Lifelong student settles into editing career

Photo by Greg Ehlers

In many ways, Robin-Eliece Mercury has always been a student. After graduating with a BFA and pursuing various work opportunities, she wanted to broaden her horizons. Robin-Eliece moved to Japan and spent the next six and a half years teaching Communicative English at a private high school. During this time, she was learning just as much as she was teaching and set a personal goal to master the Japanese language.

“I remember the day it all came together,” she says, recalling how she rushed into an administrative office and quickly asked the receptionist for a favour, in Japanese. The woman responded, head down, before eventually looking up. “She was shocked. She didn’t even realize it was me,” Robin-Eliece remembers. She had perfected her Japanese.

Still, Robin-Eliece wanted to learn more. She returned to Canada to earn her Master of Education before continuing to teach in Japan, in North Vancouver at Capilano University and eventually in Prague. There, she brought her enthusiasm for education to her role as an assistant professor and helped MA and PhD candidates write and format journal articles, papers, dissertations and external publications to a high Western academic standard. “I was already editing, but for a very specialized field,” she recounts. Thus, when her time overseas was ending she began looking for similar opportunities.

Photo by Greg Ehlers

“I needed to find something that would still interest me, give me a new perspective and allow me to work with different kinds of people in different fields,” she explains, “Bingo—editing.” She found SFU Continuing Studies’ Editing Certificate program and it was a perfect fit. The structure of the program at the time allowed her to learn both in-class and online, and granted her access to Editors Canada. “The editing certificate and getting that kind of technical accreditation has solidified what I can put forward professionally.”

She was surprised by the diverse types of editing presented in the program, including proofreading, substantive editing, copy editing, developmental editing and more. “Learning those differences, understanding those differences and learning how to help your clients understand those differences was very valuable. It’s incredibly practical.”

Robin-Eliece has now settled in Vancouver and is cultivating a successful freelance editing service through her global connections. In the future, Robin-Eliece aspires to join a company as an editor with a focus on copyrighting and law, though she’s in no rush. “Right now,” she says, “what I’m doing is wonderful because I’m independent and I can take my time, set my goals, explain it to my clients and I like that.”

But, as any good student knows, there is always more to learn.

By Alison Brierley