 2003: the proudest moment was when the late John le Carré endorsed it thus: ‘A gem. Courteous, unfrightening and essential. A pocket companion to Fowler’s A Dictionary of Modern English Usage.’ More recently, I was proud when the volume I had conceptualised, edited and designed to commemorate the memory of my former boss, Dr R K Pachauri, was released and his wife called it a handsome gift.

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Which courses and resources have you used to skill up?

Although I have not attended any formal courses recently, I keep myself up to date by (1) keeping up with the latest editions of all mainstream style guides, (2) almost daily visits to two resources, namely archives of Copyediting-L and the CIEP forum SfEPLine, (3) subscribing to Word Tips and (4) conducting webinars and in-person training programmes for copyeditors and authors (because that always keeps you on your toes).

What’s your favourite editing tool?

Microsoft Word (although I am content with the 2016 version), Paul Beverley’s macros and PerfectIt.

Which editorial tasks do you enjoy the most and why?

Turning obscure, prolix and vague text into clear, concise and concrete prose, because it really stretches you and often helps you reach the ‘flow’ state. I also enjoy designing documents because it allows me to pursue my interest in information design, typography, and using Word to its limits.

How do you motivate yourself if you're struggling on a job?

By recalling the accolades I have received in the past, by reminding myself that I have hardly ever defaulted on a deadline – and by saying that this too will pass.

Are there any barriers you’ve had to overcome?

Not having the language in which I edit as a first language has been a barrier at times (and I applaud CIEP’s stand on that issue).

What are your plans for future business development?

To focus more on training and writing.

How do you relax when you’re not editing?

I love audiobooks: it is sheer bliss to listen to your favourite stories brought to life by really talented narrators. I also dabble in gardening and am involved in running a small farm; after all, I have formal postgraduate qualifications in agriculture. I also enjoy reading, both fiction and non-fiction.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

My first job was as a farm supervisor and I used to milk half a dozen buffalos twice a day. I am also the only Indian yet to be recognised as a master editor by BELS, the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences – which, as a friend pointed out, is rarer than many rare genetic disorders.


I wrote Communicating in Style in 2003: the proudest moment was when the late John le Carré endorsed it thus: ‘A gem. Courteous, unfrightening and essential.

Yateendra Joshi

Professional Member



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