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: "'Bonnie Granat'" <bgranat -at- granatedit -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 May 2008 13:42:14 -0700

> From: Bonnie Granat

> So what, other than technology, has functions,
> specifications, procedures,
> and other
> technical, or specialized functions?

Is that a rhetorical question? There are plenty of procedures that do not
involve technology, such as manual processes. There are many business
functions that are not technological, yet still require documentation.
Plenty of things are technical and specialized without technology as a
primary focus, like business operations, customer service, and shipping.

Technical writing has a place in all of those things, and so does general
business writing. The procedures manuals for the above would be technical
writing, but the communication plan would not be technical. It could not be
technical because technical writing is specific. A communication plan needs
flexibility for human interaction that does not always follow technical
rules. An analysis of resource loading to evaluate the need to expand the
employee base or an opportunity to reduce resources would result in a very
broad business and non-technical document. That resource analysis would
certainly *not* be technical writing.

> In the classical view, business writing is technical writing
> because of the
> content, which is specialized.

Unfortunately, textbooks do not always account for the dynamic nature of the
environments they depict.

Non-specialized content is also documented. Some documents are very general
and therefore are non-technical. Some content is intentionally vague for
business reasons. The fact that the "classical view" does not recognize the
existence of non-technical documentation does not mean that non-technical
documentation does not exist. This is an apparent limitation of what you
are describing as the "classical view."

> Business writing is technical writing in the classical view.
> If one were
> narrowing down the type of technical writing one performed,
> one would say
> "business writing" but one would be a technical writer.

When I write business documents, I am a business analyst. If I called
myself a technical writer, than my rate would be lower and expectations of
my abilities would be more focused to a specific subject rather than the
broader subject of business.

> > I think that technical writing is specialized because the
> > writing is focused on a specialized subject. There is
> > business writing that is not focused on a specialized subject
> > but is more general, like financial summaries that really do
> > not get into specifics but present a broad financial view of
> > a company. How can this type of writing be non-specialized,
> > but still be called technical?
> >
> You don't think that writing about financial matters requires an
> understanding of the subject of finance, or that writing
> about business
> requires an understanding of business principles?

Of course people need to understand broader disciplines to produce broad and
non-specialized documentation. I'm saying that when the writing is more
broad than technical, then it evolves beyond technical writing and this is
business writing.



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RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken: From: Bonnie Granat

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