Level of writing

Subject: Level of writing
From: Patty Meglio <pmeglio -at- lct -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 10:12:20 -0600

I am curious about what other techwhirlers might do in this situation.
I had a conversation the other day about a person who is a SME in a high
level technical environment, possibly scholastic, who writes papers,
guides, and articles about highly technical information mostly for very
technical people. The question came up as to what level of writing this
information should follow. While taking into account the high level of
technical expertise of the audience (I am not sure exactly what the
audience is, though I think it varies somewhat), I thought that most
technical writing should be written in eighth grade English, with
appropriate technical jargon for easy and fast readability.

She disagreed. She countered that if the audience thinks in highly
technical, highly scholastic or technical background, it should be written
as such, even if the text is long and wordy. If this information is of an
instructional nature, I would find it difficult to read large amounts of
text that was written in a level as high as college level and I think most
people would, especially if they needed the information quickly.

I know I'm being a bit nebulous about the information presented, but I
could not get more information than this from my friend. Does anyone know
of any rules governing the level of writing for a technical audience? What
would you do in this situation?

Patty Meglio
Technical Communications Specialist
pmeglio -at- lct -dot- com

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