Re: Choosing the right word: Guidelines for our global audience

Subject: Re: Choosing the right word: Guidelines for our global audience
From: Mary Arrotti <mary_arrotti -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Kate Wilcox <kwilcox -at- ensim -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2007 12:04:30 -0700 (PDT)

Kate Wilcox <kwilcox -at- ensim -dot- com> wrote: ...I'm working for a company with a distributed workforce (writers in the US and India) and a global audience, I'm starting to question which words are right...I'm talking about common English words that have different connotations to different readers and writers.
Assuming that your audience would be similarly mixed, I'd recommend tracking commonly misunderstood phrases - along with recommended substitutes - in a style guide. Make sure the guide is easily available to all writers & editors and that it's updated regularly.

It might also be useful to confirm that your different groups share an understanding of what makes for good technical communication. For example, a US-based writer may define good technical communication as being direct, clear, and concise. How important are these attributes to your various groups? Would they rather provide indirect (more polite) information instead of direct instructions? Do they distinguish technical writing from other types of writing? It may be that some of your writers have writing preferences that are defined more by their culture than the audience.

It's important to identify who your audience is - what type of English they read & write, how familiar they are with existing technical writing. For example, you may write to an international audience who are very familiar with Microsoft products & documentation. In that case, formality in your technical docs may not be expected or even appreciated.

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Choosing the right word: Guidelines for our global audience: From: Kate Wilcox

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