Be you at BU: Nothing but the B.E.S.T

by Loch Baillie

In early June 2019, I had the opportunity to attend Editors Canada’s 40th annual conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. By attending panels, workshops, and keynote lectures led by seasoned editors and authors, I was able to develop a greater understanding of what it means to work in the publishing industry over the course of one brief but invaluable weekend. Prior to my trip, I registered as a student affiliate of Editors Canada—a position that, as a young editor, gives me access to extensive job listings and internship opportunities. As one of the youngest attendees at the conference, editors often asked me what kind of editing I do and what my plans are for the future. I told them that I have edited various types of texts, from academic papers to journalism to a literary journal—in other words, I have not restricted myself to one type of editing. As for my career aspirations, I told them that I think I would like to be a copy editor; however, I am not yet certain.  

In fact, that uncertainty is what ultimately drew me to the conference. I saw the event as the perfect opportunity to interact with talented and knowledgeable individuals from every corner of the editing world, not just my own. I thus arrived in Halifax with my backpack, a small rolling suitcase, and a determination to step out of my comfort zone. 

Aside from receiving an extremely useful crash course on the software Antidote 10, developing my own list of criteria for choosing freelance jobs, and learning about the benefits of plain language use, the most valuable aspects of the conference were not the pre-scheduled sessions; rather, they were the spontaneous interactions and conversations that I had with other editors. By asking more general questions (mainly, “what do you do for work?” instead of “excuse me, where are the copy editors?”), I was made to consider some areas of the editing world that previously I had not. Through these conversations, I came to realize that opportunities in editing extend far beyond what I thought they did; indeed, I now realize that someday I might want to be a translator. 

During the opening reception, I spoke with the editor-in-chief of the Toronto-based travel website Tokyo Cheapo. Before chatting with this individual, I had never considered how extensive the tourism industry truly is, and that the books, brochures, magazines, and websites that inform travelers are contingent on the writers and editors who create them. From this seemingly naïve realization, I began thinking of other digital platforms that need editors, from recipe websites, to online journalism, to companies’ social media pages. The list goes on, but the point remains that a brief conversation triggered a dozen other ideas about what shape my career might take in the future.  

My interactions with translators also made me reevaluate the path that I have set for myself. When I think “editing,” I think “copy editing” or “substantive editing,” rather than “translating”; however, by talking to translators with years of experience, I quickly learned that translating is editing, too. In a bilingual country such as Canada, translation is important and does not exist solely in the publishing world. If I were to become a translator, my services would be of use to marketing teams, law firms, banks, hospitals, and a multitude of other employers—it is a very versatile job. While the idea of getting into translation work is still new to me, I have already taken the first step towards further exploring this interest. Since attending the Editors Canada conference, I have taken three English-to-French translation courses offered by BU’s French Department. 

For me, the B.E.S.T. Project Fund exemplifies Bishop’s commitment to its liberal arts approach to academia and the relationship the university fosters with its students. I am continuously impressed by alumni’s generosity, and, as a current student, can see where that desire to give back originates. I would encourage all students who have projects they are passionate about to consider applying for this special fund. I am incredibly grateful to the donor that made my B.E.S.T. project a reality; it was truly a formative opportunity and a valuable accompaniment to my undergraduate career. At Bishop’s, I know that I am not a number. I am an individual with a desire to learn and grow, and I cannot think of any other school that would fuel those desires in the way that Bishop’s has by offering such unique opportunities. 

Editor’s note: The B.E.S.T. Project Fund is the premiere experiential learning opportunity at Bishop’s. Funded by an anonymous Bishop’s graduate, this unique fund assists students in determining their career paths and realizing their ambitions. 

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