Off-topic : Techwriting styles?

Subject: Off-topic : Techwriting styles?
From: Solena -dot- LEMOIGNE -at- fr -dot- thalesgroup -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 11:32:36 +0200

I think this post is off-topic, as it is not directly related to the
techcomm world. If you're not interested, just skip it. I don't want to use
people's time needlessly.

I used to create all my documentation in English. After a few years doing
this, I had developed a personal style: concise, unambiguous and (I was
told) clear and light to read. Fine.
Now I am writing all my documentation in French, and I feel I'm a terrible
writer in French, much worse than in English at any rate. I don't need other
people telling me I could have been more concise, or clear... I knew it when
I wrote those sentences, and I can't seem to identify, for the moment, where
I could improve.

Yet, French is my native language. Looking back on my studies, I have
roughly spent the same time studying both languages, their vocabulary and
grammar, and have roughly the same level in both languages. I lived much
longer in French-speaking countrie than in English-speaking countries.
Where could this difference of ease come from ? Is it a lack of practice ?
(I had been writing in English for about 6 months before reaching this
style, and I have only been 2 months at this position) Is it someting that
is embedded in the language ? (ie: Is it more difficult to express the same
idea with basic French than with basic English ?)

I was wondering if other people who have two languages have been in the same
situation. For those who write in only one language, do you also have the
feeling that you have your "own style" (within the company's rules)?

Also, could one's style (and the comments on it) be an asset when trying to
have oneself hired by a company? How could you justify this as writing
styles' tastes vary widely over the world?

I'm on digest, please answer directly (especially as it is off-topic). I'll
post a summary of your answers, analysis and comments to the list in about a

Solena Le Moigne
Thales Communications - Cholet
solena -dot- lemoigne -at- fr -dot- thalesgroup -dot- com


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