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Meet the Instructor: Ruth Wilson

Written by Carl Rosenberg; copy edited by Malvika Kathpal

Photo of Ruth Wilson smiling while dressed in a dark blue jacket and light blue top and wearing a necklace.Are you ready to extend your proofreading skills beyond finding typos and knowing how to mark up copy? On Saturday, March 30, Editors BC presents a six-hour seminar by Ruth Wilson on advanced proofreading.

This exercise-based seminar focuses on beyond-the-basics proofreading skills. It offers participants the opportunity to examine excerpts from complex documents and learn how to fine-tune their proofreading eye to catch every error. With documents ranging from recipes to journal articles, participants will be challenged to use their judgment to weigh the pros and cons of making changes, querying authors, or making no changes at all.

This seminar will help anyone wishing to advance their proofreading skills, prepare for job advancement, or study for future offerings of the proofreading certification test given by Editors Canada. Participants should have some proofreading experience and be familiar with conventional markup. See the registration page for more details.

Ruth has more than 30 years’ experience editing and proofreading trade books, professional journals, association publications, and corporate materials. She worked for many years with Vancouver book publisher Self-Counsel Press, several as managing editor. Since 1998, she has been a partner with West Coast Editorial Associates.

Ruth leads training workshops in all aspects of editing, and for many years, was an instructor in the Writing and Communications program and the summer publishing workshops at SFU. She has also served on several national committees of Editors Canada. In 2011, she was honoured by Editors Canada as a recipient of the President’s Award for Volunteer Service. In 2014, she was recognized as a Certified Professional Editor (Hon.) for her work in developing and launching Editors Canada’s world-class certification program.

Carl Rosenberg, a volunteer on Editors BC’s communications and social media committee, spoke to Ruth about her work on advanced proofreading.

Hello, Ruth! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. How did you come to develop and offer a seminar on advanced proofreading?

For many years, I had taught basic proofreading workshops and courses, which offered a solid foundation for getting started and understanding the difference between proofreading and copy editing. But as I became more experienced myself, I realized how much I knew that couldn’t be taught in a short course. I had also learned from my own mistakes over the years! I wanted to share what I had learned with others so they could benefit from my own knowledge and hopefully, not make those same mistakes I did!

How does advanced proofreading relate to basic proofreading and to editing? What are a few of the challenges in advanced proofreading?

As with all levels of proofreading and editing, judgment is crucial. What do you do, for example, when you realize that you, as a proofreader, are finding errors that should have been corrected at an earlier stage? How do you handle inserting late changes from the author? What if you find a fundamental structural problem? And how do you keep sharp when proofreading hundreds of pages of detailed technical material? These are the kinds of issues an experienced advanced proofreader is comfortable handling.

What are some of your favourite books and publications—proofreading- and editing-related or otherwise?

The formidable Diana Athill passed away in January at the grand age of 101. I recommend her memoir Stet: An Editor’s Life to all editors. Her other books are also delightful. Another gem is The Library Book, by Susan Orlean, released this past fall. It was recommended to me by an editorial colleague, who said, “You must read this immediately!” I heeded that advice; in fact, I am inhaling the book. It is ostensibly about the 1986 fire in the Los Angeles Public Library, but it is more than that—a celebration of libraries, books, reading, writing, and more.

Ruth, thank you very much for sharing your experience and expertise. We’re looking forward to your seminar on March 30.


Carl Rosenberg edited “Outlook: Canada’s Progressive Jewish Magazine” from 1998 to 2016. He has a diploma in Latin American studies from Vancouver Community College and a bachelor of arts in Spanish language and literature from UBC. He is a volunteer with the communications and social media committee of Editors BC.

Malvika Kathpal is a writer and editor with three years’ experience in editing, creative content writing, and curation. As a psychology graduate with English honours, Malvika possesses a master’s degree in psychology alongside a post-graduate diploma in business administration with a specialization in marketing management. An Editors Canada member since 2018, she brings a blend of creativity and zeal to any project.  

Photo provided by Ruth Wilson.

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