Re: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technical writer?

Subject: Re: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technical writer?
From: Mike Starr <mikestarr-techwr-l -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: "Borowik, Kristy" <Kristy_Borowik -at- lcca -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 May 2008 09:11:32 -0500

Yesterday, in another thread, Sean Brierly came up with this suggestion:

Sean Brierley wrote:
> A technical communicator creates communication that is clear, concise,
> comprehensive, accurate, correct, accessible, accurate, and
> professional, using a variety of methods, tools, and technologies, that
> can include writing, illustration, photography, video, and sound, for a
> variety of static and dynamic deliverables, including print media and
> online media.

I then worked it over and came up with this:

Technical communicators create a variety of print and online documents that are clear, concise, comprehensive, accurate, correct, accessible, and professional. Typical deliverables include manuals, online documentation, proposals, policies and procedures, and websites. Technical communicators work in all types of businesses and industries around the world and use a variety of methods, tools, and technologies including writing, illustration, graphic design, photography, video, and sound.

Incidentally, I'm not a proponent of brevity at all costs nor am I inclined toward packaging the whole thing into a single sentence. Word tells me this paragraph contains 63 words. I don't think that's too much.

Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Technical Illustrator
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -

Borowik, Kristy wrote:
> Yesterday I started a debate amongst the STC board of directors, trying
> to get them to change their proposed definition to include the word
> "ensure" rather than the word "assure." Merriam Webster clearly states
> that the word "assure" "distinctively implies the removal of doubt or
> suspense from a person's mind." So how can they possibly use the word in
> their definition? A few of the members agree with me. One has changed it
> in the survey they sent out yesterday, but this morning I received an
> e-mail from the director of communications that makes me think the
> discussion is not over. He simply thinks the word means something else.
> He said it means "to give likelihood to." Nowhere could I find that
> definition. I seriously think he made it up. I'm curious about what you
> all think of both the debate and the definition.
> My co-worker and I are concerned with the sole mention of equipment. Is
> it not leaving out the biggest chunk of technical communicators in the
> software field (and others)?
> The definition: Develop and design instructional and informational tools
> needed to assure safe, easy, proper and complete use of technical goods.
> Combines multi-media knowledge and strong communication skills with
> technical expertise to educate across the entire spectrum of users'
> abilities, technical experience, and visual and auditory capabilities."
> Of course it also bothers me that the serial comma is not used in the
> second line. But I have yet to do a formal survey to see how many of us
> use it and how many don't. I was under the impression that more do than
> don't, but I have only my experience with the STC tech editing SIG to go
> by.
> And then shouldn't technical experience also be plural as the other
> items in that series, for logic and parallelism? Oh this STC group just
> hurts my head!
> Kristy Borowik

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What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technical writer?: From: Borowik, Kristy

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