TW versus TC

Subject: TW versus TC
From: Michael West <WestM -at- conwag -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 7 May 2008 16:40:30 +1000

Bonnie opined:

> Don't ask me why, but I want to go on record
> as thinking that while there is such a thing
> as technical communication, calling someone
> a technical communicator shows a lack of ability
> to communicate and is just downright silly. It
> says nothing at all meaningful to one who reads
> it or hears it. It demands fleshing out, so it's
> basically -- or should be -- antithetical to anyone
> who's involved in using language with precision.

> I will never be a technical communicator (I hope).

Your choice, of course. But you mustn't say the term isn't meaningful to

The main reason I prefer TC to TW is that a lot of what we do is not
strictly verbal, but also visual. We use nonverbal symbols, placement,
density, colour, perhaps even sound, as well as written sentences, to
communicate. I have always done so in my work, at any rate.

We research, we analyze, we test, we trobleshoot and diagnose. Is that
writing? If you say it is, then you have stretched the definition of
"writing" to the point where it begins to morph into something else.

Moreover, our real contract with our audience is not just to "write", but
to get the needed info from source to target. The job, in other words,
doesn't stop with "writing". It stops when the audience has learned what
they needed to learn.

Mike West
Melbourne, Australia


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