Government of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Is a French editing proficiency program beneficial?

Sandra Gravel
Editors Canada
[also known as Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC)]


A few weeks ago, the Programme d’agrément en révision linguistique — Réviseurs Canada joined the ranks of French-language services.

For seasoned editors and those who have recently decided to practice the profession, a sense of competence is not necessarily a given, and doubt is often a daily reality. Paradoxically, however, doubt is precisely what makes for a good editor. When faced with strange wording or an apparent misspelling, editors feel compelled to look up a grammar rule, a turn of phrase or an unusual expression in their many reference guides or online resources. Not only because they want to be competent, but also because they want to feel competent and confident in their work.

For some editors, the new Programme d’agrément en révision linguistique — Réviseurs Canada will help ease some of their doubt, because they will demonstrate their competence by passing the exam, or else realize that they need to further refine their knowledge of the subtleties of the French language. The exam will allow editors to both recognize their competence in French editing for themselves and obtain formal recognition of that competence.

For others, having their French editing proficiency recognized will add another feather to their cap or give them a means of distinguishing themselves from the competition-people who claim to be editors simply because “they are good in French.”

Editing entails more than being able to find spelling mistakes. It involves a variety of skills:

  • knowing how to organize and structure a text so that it effectively conveys the author’s message;
  • choosing the appropriate level of language for the target audience;
  • ensuring the flow and clarity of a piece of writing;
  • giving the text a tone that is suitable for the communication objective;
  • verifying typographical details.

Editing involves producing the best, most effective version of a text. For clients and employers, who are aware that not all editors have the same level of education and experience, knowing that an editor’s competence has been recognized by a professional association is reassuring. Moreover, the program encourages clients and employers to refer to Editors Canada's member directory to find a réviseur agréé when they need one.

Editors Canada is proud to be a pioneer in the area of French-language editing and to administer the first general proficiency exam in the fall of 2015. For more information, visit the Editors Canada website.