RE: Humor in technical writing
While I like humor as much as anyone, I can think of another reason why
humor in technical documents is a bad idea...translation. When manuals
have to be localized into German, French or Japanese (for example) many
jokes and US-centric cultural assumptions do not translate well. Prime
(if not exactly technical) examples are the infamous Chevy Nova ("doesn't
go" in Spanish)and Coca Cola ("bite the wax tadpole" in Chinese)
I don't have the quote quite accurate, but the fellow who translated the perl documentation said that the jokes fell into three categories:
1. Jokes that were funny in the <new language>. I translated these directly.
2. Jokes that weren't funny in the <new language/culture>. For these
I tried to find a cultural equivalent.
3. Jokes I did not get.
That last category can really kill you.
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