Giving effective feedback is one of the most important parts of your role as a copy editor with Jellyfish. It’s one of the ways we help copywriters and translators consistently improve their work, enabling them to create higher quality pieces that require fewer amends, meaning a faster editing process for you in the long run.
This is the standard we ask our copywriters and translators to reach on our projects.
There will still be some errors in a subbing standard piece, but they will be small. As a copy editor, you should be fact-checking, ensuring the piece is in line with the brief and fixing any typos or clunky sentences.
If a piece is at subbing standard, you can start editing it directly. If not, you should send it back to the copywriter or translator with constructive feedback.
Tips for giving great feedback
1. Be positive and sensitive
Be positive, sensitive and kind when leaving feedback, as tone can easily be misconstrued in this context. Use the person’s name, and if it’s appropriate, you can also reach out on Slack to discuss a particular point. Remember, everyone is doing their best – treat copywriters and translators professionally and with courtesy.
2. Explain the reason behind the change
The most effective feedback doesn’t just fix one issue in one piece; it can be applied across the project. When you’re giving feedback, explain the reason behind the change so that the copywriter or translator can learn and adapt for the next piece.
3. Focus on the biggest issues first
Read the whole piece or batch, and start by feeding back on the issues that will require the biggest changes. This is because smaller things, such as clunky sentences, may be changed as part of a rewrite or heavy edit. Once the big issues are resolved, move on to more granular feedback.
4. Include between one and three things to work on
Giving all your feedback at once can be overwhelming. Narrowing the focus to a maximum of three issues gives your colleague a chance to absorb what you’ve said. When the piece needs heavy rewriting, it’s best to feedback on just one thing – even if there are other issues. It’s likely that the piece will change a lot in the rewrite, so it’s better to wait and request a second set of amends.
5. Give examples and practical solutions
Giving examples and practical solutions for fixing any issues will help support your colleague in making a long-term change. For example, explaining a grammar rule or sending a link to a website explaining it will allow them to understand the underlying issue and catch it themselves next time.
The review process for requesting amends
We recommend the below method for reviewing work, as it saves time by preventing you from working on pieces that may require rewriting or heavy editing.
1. Read the whole piece - does it fulfil the intended purpose?
2. Do the facts check out?
3. Does it meet the right tone of voice? Does the structure make sense?
If you find issues during steps 1-3, you should request amends from the copywriter. Where changes are extensive – such as significant rewriting – we recommend giving overarching feedback first and completing a second review for smaller changes after the large edits have been completed.
4. Does the syntax flow well? Are the brief-specific elements being met?
If these issues appear on a large scale, send it back to the copywriter for amending. If it’s just one or two changes, then you can make these edits yourself.
5. Ready for editing
If the piece has none of the issues listed above, it is at subbing standard and shouldn’t be sent back to the copywriter. Errors such as typos and incorrect punctuation can be fixed in editing.
Feedback for ongoing development
Every time you give feedback to someone, you’re helping them to learn a skill that they can apply over and over again. Sometimes it might seem easier to simply fix the issue, but giving feedback allows your colleagues to build their skills. In the long run, this will save time during writing, reviewing and editing.
What to do when someone isn't improving
If you’re giving the same feedback to someone repeatedly and don’t see any improvement, please let the Content Manager know. It may be that we can help them in-house or that they aren’t the right fit for this project. As a guideline, we’d expect to see noticeable improvement within three batches.