How Authors Can Cope With the Burden of English as an International Language: Peer Revision Draft

How Authors Can Cope With the Burden of English as an International Language: Peer Revision DraftDespite improvements in the suturing method for closure of perimembranous ventricular septal defects (VSD), the postoperative incidence of complete right bundle branch block (CRBBB) has remained from 20 to 62%. Conventionally, stitches have been placed away from the posterior-inferior rim of the defect, hoping thereby to avoid the bundle of His in its left ventricular course.
The reformulation written by the language professional clearly differs from the drafts of the surgeons, who began by focusing on the unacceptably high incidence of the complication when the conventional suturing method was used. The language professional instead proposed beginning with the information given in the second sentence about the conventional suturing method because she assumed this was common knowledge. Her proposed strategy was to delay the statement of the problem until later in the introduction. She employed the often-used strategy of starting with information already known to readers. In the next sentence, she suggested that the author explain why the conventional method had been used, but she had to resort to queries to the author (in italics) rather than to a more concrete suggestion because she lacked subject knowledge.

The language professional perhaps demonstrated better mastery than the peer of the use of language to achieve a particular rhetorical effect. The peer, however, followed the EIL author’s draft more closely but was able to “read between the lines” of the original as a result of his subject matter knowledge. In the first sentence of his reformulation, he suggested replacing the author’s term intricate modification with the term improvements. Furthermore, he suggested that the author’s term surgical management (a generality) be replaced with the term suturing method (a term specific to the message of the article). The peer also omitted the term high with values ranging because he understood that this phrase was redundant in light of the numbers the EIL author quoted immediately thereafter.

In the second sentence, the peer was also able to explain that the goal of the conventional suturing method was “to avoid the bundle of His in its left ventricular course.”
Although peers and language professionals bring different skills and perspectives to the revision process, convergence is common. We found that when content seemed fine to both of us but the focus or emphasis were unclear, our independently suggested revisions usually coincided nicely. The following three versions from the first section of a conference abstract reveals that the peer and the language professional each made quite similar changes that greatly improved the EIL author’s original abstract.

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