Re: Tech Comm Survey - Literacies of the field

Subject: Re: Tech Comm Survey - Literacies of the field
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2004 21:22:54 -0400

Literacies of the field. Didn't Sidney Poitier star in that one? [It's still Friday somewhere, isn't it?]

What kinds of literacies (shouldn't that be either "what kinds of literacy" or "what literacies"?) does one need to be a successful professional in tech writing?

Well, like so much else, it depends. Certainly one needs to write literately. That is, a writer should be able to form sentences and paragraphs that native speakers of the language can read without wincing. A tech writer should have a certain degreee of cultural literacy attuned to the particular field in which he or she is writing--know the argot well enough to know when the target audience would find it pedantic and condescending to spell out an acronym or define a term of art. In many fields a tech writer should possess sufficient mathematical literacy to spot obvious errors in equations and calculations; enough engineering and scientific literacy to avoid making grammatically correct but factually absurd assertions; enough computer literacy to make sense of code, even in an unfamiliar language; enough business process literacy to draw a credible flowchart or org chart; enough graphic arts literacy to produce a readable, if utilitarian, document; enough software literacy to put together a Web site, design a simple database, construct a spreadsheet, .... What was the question, again?

ccrim -at- unmc -dot- edu wrote:

I'm a new graduate student in tech comm. I have been assigned to write a
series of articles about what kinds of literacies students need to be
successful professionals in the field. If anyone could offer an opinion(s)
of the various aspects of literacy in tech comm, I would greatly appreciate


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Tech Comm Survey - Literacies of the field: From: ccrim

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