Language revision services at the University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki employees, departments and administrative units are entitled to submit their texts written in a foreign language for revision free of charge.
University of Helsinki postgraduate students may also have the language of their Licentiate theses and doctoral dissertations written in a foreign language revised at cost price.
Need help with Academic Writing? See Academic Writing in English (pdf) by Carolyn Brimley Norris (2022).
Texts accepted for revision
Material accepted for revision free of charge from University of Helsinki units and employees include
- oral presentations
- conference programmes
- examination questions
- teaching materials
- cover letters and letters of recommendation
- University unit webpages, brochures, etc.
- applications for research funding and similar applications.
NB! University units may also have their texts written in Swedish pertaining to administration and communication revised. (This revision is for non-native speakers of Swedish only.)
Grant-funded researchers (with a valid contract for grant-funded research) may have the language of their scholarly articles revised free of charge. The University’s postgraduate students may submit their licentiate theses and doctoral dissertations written in a foreign language for revision. Texts related to postgraduate studies (doctoral dissertations, licentiate theses and other relevant texts) are revised at cost price. See Intranet Flamma for further information.
- The revision service does not cover texts written in the author's native language.
Time required for revision
The time required for revision depends on the length of the text.
- Allow at least two weeks for a text of approximately 20 pages.
- Reserve one to two months for the revision of a doctoral dissertation, depending on the length of the text. Doctoral dissertations and licentiate theses are preferably revised after the preliminary examiners have submitted their statements. However, if you are pressed for time, the language revision can be done simultaneously with the preliminary examination or before submitting the manuscript for preliminary examination. Any changes made to the text as a result of the preliminary examination will be revised separately. Please check with your department or supervisor for the recommended schedule for revision.
Instructions for submitting texts for revision
- Submit the text to be revised (including enclosures, if any) as a Word file attached to the electronic order form.
- You can attach files up 16 MB in size to the order form. Files larger than 16 MB must be compressed and sent via email or the Funet FileSender.
- Indicate the number of characters, which should include footnotes and endnotes (tick the appropriate box in the Word Count function of Word) as well as captions and tables, but not references or quotations in languages other than the language of the text. One page corresponds to 1,560 characters, excluding spaces.
- The revisor will make changes directly to the Word document using the Track Changes function.
- If needed, the revision can be done manually on a printed copy of the text. For further instructions, contact the Revision Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Always ask your supervisor to endorse the revision and then tick the appropriate box on the form. When ordering a revision that is not free of charge (texts related to postgraduate studies), you must indicate the name of the person who approves the invoice.
- The revisors are native speakers of the language concerned, and all of them have their particular areas of expertise. Language Services will return the revised text to you with the revisor’s contact information. Please contact the revisor should you have any questions about the revisions.
- Please consult the revisor about any changes or additions you wish to make to your text after it has been revised, especially if you plan to acknowledge the revisor. Tick the appropriate box on the form to indicate your acceptance of this policy.
- Please enclose tables and captions, if any.
- Enclose also references, even though they are not checked by the revisor (and are not included in the number of characters).
- The target journal’s instructions for authors (e.g., the style sheet) are also valuable to the revisor.
- You may also include a list of established terminology in the field to assist the revisor. If you are aware of specialist terminology in your text that may be unusual or unconventional, you can also provide this.
What does language revision include?
Your revisor at Language Services will undertake to check correct spelling, grammar and punctuation in addition to ensuring that the text follows the standards of clarity and fluency of academic writing.
Your revisor will also give consideration to your manuscript’s adherence to the journal’s instructions for authors (e.g., format and style, usage of abbreviations, tables and figures), provided that a copy of these accompanies the text to be revised. You, as the author, are responsible for adhering to style guidelines governing citations and references.
As much as possible, language revision aims to improve texts such that language issues cease to be a barrier to publication. Although language revision can considerably improve a manuscript’s chances of being accepted by the target journal, it cannot guarantee this, as numerous factors other than language determine a document’s suitability for publication.
Language revision involves correction and improvement of the following:
Spelling and vocabulary
- Language variant (e.g., American or British standards)
- Misused words (e.g., effect vs affect), excluding field-specific terminology
- Subject-verb agreement
- Correct syntax
- Articles and prepositions
- Use of tenses
- Use of full stops, colons, semi-colons, commas, etc.
Readability and consistency
- Fluent, natural-sounding language
- Precision and clarity of the text
- Appropriate sentence length
- Sentence cohesion
- Avoidance of wordiness and repetition
- Addressing of ambiguities
- Consistent use of vocabulary and terminology
- Academic voice and style
Language revision does not involve or correct the following:
Structure of the text
- For example, the order of paragraphs
Content issues, such as faulty or unclear argumentation
- Your revisor may, however, offer advice on or attempt to resolve obvious problems.
Citations and references
Enquiries about revision services and texts to be revised should be submitted to:
Outi Ala-Kahrakuusi, Planning Officer, tel. 02941 22675
P.O. Box 4 (Vuorikatu 5)
00014 UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
Order forms (intranet Flamma)