Re: When users want jargon

Subject: Re: When users want jargon
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 13:30:29 -0700 (PDT)

Anita asked about Jargon.
How big of a client are the people who want you to add the kind of jargon you're talking about? If they're your company's primary customer, for political reasons you might want to consider including the jargon. In general, though, you should avoid this. It WILL alienate other clients. Your best bet is to include index and glossary entries such as

degrowth - see removing equipment

That's assuming the jargon your users were talking about is not industry standard. If it IS industry standard, then you should definitely include the jargon. There's no reason not to, and leaving it out will only confuse your users. For example, when I was documenting 3D animation software, I didn't shy away from using terms like "tweening" and "keying" because those were industry terms that anyone in the industry should know. To be safe, I also included those terms in a glossary for the newbies, so you might think about doing that.

If you're not sure about what the standard industry terms are, check out a glossary for the industry. You can find them on web sites, in books, journals, etc. If you know for a fact that the client is using non-standard terms, then they need to learn to deal with that difference. :-) To be nice, you might think about creating a glossary that includes standard and non-standard terms.

Sean Hower

technical writer

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