RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken

Subject: RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken
From: David Hailey <david -dot- hailey -at- usu -dot- edu>
To: Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 May 2008 07:38:53 -0600

Goldstein says:
"When people have interviewed me for positions as a tech writer, they've
made it clear that text, graphics, live presentations, and collaborative
meetings with SMEs were all part of the package. I don't think they were
confused at all -- or "uneducated," for that matter."

I think they are both confused and uneducated. It comes from using names in a casual manner. For people outside the profession, using the titles interchangeably is not unreasonable. But people within the profession should be more careful with their terms. Using terms about the profession more carefully makes it possible to discuss our profession at a greater depth and with greater accuracy.

A documentation specialist is a technical writer, but not all technical writers are documentation specialists. A technical writer is a technical communicator but not all technical communicators (e.g., technical animators, technical illustrators) are technical writers. You may happily call yourself "technical writer" or "technical communicator," and you would be correct. But to make the mistake of assuming "TW" and "TC" mean the same thing, excludes about half the jobs in the "TC" community. Remember that technical artists and technology instructors are also technical communicators, but they are not necessarily writers.

When I suggest that we be technical communicators, I am not suggesting that we call ourselves "technical communicators." I am suggesting we adopt lifestyle like Leonards and JagDrivers, where we are constantly expanding our knowledge outside the narrower discipline of writing, into the broader discipline of communication. The difference is not in name -- call yourself anything you want. The difference is in lifestyle.

Dave
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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken: From: Michael West
RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken: From: Dan Goldstein

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