Re: Post-holiday reality: RE-THREAD?

Subject: Re: Post-holiday reality: RE-THREAD?
From: "Jason Kajkowski" <jnkajkowski -at- micronpc -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2001 13:15:03 -0700

sharon -at- sintecmedia -dot- com wrote:

<< wonder, do automotive manufacturers rely on tech writers to write
> owners'
> manuals? >>

And then Melissa L. Owsley wrote:

<<Yes, they do. They hire the CHEAPEST contract house in the Detroit area
do most of them. I have friend who worked on them - for that company. The
REALLY GOOD writers work on the stuff for the engineers and mechanics. Face

it, most people don't read the owners manual to a car - but they do read the

repair manual if they are a mechanic.>>

As a former technical writer (of owners' manuals) and editor (of shop
manuals) for one of these contract houses, I must say that the writers
preparing the shop manuals were NOT the best "writers," but were definitely
the most "technical." Many of them were former mechanics with no writing
experience. They knew how to diagnose an automotive problem and fix it. The
writing they did was within a highly structured format so tremendous writing
skills weren't necessary. That's what the technical editors were for.

On the flip side, the writers for the owners' manuals were predominantly
"writers" with a little "technical" knowledge. Most of the stuff in the
owners' manuals requires no real technical knowledge; things like how to
operate the radio and cruise control. We relied heavily on our SMEs for the
more technical stuff (fluid capacities and replacement specs, engine size,
etc.), although I must say it was pretty cool playing around with vehicle

<<Another thing to note, the Auto industry is EXTREMELY gun shy about legal
ramifications to anything that comes from them. The legal department has
LAST WORD for every document that goes out to a customer.>>

Absolutely true. Try getting a warning approved by an automotive company's
legal department. Takes months.

<<(I don't work for the auto companies because they are among the worst
groups in Detroit for Tech Writers.)>>

Yep. That and the intense bureaucracy are why I left.

Jason Kajkowski

Develop HTML-based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver! (STC Discount.)
**NEW DATE/LOCATION!** January 16-17, 2001, New York, NY. or 800-646-9989.

Sponsored by an
anonymous satisfied subscriber since 1994.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: OT: Tech writers and cookbooks
Next by Author: Word to PDF incongruities
Previous by Thread: Re: Post-holiday reality: RE-THREAD?
Next by Thread: Re: dreamweaver or frontpage?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads