Re(2): I'm taking my marbles and going home...

Subject: Re(2): I'm taking my marbles and going home...
From: Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2002 19:13:03 +0200

>Technical Writers don't need to =be= experts, they just need =access= to

Depending on what you mean with "expert", I might disagree. If you mean
that the writer does not need to be on a similar level of expertise as
the SMEs themselves, you're probably right for most cases. If you mean
that just neing a technical writer means you can document almost
everything, I think you'd be wrong.

Much of course depends on the type of document you write: When you write
a user guide for a car (i.e., the manual for the driver), you probably
need very little in the way of technical knowledge if you have ever
driven a car yourself. (Although this makes you an expert, too, although
a very common kind.)

But when you write the repairs procedures, you need a good understanding
of how technicians are working with cars, what tools they have for which
purposes, how a car works internally, etc. You do not need to be able to
contruct a car, but you need, at least in principle, be able to repair
one yourself.

Same with programming manuals: If you want to write a manual for a
programming language or a fundamental programming tool or non-trivial
API, you need to be a programmer; there's just no way around it if you
want to create a decent manual.

Jan Henning

Jan Henning
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 700 0200 0700, Fax: +49 8179 9307-12
E-Mail: henning -at- r-l -dot- de, Web:

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