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Publishing tips for non-native English speakers

In this guide we run through some of the key points to consider when submitting to an international publication. We also highlight some of the resources available to support you along the way.

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Why submit to an international publication? 

Are you interested in wider readership of your work? If your article or teaching case study is accepted, it will be read by a global community, increasing its visibility and the likelihood of it being used or cited. 

Our international journals and teaching case study channels are peer reviewed. This means other researchers will invest time in improving your work, increasing its chances of publishing success.

What is an international journal looking for?

The editor wants to see evidence of original research, conducted ethically, with findings that add to the knowledge in your field. 

Think about why you would recommend the paper to colleagues. Are there, for example, implications for future research or for practice? It is a good idea to prepare a 50-word statement answering these questions before the writing stage begins. It can also be helpful to discuss your work with experienced academic colleagues.

What should a teaching case study contain?

Case studies and their accompanying teaching notes are used to help students develop their analytical and critical thinking skills. That means it’s important they are well researched, rigorously prepared, instructive and relevant to the needs of students today.

Choosing a submission channel

In the case of journals, it’s really important to look at the aims and scope of the titles in your field to find the best match. If your manuscript is outside the scope of the journal, it is likely the editor will reject it without sending it for peer review. For teaching case studies, we currently have two channels available – find out more on our Publish a teaching case study page

Preparing your manuscript

Write a draft of your teaching case study or paper in whatever English you have – this is much easier than writing it in your own language and then translating it. Don't worry too much about grammar and spelling at this stage.

It’s helpful to look at your target publication channel and others in the same field, to pick up tips on phrasing, nuances, English language.

You may need more 'hands-on' help here, so find someone who can help you express yourself more clearly in English. This is not the same as using a professional editing service (see below). Seek help from a colleague whose English is better than yours, so that they can help you clarify your meaning.

Getting professional help with your English

Once you have an indication of interest from the journal, it’s time to focus on improving the language. If you don’t have colleagues who can help, you can hire a professional language editor. These specialise in helping authors express themselves in clear English.

There are a range of paid services available to choose from. For example, we partner with Editage who can match you with a relevant expert in language support, translation, editing, figure preparation, manuscript formatting, and more. Don’t forget, you’ll need to give the language editor enough time to read and edit your work and do expect some questions along the way. Some language editors will recommend a final edit before submission and they can also support you with any revisions requested by reviewers.

English language resources

Good reference books can be a big help if you are regularly writing in English.

Related topics

Writing simply

Investing a little time in ensuring your manuscript or case study is easy to follow can really help readers absorb your key messages. 

Tips on writing simply

Structure your journal submission

This guide explains the building blocks that are used to construct a journal article and why getting them right can boost your chances of publishing success. 

Tips on structure


In this guide, we explain what you should look for at the proofing stage.

Tips on proofreading