Boring documentation?

Subject: Boring documentation?
From: "Hickling, Lisa (TOR)" <lhickling -at- Express-Scripts -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 15:41:21 -0500

Well said Julie! When you are a lone writer on a unilingual/unicultural
project, it's fun, possible and appropriate to explore your creative
side without fear of retribution. However, this may lead to disaster in
globalized docs. Knowing that cute might backfire, I think twice about
appearing too familiar or folksy in documents that are to be translated.

Then too on multi-author projects, there is the added overhead required
to harmonize each writer's take on humor and interest into the one cool
voice that makes it all work.

Lisa H.
GTA, Ontario

-----Original Message-----
From: Julie Stickler
Sent: Monday, April 03, 2006 3:58 PM

Every time we start another thread about "interesting" manuals,
writing styles, making the documentation "accessable" and so on I have
to wonder, does anyone on this list localize their documentation?

We translate our documentation into about a dozen languages, and many
of the guidelines for writing for a global audience are in direct
opposition to writing a folksy, Dummies-style book. We're supposed
to write short, clear sentences. We're supposed to avoid humor
because it doesn't translate. Avoid examples like sports metaphors
that might not be understood by other cultures. If I want to stay on
the good side of our localization manager, I CAN'T write a book that
looks anything like one of the Dummies books.

I don't write formal manuals because I am incapable of writing an
interesting book. I do it because that is the writing style that best
meets the needs of both my users and the company that employs me as a

******* Confidentiality Notice *******
ESI Canada -- Optimizing the value of drug and dental benefits

This email, its electronic document attachments, and the contents of its website linkages may contain confidential health information. This information is intended solely for use by the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If you have received this information in error, please notify the sender immediately and arrange for the prompt destruction of the material and any accompanying attachments.

******* Avis de confidentialite *******
ESI Canada -- Optimiser la valeur des regimes d'assurance medicaments et dentaires

Ce courriel ainsi que tout document y etant joint de meme que le contenu des liens vers des sites Web peuvent reunir des renseignements confidentiels sur la sante. Cette information s'adresse uniquement a l'usager ou a l'organisation auxquels elle est destinee. Si vous avez recu ce message par erreur, veuillez en aviser l'expediteur immediatement et proceder a la suppression du document et des fichiers joints sans tarder.


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.

Previous by Author: Re: Aviation/airline technical writers?
Next by Author: XML tag usage question
Previous by Thread: Re: Boring documentation?
Next by Thread: RE: Boring documentation?

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

Sponsored Ads