Re: Now entering the 4th dimension?

Subject: Re: Now entering the 4th dimension?
From: Deborah Hemstreet <dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com>
To: Technical Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 01 Jan 2009 18:38:00 -0500

I could not agree with Geoff more... the real problem is trying to get
consistency between marketing and yourselves. Following the Chicago
Manual of Style is great as a rule. You need those rules to make sure
that everyone is writing in the same manner. But when writing for your
specific audience, you may need to make adaptations - that is where your
unique in-house style guide comes in.

In my 20 years of medical writing, I have seen both 3-D and 3D used. As
Geoff pointed out, there are arguments for both. In general, when the
decision was left up to me (as for our manuals), I chose the
unhyphenated form. When I had to follow journal instructions, I went by
the standard in the journal. Unfortunately, ambiguity reigns today. Some
journals state that you no longer need to define commonly used
abbreviations. According to that standard, 3D would be acceptable, but
5D would not... since five dimensional is not common (at least not yet
to my knowledge).

I have always preferred as few hyphens as possible, to reduce the
characters a person needs to take in. When using 3D a lot (as often
happens with medical writing), the text can get pretty noisy. I would
urge you to have a meeting with Marketing and use this problem to
initiate something far more important - for you to develop a terminology
guide that ALL of the people in your company would use. In this way, you
will take care of more than the troublesome "3D" vs "3-D" issue, but
make sure that all the marketing people, and your group, are on the same
wave length.

In the situation where I used to work, we had the problem of
electro-physiologist vs electrophysiologist vs EP vs E.P. physician used
in our company's literature. I could not get marketing's involvement for
standardizing anything. As a result, my documentation was the only thing
consistent in the company. I don't know if it was funny or sad when
marketing gave a presentation to people in Israel, and the Israeli's
came to ME asking why marketing didn't give me the presentations to give
the "correct" and consistent terminology...

My point - this is a good opportunity to be proactive. I would have
HAPPILY used electro-physiologist (even though I personally hate that
spelling), if I could have gotten buy-in across the company to write
anything the same way - everywhere!

I hope these thoughts are helpful - O, and Happy 2009!


Geoff Hart wrote:....

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Now entering the 4th dimension?: From: Geoff Hart

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