Language editing

Language editing accreditation

Language editing accreditation is currently available only in English and Afrikaans. It is hoped that this will be expanded in time to include all 11 of the official languages.


What the exam involves

  • The language editing accreditation examination is a written examination. Editing must be done physically on the texts themselves, not electronically.
  • Six different texts, covering a variety of text types (formal texts, press releases, correspondence, promotional material, newspaper articles, information brochures) have to be edited.
  • A choice of two texts is offered for each text type.
  • The main objective is to test the final product that the candidate can present.
  • Candidates are therefore allowed 24 hours to complete the exam.
  • Candidates are also free to use all and any sources that they may have available. They may not, however, consult another person.


Criteria for assessment

Language editing does not involve only spelling and grammar. Exams are also assessed on sense and style, consistency, logic and language usage in addition to grammar, spelling and punctuation.


Examinations are assessed on the basis of a system of major and minor errors similar to that used for translation accreditation, although fewer errors are regarded as minor in editing. Major and minor errors are defined as follows in the case of editing:

  • Major errors: text that is misleading or unclear amendments that change the meaning of the original deletion of vital information insertion of information without a basis or that changes the meaning errors of grammar or syntax spelling errors that would not be picked up by a spell checker (e.g. from for form) inconsistencies non-adherence to accepted conventions.
  • Minor errors: Missed errors or improvements that render the text slightly less elegant but do not affect its message minor spelling errors that would generally be picked up by a spell checker.


To pass the exam a candidate must have:

  • No more than ten minor errors in the exam as a whole
  • No more than five minor errors in any one text
  • No more than four major errors in the exam as a whole
  • No more than one major error in any one text



Examination scripts are submitted to two markers and are marked independently and anonymously. The identity of the candidate also remains secret. If both examiners pass a candidate, they pass if both fail the candidate, they fail. In the event of one examiner passing and the other failing a candidate, the script is submitted to a third examiner, whose decision is final. The papers are also moderated by the accreditation officer.


Markers are generally accredited members of the Institute, but in certain cases it is necessary to use the services of other markers. The Institute then makes sure that such persons are appropriately qualified to undertake the assessment and understand the basis on which the assessment should be done. The persons utilised would be university lecturers and reputable practitioners, for example.



Language editing accreditation is operated on a distance basis. This means the following:

  • Candidates must provide the name of a responsible person to act as invigilator (any responsible adult who is not related to or living with the candidate this can be a colleague, a superior at work, a lecturer, a neighbour, etc.).
  • The examination paper is sent to the invigilator. When it has been received, the invigilator should inform the candidate and agree on a day on which the exam will be written.
  • The invigilator does not need to sit with the candidate all the time they are writing. They must break the seal on the exam in the candidate’s presence, give the exam to the candidate and ensure that the candidate returns the completed exam within 24 hours. They must then witness the statement (included in the package) by the candidate to the effect that they have complied with the requirements and seal the script and other documentation in an envelope in the candidate’s presence, ready for return to the Institute.
  • Candidates may work on the examination for up to 24 hours. They may not have the examination paper in their possession for more than 24 hours.
  • The invigilator must post the completed exam back to the accreditation officer.
  • The completed examination must be returned within one month of being posted to the invigilator.



The marking process may unfortunately take several months, as markers are not always readily available. Results are conveyed to candidates by e-mail or post as soon as practicable.


Candidates who pass are issued with a certificate indicating the details of their accreditation and may then use the appropriate abbreviations behind their name to indicate their professional accredited status.


Further information

Download more detailed information from the links below.

Sign into the Members Only area and then go to Accreditation > Application forms for an application form for an exam.

Any queries can be directed to the SATI office.




General guidelines (16330 bytes)

Editing accreditation marking framework (25030 bytes)


Overview of language editing accreditation 2016 (pptx) (1.6 MB)

Overview of language editing accreditation 2016 (pdf) (3.3 MB)




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