Expertise in any area is a wonderful thing. So there’s nothing worse than seeing ground-breaking findings in a post-graduate dissertation sink beneath the academic waves – simply because the author is not a born writer …
It can happen whether English is the author’s native langauge or not. A talented geneticist, for instance, can be a terrible writer, even in his native English. And a talented geneticist who’s obliged to write in English, though it’s not his first language … well, you get the picture!
A good example is the enormous disconnect that’s often found between a non-native’s spoken English and the same person’s written English.
I know the problem; I experience it myself with French. I could rattle on all day in a vaguely grammatical, reasonably understandable, amiable kind of way – but would I risk writing a Ph.D thesis in French? Answer: not in a million years.
What would I do? What I would do is write the paper to the best of my ability, then hand it over to the professionals - who would review it, edit it and leave it reading perfectly to a native English-speaker – while always liaising with me on matters of detail and retaining absolutely its academic integrity.
The simple fact is this: one form of expertise deserves another.