re: level of writing

Subject: re: level of writing
From: Bill Hartzer <BHartzer -at- cha-systems -dot- com>
To: "'Techwr-l'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 13:42:11 -0600


The most important phrase I got out of your explanation of this was:
"If this information is of an
instructional nature, I would find it difficult..."

"I would find it difficult..." is VERY important here because this is NOT
what YOU would find difficult. It is whether or not the USER or READER
would find it difficult.

In my opinion, tech writing is all about being able to get the point across
to your
reader. If your readers are highly technical people then you need to write
for that
audience. If your readers are eighth graders then you need to write for
And if your readers are third graders then you need to write in even simpler

The art of being a fine technical writer is to be able to figure out who
your readers are
and write so THEY can understand!

Bill Hartzer
Technical Writer
CHA Systems, Inc.
2711 LBJ Freeway
Suite 172
Dallas, TX 75234
phone: 972-892-7566
email: bhartzer -at- cha-systems -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
From: Patty Meglio [SMTP:pmeglio -at- lct -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2000 10:12 AM
Subject: Level of writing

I am curious about what other techwhirlers might do in this
I had a conversation the other day about a person who is a SME in a
level technical environment, possibly scholastic, who writes papers,

guides, and articles about highly technical information mostly for
technical people. The question came up as to what level of writing
information should follow. While taking into account the high level
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
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
could not get more information than this from my friend. Does anyone
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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