If you are reading this page, then you have received an email from me asking for a google doc interview. Below is an extended version of the FAQ that was also in my email.
Who are you?
My name is Heddwen Newton. I work as a translator. I have a master’s degree in English education, my thesis was on Dutch English as a world English. I run a Substack newsletter about English language change and world Englishes called English in Progress.
Are you trying to make money?
No. At no point will I ask you to pay any fees.
If this isn’t about money, then what do you get out of it?
Naive philanthropy alert!
English language change and world Englishes are a passion of mine. I want to provide a bridge between academic research and e.g. secondary school English teachers. I’ve noticed nobody else is doing that.
I would also one day like to have an academic career, but I am not currently affiliated with a university because I moved to a different country (Germany) with my husband, and have two young children who suck up all my energy like little vampires. So I guess you can also view my newsletter as an alternative way for me to network.
If the newsletter is wildly successful, I might ask willing subscribers for a small fee for extra content one day, so in that case the newsletter would provide me with some income. This is in no way my main motivation, but I do want to mention it in case it happens one day. I do not expect to get much income out of it (now that really would be naive!) and the main part of the newsletter will always be free of charge.
Okay, that’s what you get out of it. What do I get out of it?
Promotion. More recognition for your work. An introduction of your work to the academics worldwide that read my newsletter.
Something else: An interview is a great way to see your own subject from a new angle. It can be refreshing to be asked questions by someone who knows a little bit about your subject, but not too much. It can remind you of why your subject is important, why you love it. It might also give you some unexpected insights.
Also: I’m pretty good at making dense information accessible and entertaining for non-academics. When I publish my interview, you will have something you can share with family and friends that explains your work.
How does a Google doc interview work?
I’ll send you a link to a Google doc with a few questions, you type your answers, and let me know when you are done. I write follow-up questions for you to answer, and we continue to go back and forth until we are both happy (or until you no longer have time).
I might rewrite your answers to make them more understandable for a general audience, but I will always check with you that you are happy with the changes.
Do I need special software?
No, any browser will do. I have a European Google account which means the document is GDPR-proof, just in case you were planning to put all your personal details in there (which I don’t think you were.) If you want to use a different format, just let me know.
Can I just write an article myself instead?
Yes, sure, I’ll happily publish it. But if it is too dense and academically written, people probably won’t read it. Just saying.
Can I see one of the previous interviews?
I have only just started doing this, you are one of the first people I have emailed, so I don’t have anything to show for myself yet. You can see an interview I did for my other newsletter, about Dutch English, here. The focus is very different, but it will hopefully show you that I am able to string a sentence together.
If you would like to wait for my first few interviews to come out, and have an idea what they will be like, the easiest thing to do would be to subscribe to my newsletter. It only comes out once every two weeks, so it won’t clutter up your inbox. And it’s pretty good, if I do say so myself 😉
I’m not interested in an interview, but perhaps we can collaborate in some other way?
Sure. I could, for example, link to one of your articles in my newsletter if it already exists online. I am also happy to hear about your students’ work.
Or perhaps you have an idea that I have not even thought of yet!
I still think it sounds a bit fishy…
If it helps, here is my LinkedIn page, to prove I am who I say I am: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heddwen-newton-b9620388.
I am also generally pretty googlable. Not a lot of other Heddwen Newtons out there!
I’m not interested, but I know someone else who might be
If you could pass along this FAQ to them, that would be great. I am also perfectly happy to speak with students who are doing interesting work for their master’s or PHD.
I’m interested, but I don’t have time right now
You can reply to this email and say “ask me again in [Month]”. No need to even write a whole email, I know how busy academia can get!
My question isn’t here!
Please contact me on heddwen (at) englishinprogress.net and let me know!