Instruction Manuals for Other Places

Subject: Instruction Manuals for Other Places
From: Amy Gale <amyg -at- grammatech -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 08 Feb 2006 17:10:36 -0500

There is a serious need for these, I think. It's nice to give little scripts in phrasebooks, and write an "about the culture" section in travel guides, but sometimes you need something a little more task-oriented[*].

I wrote a small one for my parents a few years ago when they visited NYC. It had procedures like "buying a cup of coffee" and "taking a cab". They even allowed for system malfunction (what do you say when the coffee guy says something interrogative but you don't understand? [**]).

It would be a great project for a technical writer or a group of technical writers. I call dibs on NYC.


[*] Most useful piece of "orientation" paraphernalia I got at school here: a labeled diagram of a filled-out check (ours are surprisingly different). Most horrifying and counterproductive: a 3 page document titled "What is a US American?". Apparently you all like showers and deodorant, and it's difficult to develop close, deep friendships.

[**] Yes, "I beg your pardon?" is a reasonable response, but chances are that your NZ-tuned ears won't do any better the second time. It's generally more productive to just say "black, please" the first time and "to go, please" the second time. JMO. YMMV.

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