Tech Writing: The Second Generation

Subject: Tech Writing: The Second Generation
From: "Mark L. Levinson" <nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 07 Mar 2002 13:30:30 +0200

Dick asks:
> Anyone else out
> there following in a parent's footsteps in this trade?

Even before there were computers, there was a profession
called systems analysis. Same philosophy, but the systems
were based on human and mechanical work. My stepfather
was a systems analyst, and I inherited from him a
Chicago Manual of Style and a book called _Documentation
Standards_.

He said to me once, "There's a wonderful word that
can improve almost any sentence: 'ongoing'. For
example, instead of saying 'this situation', you say
'this ongoing situation'. It makes a much better
impression."

Yeah, right. Gag me with an ongoing spoon. But for
my stepfather this sort of trick worked, because
more than he was a technical writer, he was a business
writer. Bureaucrats were his readership. Folks tend
to think of the history of technical writing as
going back to the aeronautical documentation of
World War II, but technical writing is also descended
from business writing. Today's computerized office
procedures are descended from yesterday's paperwork.

Mark L. Levinson
Herzlia, Israel
nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il



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