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: Fred Ridder <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>, 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 08:36:27 -0600

Fred says,

At many companies documentation
specialist is a semi-clerical position which involves the non-writing
parts of the production, publication, and release of documentation
deliverables. Sometimes a documentation specialist will be responsible
for release notes or a readme file, but even there the task they
perform is often more one of assembly and editing than writing, per se.
But they would still fall under the technical communicator umbrella.

You are quibbling over terms. Yes, documentation specialists do things beyond the narrow definition of "writing," as everybody in all professions do things outside the narrow definitions of their professions. Medical supply salesmen "communicate" the technologies of their products, but nobody calls them "technical communicator."

It is a matter of degrees. Editing and publishing of written materials are all a part of the writing process, as is researching the content, discussing the process over the telephone, and managing the flow of materials. A documentation specialist who researches the material, coordinates the material, writes the content (adding illustrations, tables, etc.), and publishes the material online or in an analog environment is still a technical writer.

On the other hand, if a documentation specialist also begins developing tutorial animations as a part of the documentation, he or she also becomes a technical animator and (perhaps) a trainer. In this case, you are correct that the documentation specialist becomes a technical communicator, but he or she is no longer restricted to technical writing.

In the end, however, we seem to agree. Someone who does more than just documentation, may have moved out of the realm of writer and into the realm of communicator. "Technical writer" and "animator" = "Technical Communicator."

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
RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken: From: David Hailey
RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken: From: Fred Ridder

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