Re: Glossary Predicament!

Subject: Re: Glossary Predicament!
From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2002 09:58:00 -0400

On Tuesday 13 August 2002 08:49, kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com replied
to Dinesh Nair about including industry-basic terms in
the glossary:
> > I am preparing a product guide for a wireless billing
> > software. Do you guys think it would be a good idea to
> > explain terms like 3G, 2.5g, 2g and IN in the glossary?
> > Right now I am thinking insulting the reader's
> > intelligence is a far smaller risk than trying the
> > reader's patience.

> It would only be insulting if it were intrusive.
> Glossaries typically are placed at the end of a document,
> so your reader will only go there if they need to.

> Even industry-savvy folks get lost in the sea of acronyms
> sometimes, so I think there's no harm done by including
> these terms. Doing so also indicates that your company
> *understands* these terms.

Well, well, well! :-)

Let me just say this about that...

a) I look up acronyms that I should know, more frequently
than you'd expect for somebody halfway intelligent and
passingly knowledgeable about my industry. That's
because it's a fairly regular occurrence that I forget
what one (or a bunch) of my industry acronyms mean.
Like most people, I use acronyms *as* acronyms,
rarely expanding them to remind myself what the
letters mean. Often, acronyms are constructed with
the "next best" terms because somebody has already
used the ones the engineer (or marketing wonk) would
prefer to use, or because they can construct a really
catchy acronym with "nearly as good" terms, rather
than a dull or unpronounceable acronym with ideal terms.

When I get over my embarrassment and ask one of the
engineers, here at the company, it turns out that *they*
don't remember either. (Often it's just that we mix up
one of the letters for a different word that could fit
the same acronym.)

So, I look it up (or some other smart-ass does) and
then we all know it ... for a while... until we get so
accustomed to using it as an acronym that we forget
the expanded terms again...

b) The next technical writer who lands a job on a bluff
and a prayer will truly bless you if he/she discovers
your glossary while trying to get up to speed in the
strange new environment. :-)


** DIR-ty DEEDS, and they're DONE dirt cheap. (Sing it,

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