RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken

Subject: RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken
From: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: "'Gene Kim-Eng'" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 5 May 2008 13:07:35 -0700

> From: Gene Kim-Eng

> I'm not contradicting your conclusion. I am contradicting your
> assumptions. Business writing is "technical" writing in that it:
>
> a) Requires specialized skills and knowledge
>
> b) Uses terminology or treats subject matter in a manner
> specific to a particular field
>
> c) Produces documentation that must meet specific rules
> and requirements
>
> d) (Finally, the reason that trumps all others) it is performed
> by professionals who are frequently employed under the
> title of "technical writer."

You are not arguing against the classes of writing, you are basing your
argument on the job title that the writer holds. The controversy over
whether technical writing and business writing are the same was based on the
type of writing performed and not the job title of the writer. Your reasons
for why business writing is technical writing would also apply to lawyers,
who need to abide by a-c. Lawyers call their style of writing legal writing
and not technical writing, although the definition of legal writing is very
similar to your definition of technical writing.
http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/legal_writing Feel free to correct the
legal community on its mis-classification of technical writing as legal
writing.

Your apparent assumption that business writing is performed by technical
writers (you seem to imply exclusivity) is misguided. Business writing can
be performed by technical writers, but it is usually performed by business
analysts, independent (consultant) business writers, or persons who hold
specialized job titles, like FSR Writer. Just because a technical writer
can write business documents does not mean that business writing is
technical writing. Technical writers can also prepare project documentation
or training documentation.

By extension of your definition, then project documentation and training
documentation is also technical writing because some technical writers have
written those types of documents. Project managers and trainers have also
written those documents. Do you suggest that the documents derive their
class names from the title of the writer who wrote them? Or are you
suggesting that whenever a particular style of document is written by a
technical writer that the class of writing for that document will from then
on be technical writing?

> Ultimately, the definition of "technical writer" is set not by
> the opinions of those who work in the profession, the STC
> or the DOL, but by those who hire them and for whom
> they work. If you are producing documents for me and
> your title is "technical writer," then you are a technical writer.
> The particular type of documents you are working on
> and the particular skills and knowledge that convinced
> me you were qualified to do them does not determine that,
> nor does the opinion of anyone else, and I will butt heads
> with anyone who tries to tell you that you don't deserve the
> title until the cows come home.

I do not understand why you have interpreted my discussion about classes of
writing as an argument about job titles or professional classifications of
writers. Was there something early on in this thread that flagged this
before I argued against the claim that technical writing and business
writing are the same? Just because one writer can write both business and
technical documents, does not mean that both classes of documents are the
same.

Lauren


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References:
Re: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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