I would say that there’s no need to be embarrassed to use an editing service. In my opinion, all publication quality writing needs to go through multiple editors before it becomes available, understandable, and publication ready. This is a proven process in the publishing industry, e.g. for books, magazines, and graphic novels, and academic publishing is no different. As an author, your role differs to that of an editor. The Editor’s job is to ensure the original or intended meaning is maintained with each successive version of the manuscript. This is why, for example, translated manuscripts often take longer to reach publication quality.
The first thing I would ask you is, how much of that embarrassment is driven by your disappointment in your English ability, and how much is driven by societal pressure? To take a personal example, I used to be embarrassed that I felt sick after about three alcoholic drinks. To be clear, I’m not disappointed in my liver’s ability to metabolize alcohol: one or two is the perfect amount for me. What was frustrating is the social environment that encouraged me to drink more, even when I wasn’t interested.
This isn’t a perfect analogy: I can’t ‘study’ to improve my alcohol metabolism like I can with a skill, such as writing English or playing the piano. In that case, if you’re a writer who values your English ability, I’d argue that writing English and having it edited by a writing expert is the perfect way to improve! You know you are investing in your ongoing education, which will help you grow more than the person who is convinced they are good enough already.
The second thing I would ask these customers is how much do you value your time? For example, if it takes you 10 hours to write a paper in your native language and 30 hours to write the same paper in English, how much value do you derive out of those extra 20 hours of labor? Do you enjoy the intellectual stimulation of researching terms and phrases and writing in a foreign language, or just find it frustrating? Maybe you enjoy the stimulation, but feel there are limits to what you can accomplish by yourself. In that case, bringing in an English Editor or Translator might be the best option for your personal development. After studying professionally-edited English, you can write future papers more confidently, or use the English for presentations, posters, and discussions with your colleagues. There’s no reason to be embarrassed about wanting to use your limited and valuable time in the most efficient way.
Echoing the words of Daniel and Mark, I would say there is no shame admitting that people who grew up speaking and writing English will be able to help you express your ideas more effectively and accurately in English. Like many English speakers, my ability to speak other languages is minimal (I can speak and write one other language haltingly and have a few words and phrases of a third). I also know that English is a very difficult language to learn. I therefore have huge admiration and respect for any non-native speaker of English who can express themselves in English at all! I do not think it is at all shameful to ask professionals to help ensure that your English is up to native-speaker standard, since it is well known that it is very difficult for a non-native speaker of any language ever to be as fluent as a native speaker.
Many of our current customers are fluent in English, as they studied their PhDs in the US or UK and yet they are fully occupied by routine teaching, research, and daily administrative matters. As a result, they have run out of time. Some professors found us and they are also clear about what we can do for them. With our proven quality services, we gradually become their partners in helping polish their English papers before submitting. This collaboration releases so much of our customers’ burden, while enhancing the overall quality of their career life. They not only don’t feel embarrassed at all, but simply appreciate our services and happy to share the experiences with their colleagues.
I think it is normal for authors to use a professional English editing service because English is not their mother tongue and they don’t need to feel embarrassed at all. I even recommend them to use an English editing service.
I am not sure why customers feel embarrassed to use professional English editing service. If the reason is others might think your English is not good enough as a professor, then I would like to propose these questions: Do you think majority of your time is spent in research or language and do you think any English speakers could express their research in Chinese better than you, or vice versa? Asking for help is never a problem for me. I know there are always people who are better than me in many ways. If I am an author who is going to submit a paper to an international journal, asking for a professional English editing service could improve my language quality and thus my chances of getting published. I think this is my ultimate goal when writing a paper. Using a professional English editing service is only a tool.