In the current volatile market, no editor or proofreader worth their salt can afford to sit on their laurels, thinking that they know it all. One key reason is that hardly any aspect of our practice as professionals is not in a constant state of flux.
The PEG Accreditation Scheme is an attempt to meet two important objectives that help members to maintain their professional service levels, one officially imposed, the other self-regulatory:
- enabling its members to meet any requirements for accredited language practitioner status set by the South African Language Practitioners’ Council Act 8 of 2014 (SALPC Act) and the ensuing Regulations ‘for the training, regulation, accreditation and control of language practitioners so as to set standards …’; and
- encouraging its members to continue pursuing their continuing professional development (CPD) annually with a view to maintaining their service offering at an acceptable level or attaining Accredited Text Editor (ATE) status.
This scheme in its current form was approved at the Guild’s AGM in May 2021. Overall, it forms part of a three-component strategy that includes:
- CPD events and other activities to help members hone their skills regularly with a view to rendering the best professional services possible; and
- an annual accreditation test, the purpose of which is to give recognition to members who are able to display a level of professional competence benchmarked against international best practice.
To this end, members who attend training events organised by the Guild that are aimed at enhancing members’ knowledge, skills and practice will be issued with certificates confirming the number of hours they spend doing so. In support of this, PEG maintains official records of the number of hours members spend attending CPD events per annum.
The PEG Accreditation Scheme requires all members to attend or perform a minimum of 20 hours’ worth of CPD during a membership year, that is, from 1 March in one year to the end of February of the following year. These 20 hours of CPD must comprise:
- a minimum of 14 hours of participation in formal CPD, of which at least 10 hours must be part of PEG’s CPD while the other four hours (minimum) may be gained from formal professional development at other recognised institutions;
- a further six hours, which may be allocated to discretionary editing-related CPD activities, such as reading, research, the writing of relevant articles and voluntary services offered to PEG.
Taken together, the minima of 10 + 4 + 6 for these activities will total at least 20 hours of CPD activities per membership year.
The further six hours of discretionary CPD activities can take a number of forms and members should maintain their own record of how they spend that time.
It is therefore important – and in their best interests – that members maintain their accredited status. Doing so is especially crucial for those members who have attained ATE status; but it is also necessary for all members as preparation for the introduction of the SALPC at some future date.
PEG’s annual accreditation test
With a view to enabling members to test their level of competence and to benchmark themselves against international best practice, PEG has introduced an accreditation test, which is made available to members annually.
Anyone who has been a member of the Guild for at least 12 months prior to the registration date for a test qualifies to take it, irrespective of their current membership status or the length of their service provision.
The test is typically administered during a one-week window of opportunity. The registered candidates specify a day on which they would prefer to receive the test during this week and it is then emailed to them at the appointed time. They have exactly 48 hours in which to return the completed test to the Accreditation Officer.
The questions in a test cover four main areas of the editor’s craft:
- Editing (copy, structural and/or stylistic)
- Language (including grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice)
- General (eg professional conduct, copyright and plagiarism, US vs UK English, Plain Language, specific fields or genres of editing).
The pass mark is 80% per question and also 80% overall. Candidates who sit the test successfully receive a certificate confirming their status. In addition, they may add Accredited Text Editor to their email signature and marketing materials from the commencement of the following membership year (ie from 1 March).
Currently, the test is available only in English. There are plans in the medium term to add tests in the other South African official languages to the repertoire.