Recipies as technical writing?

Subject: Recipies as technical writing?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: wsfn <WSFN -at- rocketmail -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2006 09:28:14 -0400

Faye wondered: <<Throughout my experience as a technical writer, my education, my professional experiences, and as an amateur cook, who ever said cook book writers were NOT technical writers?>>

Certainly not me. In a book chapter I published last year, here's how I defined technical communication: "In fact, it could be argued that any field that has a recognized body of practice and a language of its own (a jargon) could be considered "technical". Rather than limiting the scope of my discussion, I've chosen a broader definition of "technical" based on the word's Greek roots: techne refers to an "art" that represents a specific body of practice and comprises its own language and skills. (This etymology lies at the origin of the phrase "standards of the art" used in engineering.) Similarly, I've chosen to interpret the "communication" part of the phrase as any exchange that transfers information from its originator's head into the minds of an audience that must transform that information into knowledge or action. The medium of that change can be graphical or textual or auditory, and it can be online or on-paper or even oral. ("Oral" media include the work of those who perform technical training in the workplace, as well as the work of teachers at all levels in the educational system.)"

<<To be honest, doesn't anyone else remember being taught in college that a recipe for beer in Aramaic or some such is the first piece of technical writing?>>

To be honest, I was more involved as a "user" than "student of technical communication" in that specific context. Never did manage to read the manual... <g>

<<Just because a lot of us work in the IT field, it doesn't mean we are the only "technical writers" out there.>>

Indeed, I work primarily as a scientific communicator--with a specialization in editing English manuscripts written by ESL authors. About 80% of my clients are from China and Japan, but I work with people in pretty much every continent except Antarctica, and I imagine it's only a matter of time before I have clients there too. Much of the work is very focused on environmental biology, but there are occasional fascinating excursions into much wider fields (criminology, computing, economics). The world is wider than many of think, Horation. <g>

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 6, Issue 18 - recipies as technical writing: From: wsfn

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