History of the Founding of SEA, the New Spanish Editors Association in the United States

 

The Spanish Editors Association is the brainchild of the determination and daydreaming of a group of professionals who love writing, reading, and learning, and who value communication as a powerful and delicate tool.

 

We came together with the common goal of promoting high standards of practice and networking for support and education in a field that is rapidly growing yet new to the public eye. SEA is the voice of professional editors and proofreaders of Spanish texts in the United States.

 
On Editing US Spanish

Editing—as the process of preparing written (and other) materials for publication—is perhaps as old as writing itself. But the professionalization of this process is much newer. And even more so for US Spanish.

 

Editing involves the careful and methodical assessment of text to verify its form and content, and to make corrections, adaptations, and other changes aimed at producing a correct, consistent, accurate and complete work.

 

Editing professionals work backstage, behind the scenes that the public sees and enjoys, with a common goal: improving the text. Editors and proofreaders work tirelessly to ensure the quality of the language and the effectiveness of written communication.

 

For decades, editors have worked for publishing houses and media companies. Perhaps the most recognized editing position is that of newspaper and magazine editors. Slowly but surely, editing jobs have sprouted well beyond the publishing world—after all, words are the currency of the Internet.

In the United States, the creation of writers and editors associations has reflected this path with organization such as the American Society of News Editors (founded in 1922), the American Medical Writers Association (founded in 1940), the American Society of Business Press Editors (founded in 1964), the Editorial Freelancers Association (started in the 70s), and the American Copy Editors Society (established in 1997).

 

For a long time, Spanish was an ancillary language, although it has been spoken in US territories long before the birth of the country—since 1565 to be exact. Spanish writers and editors were an invisible breed. But in the past 20 years, the growing purchasing power of now nearly 50 million Spanish speakers has spurred interest, involvement, and investment in a Spanish-driven market.

Already dozens of jobs are posted every day seeking Spanish editors. Positions span the range from editing for publishing houses, localization providers, and KPOs to education and in-house content development in every industry.

 

In this landscape, our diverse group of translators and editors—brought together through work and professional development events—felt compelled to take on the challenge to represent the writing professionals who work behind the scenes in Spanish for the US market.

 

We have created SEA to

 

  1. Promote the recognition and advancement of the profession of Spanish editing;

  2. Encourage high standards for quality, ethics, and business practices for editors of Spanish text for the United States;

  3. Support the training, continuing education, and networking of Spanish editors in the United States.

 
How It Happened

We started dreaming after a translation conference in Miami one late November morning of 2015. We sat down to start our planning during a conference in Buenos Aires in April 2016. Some of us, María Brau, Helen Eby,
 

Daniela Guanipa, Lilia O’Hara, and Gabriela Penrod, and myself, Romina Marazzato Sparano, live in the United States. Seasoned professionals from around the Spanish-speaking world also joined our project: Ramiro Arango (from Colombia), antonio Martín, from Spain, Consuelo Miguel, from Perú, and Yilda Ruiz Monroy (who splits her time between Colombia and the United States).

 

We visited the idea of becoming a chapter or branch of an editors association already established for English. But it quickly became clear that we needed our group to be independent to be able to represent the unique interests and needs of Spanish-speaking professionals.

 

This said, we are happy to report that we have received the support and encouragement of two fellow organizations with whom we plan to collaborate closely: the Editorial Freelancers Association and Editors Canada.

 

Editors Canada has also provided us with a template for our own Editorial Principles. As a bilingual organization, they understand the challenges of developing standards in two languages with different origins but with a common goal. Their experience and generosity have been instrumental in our process.

 

We are joining the family of Spanish editors associations around the world, including PEAC from Mexico (Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales de la Edición AC, founded in 1993) UniCO from Spain (Unión de Correctores, founded in 2005), ASCOT from Perú (Asociación de Correctores de Textos del Perú, founded in 2010), AUCE from Uruguay (Asociación Uruguaya de Correctores de Estilo, founded in 2012), and PLECA from Argentina (Profesionales de la Lengua Española Correcta de la Argentina, founded in 2012).

 

As the SEA founding group, we met monthly for these past 2 years to share our interests and expectations and define our goals and priorities. We used an online training platform for our meetings, as we are spread across globe!

 

Early on, we decided on a nonprofit framework, and we got to work on developing bylaws, professional principles, and a code of ethics. We formed committees for each task, and produced documents later approved by the entire group. For our bylaws, still in process, we hired a lawyer to make sure we are on the right track.

 

Once some of our ideas started to take shape in writing, we formed a web site committee and we are happy to announce that our web site is now live thanks to the dedication of our Web Master, Daniela Guanipa. Visit us at spanisheditors.org!

 

Our newly formed Board of Directors includes Helen Eby, Daniela Guanipa, Romina Marazzato Sparano, Gabriel Penrod, and Lilia O’Hara.

 

Our Principles

We developed our professional principles with the goal of including the work of editors across the professions.

 

We see editing as a process with different levels of intervention and sequencing of tasks. Of course, in practice, the various types of editing tasks will overlap, and their scope will vary between documents and projects. But, overall, we have divided the types of editing and proofreading services into substantive editing, copy‑editing, proofreading, and comparative editing or the checking of translated text against the original in a different language.

 

We include comparative editing in a separate section given that, in the United States, Spanish texts are frequently associated with the translation of texts originally in English.

 
Our Acronym

SEA chose its acronym in the hopes that the subjunctive it alludes to—the verb mood of desire and possibility—will invite its members to think, to dream, to embark on a new adventure with their language. “Sea” translates to the subjunctive “be” in sentences like “We recommended that texts be edited by professionals.”

 

We have also embraced the tidal notes of its English meaning. The back and forth of collaboration between authors, editors, and proofreaders makes a better text possible.

 
Join Us

In today’s world, more and more documents of all kinds are being written. It is, therefore, essential to engage the help of editing and proofreading professionals to ensure the quality and effectiveness of communication and truly make your text stand out.

We invite you to join our mission: SEA!

 


 

 

Romina is a translator, editor, and educator with almost 20 years of experience in technical, medical, educational, and creative materials. She works directly and through service providers with Fortune 500 companies. She has taught translation, technology, localization, Spanish, and writing courses. She designed and launched the Master of Arts in Translation/Localization Management Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) in 2005. She supports continuing education with leadership roles and active membership in professional associations, such as the American Translators Association (ATA), The Institute for Localization Professionals (TILP), Plain Language Association International (PLAIN), ACES: the Society for Editing, and the Spanish Editors Association (SEA). Her own training includes studies in biochemistry, linguistics, Romance languages, and translation. She holds an MA in Translation (from MIIS) and is certified in English and Spanish (by MIIS and ATA). Currently, she is conducting research in linguistics and US Spanish.

 

 

Helen Eby, owner of Gaucha Translations, is an ATA-certified translator (Spanish>English) and a certified DSHS Translator (English > Spanish) by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. She is also a Spanish state-certified (Oregon) court interpreter and a medical interpreter certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) as well as the Oregon Health Authority. One of Helen’s major interests is guiding translators and interpreters who are just entering the profession. This commitment to helping newcomers prompted her to co-found The Savvy Newcomer, a blog that is now recognized as a go-to resource for launching a career in translation and interpreting. Helen’s background as an English and Spanish teacher also led to her involvement with ¡Al rescate del español!, a layman’s guide to good Spanish writing skills, as well as her participation in the ASTM work group for translation standards. Her desire to improve the professional standards of Spanish editing in the United States led her to work with other dreamers to found the Spanish Editors Association. Helen is a member of the American Translators Association, the International Medical Interpreters Association, and the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators among others. She served as president of the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters from January 2014 to September 2016.

 

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