Re: Non-technical technical writers

Subject: Re: Non-technical technical writers
From: Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>
To: "dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com" <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 08:56:10 -0800

Hey Dana,

The TechCom field is so varied that many people specialize in the
technical aspects of information management and instructional theory
rather than the specifics of the technology of the product.

Of course, it always helps to have a solid understanding of the
product. But it's almost easier to coach a skilled communicator on the
nuts and bolts of the technology than to coach a technical specialist
to communicate clearly. Technology specialists (and I am painting a
broad brush) ignore the rule to "know your audience; your audience is
not you."

You raised an interesting point though: I don't see how anyone can
succeed in this field without at least some interest in the technology
they work with.


On 2012-01-17, at 8:34 AM, "Dana Worley (MVP/JB)" <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com> wrote:

> I find it interesting that on a list of technical writers, there are many people who say they rate on a scale of 1 to 3 when it comes to being technically savvy. I further find interest in comments that boil down to "my company produces Android apps, but I have no desire to learn about Android". How can you write documentation that will be useful to your users if you have no experience with the technology?
> I know technical takes on all forms, so perhaps many are technical in a particular field while being Luddites in most others, but it seems to me it would behoove any technical writer to try to be at least a little familiar with "technology".
> It reminds me of a conversation I had with a woman a few months ago at a seminar. She introduced herself as a technology writer, but later told me she knew nothing about technology. I file that in the category of "things that make you go, 'huh'".
> Dana

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Non-technical technical writers: From: Dana Worley (MVP/JB)

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