Dos and Don’ts for Editing Client Testimonials
Adding client testimonials on your website or social media is a great way to showcase the successes you’ve had on previous proofreading jobs. But can you make edits to client feedback before using it as a testimonial? And if so, what can you change? In this post, we set out the key ‘Dos and Don’ts’ for correcting and editing client testimonials.
What Can You Do When Editing Testimonials?
As a proofreader, you know the value of clear communication. And if you’re using a client’s feedback as a testimonial, you’ll want it to read clearly and smoothly. At the same time, though, you won’t want to misrepresent or distort what your client has said.
What, then, can you do to ensure a balance between preserving your client’s original feedback and making sure it is suitable for use as a client testimonial?
The key is focusing on edits that ensure clarity and relevance, such as:
- Correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors (or any other accidental typos).
- Minor changes to sentence structure or phrasing for clarity or concision.
- Extracting a key portion from a longer passage of feedback.
- Replacing pronouns with names (e.g. changing ‘you’ to your name or business).
- Highlighting key words or phrases with bold or italics.
For example, imagine you received the following feedback:
I cant thank you enough! My website reads so much smoother now. Thank you for taken the time to answer my questions and suggest very helpful revisions well before the deadline too, it made it much less stressful. Customers already commented on how good it looks. Thank you for giving the whole project a professional touch!
Following the guidelines above, you might edit it to say:
I can’t thank Jane B. Editor enough! My website reads much more smoothly now, and customers have already commented on how good it looks. Jane also took the time to answer my questions and suggest helpful revisions before the deadline, making it much less stressful. She brought a professional touch to the whole project!
This version has fixed the typos and made some minor changes for clarity and concision. We’ve also highlighted some key phrases to make them stand out. As a result, this edited version would work much better to promote a proofreading and editing service.
However, don’t forget to ask your client for permission to use their feedback! And if you make changes beyond correcting typos, you should check they are okay with the edits first.
What Not to Do When Editing Testimonials
As hinted at above, there is one key rule when it comes to editing testimonials or other quotes from clients: DO NOT MAKE EDITS THAT CHANGE THE MEANING OF THE ORIGINAL QUOTE. Sorry about the all caps, but it really is an important point.
When editing any client testimonial, then, you mustn’t:
- Add or remove anything that changes the meaning of the original feedback.
- Rearrange the text in a way that misrepresents what your client said.
- Add extra superlatives or praise to enhance existing feedback.
For example, imagine we edited the original feedback above as follows:
Jane B. Editor is the best! My website reads perfectly now, and we’re already getting more customers because it looks so good. Jane also took the time to answer my questions and suggest helpful revisions before the deadline, going beyond the call of duty. Without her professional touch, the project would have fallen apart!
This edit has fixed the same issues as the version above, but it also goes too far. For instance, there is nothing in the original that suggests the client has had more customers (only that they’ve commented on it). And while the client mentioned the editor’s ‘professional touch’, this wouldn’t justify the claim that the project would have failed without her!
Admittedly, you would have to be bold to make such claims based on the original feedback! But we’re using this example to show why you need to be careful when editing testimonials, as well as why you should run any edits you make by the client before using them.
Becoming A Proofreader
To make sure you get positive feedback you can use in testimonials and learn all the editing skills you need to kickstart your freelance career, why not try our Becoming A Proofreader course? Sign up for a free trial today to find out how the course works.
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