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Sara Abdul

And That’s A Wrap

Illustration of two women sitting at a café table and chatting.
Illustration of two women sitting at a café table and chatting.
Copyright: sabelskaya

It is often said that the business of planning a conference begins when the previous year’s event concludes. As this year’s conference was wrapping up last month, conference manager Sara Abdul volunteered to share her experience with The Editors’ Weekly readers and to tell us a little about what comes next.

Editors In Real Life was Editors Canada’s first in-person conference since 2019 and for that reason, it was particularly successful. We’re known for hosting the premiere editing conference in Canada, with sessions that cover the latest trends and developments in the editing profession. But it was the opportunity for both professional development and networking that made it worthwhile to attend. For the first time in years, editors, writers, communication professionals and small business owners from a wide range of fields returned to reconnect and mingle.

Opening keynote speaker Aimee Wall kicked off the weekend with a thought-provoking talk on the importance of embedding culture into translation. Wall explained the art of translation in terms of, “say what I said, not exactly what I said,” stressing that translators should maintain the intended meaning rather than the verbatim translation. To deny the reader the opportunity to experience the cultural moments embedded in language — particularly the reader who is part of that culture — is a disservice. Those readers who are not part of that culture, she added, can benefit from the moment to learn.

Aimee was a powerful opening keynote speaker, and the session speakers who followed continued with the same energy. Some highlights included

  • Michelle Waitzman’s “Real-World Networking for Editors,” where editors had the opportunity to rekindle their conversational skills
  • the Indigenous Editors Association’s “Indigenous Voices: Towards Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,” an intimate discussion on the importance of editing Indigenous texts in a good way
  • Sangeeta Mehta’s “Deconstructing the Developmental Edit,” a breakdown of current notions of developmental editing

Mingle we did

Opportunities to network were interspersed throughout the training sessions. All of the session breaks were alive with the buzz of attendees who were excited to return to in-person programming. All of the conference social activities and sought-after speed mentoring sessions were at full capacity.

The awards banquet was a dazzling affair of dinner, drinks and socializing that ran late into the evening. The conference reception was so well attended that it ran much later than expected.

The weekend concluded with Gael Spivak’s closing keynote on the importance of a plain language standard for assessing writing quality. Gael, who sits on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) working group that drafted the international plain language standard, gave us insight into the development process.

A look ahead

Some conference sessions were recorded and are now available for purchase on the conference website.

This conference was only a modest return to in-person conferencing. We anticipate the 2024 conference in British Columbia will be an even grander event! If you’re interested in joining the 2024 conference team, email for more information.


The Editors’ Weekly is the official blog of Editors Canada. Contact us.


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