re native speakers

Subject: re native speakers
From: nosnivel <nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 02:05:34 -0800 (PST)

Monica wrote:
> I've specified "native-level fluency". This sends the
> message about desired skill level while not limiting it to
> actual natives (many of whom would not qualify).

Many years ago, I was hired as the first technical writer at the
Israeli development center of a company that had a dozen veteran
writers sitting in California and waiting to see me fail. I recall
that one day a particularly abominable job of writing hit my desk
and I was horrified to see by its cover page that it had already been
publicly released. I waved it in my boss's face and cried out,
"How can I gain us any credibility as an offshore writer if this
kind of arrant dreck is leaving the office behind my back?" He
looked at the fine print, cocked his head, and said, "Actually
this was published in California..."

While the existence of incompetent native speakers doesn't
automatically imply the existence of competent non-native
speakers in similar numbers, certainly there are exceptions
in both groups.

Mark L. Levinson
Herzliya, Israel
nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il


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