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I agree with Julia -- absolutely! Sometimes writers tend to get carried away
by grand things like evolution of "technology and its language". I fail to
understand what causes people to deviate from the premise, which lead
to development of technical writing as a distinct profession in the first
"You are writing for the end users. This is your job and if the end users
cannot understand what you write, you are lacking somewhere."
Lauren has a point about evolution. Things evolve and technical terminology
is no exception. But you have to see whether the end user has evolved too.
Is he or she abreast of the latest technical terminology? Glossaries are not
a solution to this. If your end users are fuddy duddies, I guess it makes
sense for you to be on the same wave length or at least try and explain the
meaning of the evolved terminology as you write.
On 6/7/07, Julia Norquist <techiejules -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
> Lauren said:
> "I think that the biggest problem in the use of "to persist" comes from
> thinking writers that obsess over word usage because they do not
> the language of developers.
> "Technical writers do not document conversational language, they document
> language of technology. I think that it is a waste of time and energy to
> confuse the two languages because they share words and then try to impose
> conversational language onto technology. Technology and its language
> evolves very fast. Isn't it better to be current with the language of
> technology than to resist its evolution?
> "Fuddy duddies don't like change. Technical writers should be as dynamic
> evolutionary as the world they document."
> I disagree. Finding a neologism clunky and awkward doesn't make a person a
> fuddy-duddy. Any good writer looks for widely accepted guides such as the
> dictionary, MSTP, CMS, and so on. Any well-organized company has a style
> guide where it's agreed how to spell "e-mail" and format telephone numbers.
> I had a pleasant, but vigorous, argument on my first day here whether
> "barcoding" is one word (their opinion) or two (mine), because I'm writing a
> user guide for a barcoding application (I gave in because they already
> started writing the software).
> When faced with some kooky new term, I consult the authorities and make
> educated choices. I'm not going to arbitrarily adopt new words and call that
> the evolution of language. Instead, I think like a user. Am I going to hear
> a resounding "Huh?" from my readers? Is my help desk going to receive calls
> from people saying, "Hey, on page 32 you've got some kind of typo"?
> "Persist" is clumsy as a transitive verb, so thank God they're not asking
> me to use it here. I have yet to lay down the sword over "project manage"
> and "administrate."
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