off topic: Tech writing styles

Subject: off topic: Tech writing styles
From: "G. Abenhaim" <g -dot- abenhaim -at- nhc -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 10:19:27 -0400

> Hi Solena,
> I agree 100% with what you are saying. I am also a tech.writer who's
> language is French and actually write manuals in English and sometimes in
> Spanish due to the fact the my clients are all over the world. I find
> my English manuals are more grammatically correct and concise compared to
> the French or Spanish ones. I am positive that it is a lack of practice in
> writing the language like we used to in school. We used to practice evry
> single day.
> Today, if we write in French, it is because we are told to do an
> and we do the best we can. But to translate technical words or phrases
> you are thinking of them in English is sometimes hard because you dont
> to get lost in the translation. Use a good technical dictionnary if you
> to. It pays off and your manager doesn't have to know.
> I used to work for a software company a long tim ago that produces
> for the travel industry. Do you know how hard it was to create the same
> illusion, the same process and the same point to users in French as in the
> English version? My boss wanted both final versions to look the same. I
> tried to explain to him, that it would be very hard because the French
> language has many more grammar words thus longer sentences and longer
> manuals. It is not as simple as in English. The final French manual had
> about 50 pages more than the English version. I didnt have any other
> for that but sometimes you gotta do what you have to and explain to them
> that you cannot do it "word for word".
> As the saying goes, "practice makes perfect". So, try and practice your
> French writing skills as if you were writing for your old teacher. You
> learn new words, I can guarantee it.
> Good luck,
ControlPoint Software
NHC Communications Inc.


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