Re: What to look for in a technical editor

Subject: Re: What to look for in a technical editor
From: "Janice Gelb" <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 13:18:10 -0600

> From: Bonnie Granat:
> I don't think so, Dick. The point is that it's very easy for an editor =
> who doesn't understand the product to correct a sentence and change the =
> meaning. What the editor may think is a logically meaningless string of =
> words may be that -- but it may also not be that at all. It may be =
> meaningless to the editor only.

These stories don't convince me that a technical
editor should be responsible for technical accuracy
and know the technology forward and backward. They
convince me that you people have had bad experiences
with bad editors!

First of all, I'm having a hard time picturing a
situation where even without knowing the product I
wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a
situation where a grammar or punctuation correction
might change the technical meaning of a sentence or
where it was necessary to aid clarity. Especially
if it involved something like whether a comma should
be included.

But say I was in that situation. If there's even a chance
that an edit that moved a comma (or whatever) would change
the meaning of a sentence, I'd put a query in the margin that
read "If you're trying to say XXX, please remove the comma.
If you're trying to say YYY (or "If this is required by
the code" or whatever), the comma can remain." And it would
have to be a case where the comma crucially necessary to
aid the sentence if there was a possibility that changing
its presence would affect technical accuracy.

-- Janice


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