Thursday, June 12, 2008

InDesign and copyediting

I'm sitting with the CEO of a MedCom here in Atlanta. His company has a multi-million dollar account with a pharmaceutical client who is happy with their work but has requested that programs be polished.

They have no in-house editor, so they have no point person for style expertise or language editing (or QA generally). Furthermore, most content is generated by outside freelance writers (in Word), approved by in-house medical officers, and dropped into design template by satellite office (using InDesign) in Europe.

Primary Challenge: Content goes from Word in ATL to InDesign in satellite office; InDesign file is exported to PDF and returned to ATL where content is reviewed, changes are marked in pen on hard copy (or notes are inserted electronically); then hard copy is run through copy machine for export to PDF (again) and pitched back to European designer who isn't necessarily sensitive to stylistic inconsistencies.
  • No standard operating procedure exists

  • No standard style (to be used across all offices) exists
Recommendation: Hire mature editor in ATL office who is proficient with InDesign.

  • Draft standard operating procedure (SOP)

  • Adopt AMA as house style for all programs (house style can also be personalized for company's unique brand and needs; client-specific styles can also be applied by editor on an as-needed basis)
Process Enhancement: After internal medical officer signs off on freelance content, Word doc goes to in-house editor who standardizes all elements of style according to AMA. Edited Word doc goes to European designer who finalizes layout; final layout is reviewed by editor in ATL in InDesign. Final file saved according to agreed-upon SOP and sent to printer.

There's much here to unpack, but the specific point I want to drive home is the editor's ability to ply her craft in the software that generates the final layout. Process efficiency always benefits the bottom line. For many companies, that will mean editors should be working with final InDesign files instead of exported PDFs.

No comments: