Here’s another million-dollar question. In my last post, I made every effort to make a distinction among the terms revision, editing, and copy editing. In so doing, my hope was to make English-speaking professionals’ lives easier when asked what type of work they do. Now we have another conundrum: what do we call ourselves when carrying out our respective tasks? Perhaps a look at a few terminological records from reputable sources will give us some peace of mind.
Let’s begin with the OQLF’s terminological dictionary, the GDT.
Here’s a second record, this time with different English equivalents.
And here’s a third terminological record. Again, note the change in the English job title.
Now let us see what the federal government’s Termium database gives us as a result.
Last, but not least, let’s take a tour around the globe to see what our European neighbours have to say on this “term” issue. The terms and various equivalents come from the InterActive Terminology for Europe (IATE) database. My query yielded 24 results. For the interest of length, I will show only a select few.
As you can see, many English equivalents exist. Throughout this post, you will have noticed many arrows and ovals pointing to and circling different professional fields, job titles, and the like. That’s because English terms vary depending on the context in which either réviseur or revisor is used. In North America, the contexts generally lie in editing, proofreading, journalism, and printing. The European context is much larger, for either foreign-language term may be used in a variety of fields: administrative law, accounting, communication, finances, to name but a few. Conclusion: whatever we call ourselves, we need to consider the context(s) in which we carry out our work.
By way of a post-scriptum for the curious: OQLF stands for the Office québécois de la langue française. GDT is the Grand dictionnaire terminologique.