Renkema’s CCC model facilitates and evaluates the text-editing process in a systematic, standardised and accountable way. This blog briefly describes the origin, composition and usefulness of this model. (The blog was written first in Afrikaans and has been translated. See the original blog in Afrikaans here.)

In the PEGblog of 14 November 2023, 17 editors wrote about the added value of being an editor. Some of the reasons they gave for editing texts were the following: it is stimulating and educational; it is enjoyable to help writers convey their messages clearly and professionally; and it is satisfying to point out and correct errors that obscure the meaning of the text so that the message can be conveyed clearly.

These reasons immediately directed my thoughts to the aim and, consequently, the usefulness of Renkema’s CCC model. This model promotes and evaluates the text-editing process in a systematic, standardised and accountable way. This statement is quite a mouthful, but I do not make it idly, since the method has been tried and tested. In this article, I give a brief explanation of the model’s origin, what it entails and why it may be useful.

How did the CCC model originate?

In the Netherlands, Professor Jan Renkema, a Dutch linguist, designed the model to help editors determine whether a text succeeds in conveying the writer’s message clearly (Van de Poel, Carstens & Linnegar, 2012:38). Editors can use this model to smooth out any problems by using a systematic, theory-based approach that improves the quality of the text and, in so doing so, the text communicates the writer’s intention to the reader more effectively. The three Cs in the CCC model refer to the three main criteria used to determine the quality of the text: correspondence, consistency and correctness. After the introduction of the model (Renkema, 1996), it was increasingly used for Dutch and Afrikaans texts. Since refining and adapting the model and translating it into English, it has also been adopted throughout the world (Van de Poel et al., 2012; Linnegar, 2017).

What does the CCC model entail?

This model (Table 1) comprises 15 evaluation points that can be viewed from two different angles (Van de Poel et al., 2012:46). First, the model can be read vertically according to three main criteria, namely correspondence, consistency and correctness. From this perspective, the editor can, for example, look at the following aspects that make up correspondence: the appropriateness of the text (A1), sufficient information (B4), sufficient cohesion (C7), appropriate wording (D10) and appropriate layout and typography (E13). Second, the model can be viewed from the perspective of the five levels of the text, namely text type, content, structure, wording and presentation. From this perspective, an editor looks at, for example, the appropriateness of a text (A1), the unity of genre (A2) and the correct application of genre rules (A3). The evaluation points are arranged according to importance from number 1 to 15, where the position of the evaluation point determines how much attention should be given to each evaluation point (Van de Poel et al., 2012:46). Consequently, to improve the quality of a text so that its message can be conveyed more effectively to the reader or viewer, editors pay most attention to the appropriateness of the text, and least attention to correct spelling and punctuation.

Table 1: the CCC model

 

Text facets

Criteria for analysis of text quality
Correspondence Consistency Correctness
A. Text type 1. Appropriate text 2. Unity of genre 3. Application of genre rules
B. Content 4. Appropriate and sufficient information 5. Congruence of facts 6. Facts
C. Structure 7. Sufficient cohesion 8. Uniformity of structure 9. Linking words and argumentation
D. Wording 10. Appropriate wording 11. Unity of style 12. Syntax, vocabulary and meaning
E. Presentation 13. Appropriate layout and typography 14. Congruence between text and layout 15. Spelling, punctuation, layout and typography
 

15 Evaluation points

(Van de Poel et al., 2012:46)

 

At first glance, the model seems quite complicated, casting some doubt on its usefulness.

Why is Renkema’s CCC model useful?

Some of the answers I have found are as follows:

  • Editors can use the model to evaluate their own text editing to communicate more effectively with the reader or viewer (Van de Poel et al., 2012:38).
  • Editors and students can use the model to further develop their editing skills. Linnegar (2017:109) found that the model promoted postgraduate students’ skills to improve the quality of texts.
  • The model’s guidelines have been used in studies to improve and evaluate the accessibility and quality of pharmaceutical leaflets (Maske, 2010) and in the television script of Colour TV (Setai & Pienaar, 2016).

 

The model is adaptable. It can be used as a starting point to determine and improve the effective communication of a text as a whole or certain aspects of it. For example, Rall (2005) omitted the main criterion of correctness in a study that focused on the effective document design of Afrikaans literary journals, thereby emphasising correspondence and consistency.

 

To summarise, the CCC model is useful because it adds value to editors’ and writers’ experience and application of text editing; it helps them to evaluate and improve the quality of a text in a theoretically accountable way to promote effective communication with the reader and viewer.

 

References

Linnegar, J 2017 The CCC Model (Correspondence, Consistency, Correctness): How effective is it in enabling and assessing change in text-editing knowledge and skills in a blended-learning postgraduate course? In: Cargill, M and Burgess, S (eds) Publishing Research in English as an Additional Language: Practices, Pathways and Potentials.  Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press.  https://doi.org/10.20851/english-pathways

Maske, JT 2010 Die tekskwaliteit van medisynevoubiljette: Teksgerigte vs lesergerigte ondersoek.  Ongepubliseerde PhD in Lettere en Sosiale Wetenskappe.  Universiteit van Stellenbosch.

Rall, S 2005 Veranderende tendense in die dokumentontwerp van Suid-Afrikaanse letterkundige tydskrifte van die 1960’s, 1980’s en 2000’s.  Ongepubliseerde MA-Tesis in Toegepaste Taalstudie in die Fakulteit Geesteswetenskappe.  Universiteit van Pretoria.

Renkema, J 1996 Over smaak valt goed te twisten. Een evaluatiemodel voor tekstkwaliteit.  Tijdschrift voor taalbeheersing, 4:324–338.

Setai, J & Pienaar, M 2016 Die toepassing van die K3-model op die televisieteks Colour TV, Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics, 46:121–139. https://doi.org/10.5774/46-0-225

Van de Poel, K Carstens, WAM & Linnegar, J 2012 Text editing: A handbook for students and practitioners.  Antwerp: UPA University Press.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of PEG.

About Annamarie Mostert

Annamarie Mostert is an accredited text editor in English who has obtained her PhD in language programme evaluation. She specialises in the development of curriculum and assessment criteria for academic, fiction and non-fiction texts in Afrikaans and English at local, provincial, national and international level. She has 40 years’ experience in language learning and teaching in primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions. She participates in research projects and publishes articles and study guides to develop learners’ and students’ language proficiency and literary appreciation. She has also been editing a journal about taxation for the past two years. She loves traveling, learning languages, reading, writing and listening to music.

Annamarie Mostert is ʼn geakkrediteerde teksredigeerder in Engels wat haar PhD. in die evaluering van taalprogramme verwerf het. Sy spesialiseer in die ontwikkeling van kurrikulum- en assesseringskriteria vir akademiese, fiksie en nie-fikse tekste in Afrikaans en Engels op plaaslike, provinsiale, nasionale en internasionale vlak. Sy het 40 jaar ondervinding in die leer en onderrig van taal by primêre, sekondêre en tersiêre onderwysinstellings. Sy neem deel aan navorsingsprojekte en publiseer artikels en studiehandleidings om leerders en studente se taalvaardighede en literêre waardering te ontwikkel. Sy is ook vir die afgelope twee jaar betrokke by die redigering van ʼn joernaal wat oor belasting handel. Sy geniet dit om te reis, tale aan te leer, te lees, te skryf en na musiek te luister.

About PEG

The Professional Editors’ Guild (PEG) is a non-profit company (NPC) in South Africa. Since moving to online activities in March 2020, PEG has been able to offer members across South Africa, and internationally, access to an extensive online webinar programme. Continuing professional development remains a key offering and the first PEG Accreditation Test was administered in August 2020 to benchmark excellence in the field of editing.