Re: Examples of Bad Technical Writing

Subject: Re: Examples of Bad Technical Writing
From: "Paul Pehrson" <paulpehrson -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 10:33:23 -0600


My supervisor recently acquired an MP3 player whose instruction manual
was poorly translated. Here are some excerpts from the manual:


Do not use this device in the extremely thermal, cold, dusty, and
watery circumstances..

More simple under FM interface, it only can do until the 3rd step and
deleted is present channel. Please plug the USB cable out after the
safe injection when delete the files in the computer. Otherwise it
will show that the file has not been deleted.

Warning: This program can just be used by the person who is
professional to repair this machine. This upgrade maybe can cause the
machine can not work again because of the incorrect operation.

The normal MP3 user can be troubled by 'Material Leakage' and they
would not like others to read themselves' personal data', they only
can delete this 'private data' when their friends borrow their Mp3,
which it cause big trouble.

Firstly, the user can see the format tool, select 'Partition and
password protect' and select the suitable space for the password
protected disk and then set up username and password, input 'New
username' in inputting username, input 'new password' in the inputting
password, after confirming 'new password', click 'start', then it
start to divide disk.

Remark: When connecting PC with player to transfer data, any operation
is forbidden. During this period, do not get out the USB in order to
avoid data transferring not completely or player damage.

There is some noise in the damaged MP3 and even can not play music,
please assure that the file is complete.


In any case, if you are interested, I photocopied the whole manual and
kept it for reference. If you want to contact me off list, I'd be
willing to fax it to you. (Its 10 pages long.)

It is probably a better example of bad translation, but because I
can't hardly make heads nor tails of the information, it comes across
as bad technical writing as well.

Paul Pehrson
Midvale, UT

--- Erin Cameron <ek_cameron -at- hotmail -dot- com> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> I'm searching around for bad examples of technical
> writing (for some tech writing courses I am taking).
> I've found a few on the Web already, but thought I
> would pose the question here as well, since there is
> so much wisdom and experience on this list. Any
> examples of particularly flawed technical writing
> you would like to share?
> I appreciate your input. Thanks so much!

WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content
delivery. Try it today!.

Doc-To-Help includes a one-click RoboHelp project converter. It's that easy. Watch the demo at

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- infoinfocus -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Examples of Bad Technical Writing: From: Erin Cameron
Re: Examples of Bad Technical Writing: From: Tony Markos

Previous by Author: RE: Conference
Next by Author: Re: Help help
Previous by Thread: Re: Examples of Bad Technical Writing
Next by Thread: Examples of Bad Technical Writing?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads