The use of the terms “native English speaker” and “non-native English speaker” is very broad and does not imply the superiority of any of these groups. We chose to highlight the difference between them to help our readers find writers for “localized” marketing campaigns, i.e., those who can ensure the material is clear and authentic to its target audience. Our intention is not to outright exclude writers based on their origin or native language - we encourage anyone to pursue professional opportunities and improve their skills. 

Choosing the perfect copywriter for your blog’s team is not an easy task! There are many factors to take into account, but one of the most important is the writer’s command of the target language. Let’s say that all of your blog posts are written in English. You can choose to hire a dirt-cheap copywriter who doesn’t speak English natively. That’s totally fine!

Everybody has their own #1 priority, whether it be quality, efficiency, cost, etc. If cost is the major determining factor of your hiring process, then, by all means, hire somebody who speaks English as a 2
nd or 3rd language. Keep in mind, though – the time you spend editing their texts might outweigh any potential savings. A text could be completely free of spelling errors and punctuation mistakes but still feel… wrong. 

So, let’s say that you make room in your budget for a slightly more expensive copywriter who claims that English is their native language. If you hire a writer from a trustworthy copywriting organization, such as Contenteam, then you don’t have to worry about verifying that your writer has an excellent command of English.

However, if you are hiring somebody off of, let’s say, Upwork, then you should make sure to scrutinize their work. Make sure you are getting your money’s worth and not just giving your hard-earned cash to somebody who lied through their teeth to get the position. Here are 3 red flags that the copywriter you hired doesn’t really have a great command of English. 

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Red Flag #1: Poor Stylistics

One issue is that many copywriters use stylistics that just feel off. A non-native speaker could study English for years, yet never really gain a feel for the language. 

Take the following sentence, for example:

I used my green little knife to spread a pat of butter across the toast.

Looks good, right? Well, that sentence would make any native English speaker cringe, even though they wouldn’t quite be able to put their finger on what’s wrong. You see, we subconsciously adhere to an order of adjectives. “Green little knife” makes us feel like somebody’s scratching their nails across a chalkboard. “Little green knife,” on the other hand, just feels right. Ask a native speaker who is not trained in stylistics, though, and they wouldn’t be able to tell you why it’s better. They can just feel it in their bones. 

Another issue that many non-native copywriters have is being overly formal in their choice of words and sentence structure. Wordiness, too, is quite a problem.

Due to the fact that the class has been canceled, I am thinking that the professor should choose to postpone our homework assignment.

Okay, so that sentence doesn’t have any grammatical mistakes. Commas are good, spelling is good, etc. But this just isn’t how native speakers talk (or write)! Instead, we might write something like this:

Because class is canceled, I think the professor should postpone our homework assignment.

Or, if we’re speaking, we’d probably say:

I think the professor should postpone the homework since class is cancelled.

Those sentences are simpler, easier to read, and they don’t feel awkward. Remember, more formal ≠ better!

Another issue you might run into is that your copywriter fills their articles with all kinds of fluff. That can be quite annoying; once your editor cuts it all out, the post may be way under your desired word count. For instance, let’s look at the following paragraph:

XYZ Company sells purses made from high-quality vegan leather. When you wear this purse, your dreams will come true! You will feel like the belle of the ball. As you walk down the street, everybody will stop and stare at you because your purse is so marvelous. Our materials are ethically sourced and eco-friendly.

If your copywriter turns in something like this, please, please, PLEASE have a talk with them. This kind of copy will not make anybody want to buy your product. The first and the last sentences in the paragraph are great – they are informative, grammatically correct, and can be backed up. The middle of the paragraph, however, is just low-quality rhetoric that any shopper with two brain cells could see right through. 

Now, you could employ a really amazing, English speaking editor who can totally fix the stylistics of an article. However, this would be a time-consuming process, and you would probably be better off just hiring somebody who uses great stylistics in the first place. 

Red Flag #2: Mixing Up UK and US Language

Even though UK English is understandable to US readers, and vice versa, there are still some key differences – primarily in spelling. Flavor vs. flavour, behavior vs. behaviour, and so on. Depending on your target audience, you want a copywriter who knows the ins and outs of the language’s intricacies. And, above all, you do NOT want to hire a copywriter who flip-flops between UK and US English in the same article! This is a huge indicator that your copywriter is not actually a native English speaker. 

So, how can you be sure that your writers aren’t switching back and forth between UK and US spelling? It’s super simple – you can go through your spell checker’s settings and configure it to suit your preferences. For instance, I’m currently writing this post in Word, and I have my spell checker set to US English. Just go to File, Options, and then the Proofing tab. 

Native Speaking Copywriter Check

If you are using Grammarly, which is a super popular grammar checking service, you can choose between American, Canadian, British, and Australian English. 

Once you have optimized your settings, give the article a quick run-through to make sure that your copywriter isn’t switching back and forth between styles.

Red Flag #3: Poor Choice of Words

Sometimes it seems like a copywriter has swallowed a thesaurus and vomited up a big, stinky pile of gibberish. Perhaps this is because they are trying their hardest to make the article unique from similar posts, so they are looking up alternatives to as many words as possible. Here’s the problem – you can’t just swap out synonyms and expect the article to flow as nicely. English is a nuanced language, and non-native copywriters may have a difficult time understanding why one word is acceptable, but a similar word is not. It’s all about context!

For instance, “budget surplus” is a specific term that refers to when a business’ income is greater than its expenses. If a copywriter looks up synonyms for surplus, they will find words such as plethora, superfluity, profusion, and more. Yet, if you write “budget superfluity,” it makes no sense. Copywriters need to be able to determine what an acceptable word substitution is, rather than relying on a thesaurus. 

So, you could give your editor the task of swapping out every single improperly used word. Or, you can save time and effort by making sure to hire native-speaking copywriters.

How To Find a Great, Native-Speaking Copywriter

Perhaps English isn’t your native language, and the thought of checking for these red flags is daunting. Maybe you are worried that you wouldn’t be able to catch these subtle mistakes. Well, if that’s the case, you probably don’t want to hire a writer off of Fiverr, Upwork, or other services. Those companies have no way of verifying or guaranteeing that the writer you hire has a great command of English. All you have to go off of are reviews and samples of work, and even those can be faked. 

Your best bet is to look for a copywriting organization that hires copywriters whose first language is English. These organizations usually have a vetting process where they give potential writers test tasks and will only hire those who can write excellently. On top of this, these organizations can afford to have native English-speaking editors who make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. 

Take, for instance, Contenteam. It is a copywriting company with dozens of employees, years of experience, and stellar reviews. Not only does the company have several native English-speaking writers and editors, but it also provides unlimited edits to guarantee its clients are satisfied.  I am the company’s editor-in-chief, and I have implemented a rigorous testing and examination procedure that every copywriter must go through. I can vouch that every single writer is thoroughly tested, and their articles are carefully examined. We do not rest until our clients have received top-notch articles. Don’t fret over having to comb over every single piece of copy; work with Contenteam, and we’ll bring you convenience and beautiful texts. 

If you already have a copywriter, but doubt that they are fully proficient in English, you can contact me personally by email. I will take a look at their texts and give you my opinion. From one colleague to another, I want your business to succeed!


About Victoria Michael

Editor-in-Chief from St. Louis, Missouri, USA. B.A. in education, certified linguist. Future Writer Award winner. Victoria leads content projects on Software Development, SaaS, Medicine, HR.

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