From the Steerage • The Future of the SWET Newsletter

by Lynne E. Riggs

The SWET Newsletter is going to change. As announced in No. 128, the present Newsletter will continue through No. 130, to come probably in February or March. After that, the new incarnation of the Newsletter will appear sometime in 2012, as part of our redesigned website (details on which see below).

Preparations for these changes have been going on for more than a year. At an October 8, 2011 meeting of a small group of SWET members, it was proposed that the Newsletter should become more bulletin-like and that it should be published primarily on the website instead of in print. Most of the online material would be in brief form (short articles, notices, reviews, event announcements, reports, etc.), with the general information made openly available and some longer pieces or details reserved for dues-paying members. The content would be authored by any interested SWET member or even non-member, and edited and proofread by editors volunteering on a rotating basis.

At the same time, we agreed we did not want to totally abandon the substantive articles and event reports that we have been publishing especially since 2004. That original and distinctively SWET content is probably the biggest benefit of being a SWET member for many in our scattered group.  Our solution: why not publish such articles online, and then collect those of enduring value for publication in a print annual to be sold for profit? Subsequent discussion on the Steering Committee and Newsletter Committee mailing lists essentially brought consensus.

Although we now agree on where we want the Newsletter to go, we still need your help to make things happen. The exact form of the new publication (e-zine, printable, searchable PDFs, etc.) has yet to be determined, and those interested are invited to contribute to the discussion by joining the Newsletter Committee (SWET-NC).

The Newsletter is also looking for a new name. Suggestions so far include Transactions of the Society of Editors, Writers, and Translators (TSWET), SWET Journal, Proceedings of SWET, and SWET Offline, but we are still looking for better ideas.

Finally, we welcome contributions of all kinds to the final print issue of the Newsletter. Help us commemorate this landmark with your story, insights, and your professional experience.  SWET, after all, is only what its members make it.

New SWET website

In September 2011, the Web Design Committee asked a professional designer to redesign the SWET website. The Steering Committee has delegated decisions about the redesign to the “active team” for web design and maintenance, which is led by webmaster Sako Eaton; his assistant for the redesign, Richard Sadowsky; and manager of updates and new content, George Bourdaniotis. Other members of the WDC including Hugh Ashton, Neil Ramsay, Lynne Riggs, and Fred Uleman have also volunteered to support the effort.

The main objectives of the website redesign are to:

  • improve the look and function of the site
  • make it easy to find by wordsmiths of the SWETerly kind
  • make it easy to use by wordsmiths, with separate sections for editing, writing, and translating, and a good search function
  • facilitate the public sharing of SWET expertise
  • provide a blog-like news page for event notices, topics of interest, and brief reports
  • make selected articles and guidelines provided by SWET easily available to interested professionals (both members and non-members)
  • offer longer “proceedings of SWET” articles as they are generated, and archive past SWET Newsletter issues in PDF format for dues-paying members
  • maintain SWET administrative data, such as membership information, to facilitate dues payment and serve members

The site map has been discussed and revised several times and is now in its final form. The WDC reviewed the design proposals in January and the new site will open by early spring 2012.

Once this happens, volunteers will be needed to help prepare material, populate the SWET blogosphere, and otherwise enrich the site. We hope all SWET members will consider participating in building up the site as a new means of networking and accessing information for their professional needs.

Volunteers in charge of core SWET functions change hands

SWET is run by a group of core volunteers who oversee the vital tasks of the organization. The posts of general secretary, treasurer, and membership secretary have rotated several times during SWET’s 30-year history, and this year they changed for the first time in a decade. The new volunteers are as follows:

Membership secretary: Kevin Cleary
Treasurer: Imoto Chikako
General secretary: Lynne Riggs

A special thanks to our old officers, Neil Ramsay, Bob Poulson, and Naomi Otani, for ten years of dedicated and efficient service!

In the wake of the March 11 disaster in the Tohoku region, many of us have wondered whether SWET is still needed and relevant. But as long as there are professional wordsmiths working with or related to Japan, the benefits of networking with other professionals and tapping the accumulated resources built up by members over the past several decades will be important reasons for keeping our society alive. We look forward to your involvement and support.

SWET Steering Committee and Newsletter Committee


SWET Calendar

SWET Events in 2011

February • SWET Kansai: Editing J-to-E Translations for Better Communication, with Lynne E. Riggs
March •SWET Kansai: Publishing the Secret Diaries of a WWII British POW in Japanese, with David Moreton
May •SWET Tokyo: Honoring KI Books, with Book Exhibit and Special Benefit Book Fair
June •Researching a Bicultural YA Novel in Verse, with Holly Thompson
•SWET Kansai Pool Party
July •SWET Tokyo: Summer Party and Book Fair
•Kyoto: Japanese Children’s Literature and the Discovery of the Child, with Joan Ericson
September •SWET Kansai: The Beautiful One Has Come: Stories, from Inspiration to Publication, with Suzanne Kamata
October •Planning the Future of the SWET Newsletter
December •J-Boys: From Inspiration to Translation: The Story of Middle Grade Novel J-Boys: Kazuo’s World, Tokyo 1965, with author Shogo Oketani, editor Leza Lowitz, and translator Avery Udagawa
•SWET Kansai Bonenkai

Originally published in the SWET Newsletter, No. 129, November 2011.

Updated for web publication January 5, 2012.