RE: Secretary Proofing Manuals?

Subject: RE: Secretary Proofing Manuals?
From: Kim Roper <kim -dot- roper -at- vitana -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 17:04:33 -0400

Tina Dean wrote:

> The manuals have to have her final approval before they go
> out the door.
> She will mark up copies, check for typos, and check consistency for an
> already-agreed-upon style (of which a style guide is in the
> making, hence
> the style meetings).

I'm okay with that, as long as she's held accountable for signing off.

>
> I feel like this should be a technical writing/publications manager's
> responsibility - not an administrative assistant.

You are a writer, not a typist. She's checking for spelling, style and
format, not content. I consider the non-content stuff to be antwork, and in
doing it, she's freeing up editing time for your technical and publications
people. (Say it with me: "Leverage your resources! Leverage your
resources!") She's proofing, not setting the standard, right?

>
> I am wondering if alot of companies do this? Does anyone out there get
> frustrated in not having control and authority over their
> product? I feel
> like a glorified secretary!!

I don't like making typos, but I make them anyway. (It's a dirty job, but
someone has to do it.) I'm not thrilled at having someone point out that
something is out of alignment or the word "inverter" doesn't have a "b" in
it, but I'd be relieved that someone caught it before it went out the door.
Besides, I get close to my documents (who doesn't?), so if I overlooked the
typo ten times already ... you get the idea. I don't expect the SMEs to
look for this stuff; they have a big enough job checking on the technical
content. Besides, I catch more typos than I make, and I don't make an issue
of them if they're not going outside.

Of course, all of this is moot if the admin doesn't have the personality for
it. If she acts like every little typo is a crushing blow to your
competence, well, I'm right behind you in the righteous indignation
department. If she's low-key about it and acts like a professional, and
especially if she makes useful suggestions, I'd consider her a fresh pair of
eyes that I can trust to catch my gaffs when I'm trying to do fifteen things
at once.

Treat her professionally and see if she does the same. Don't create a
battleground. Besides, she might hate this tour of duty. Don't be the
reason for it. She *is* the admin.

I sympathize, though. I'm picky about who I trust to review my docs for
style, format and the like. It's a load off my mind when I find someone I
can trust *and* is willing to take on the responsibility. My SMEs are
really good about content; it's rarely an issue here.

Cheers ... Kim
mailto:kim -dot- roper -at- vitana -dot- com

Technical Writers do it in styles.



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