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Re: Post on Technical Writing vs. Technical Communication
Subject:Re: Post on Technical Writing vs. Technical Communication From:Phil Snow Leopard <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com> To:"Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net> Date:Wed, 4 Apr 2012 23:43:37 +0700
I like the curmudgeon-mode, but I can give it straight back at you:
I've read far more crap manuals — produced, presumably, by 'tech writers' (I'm talking about those that come with products from multinationals), than I care to mention — than I've read good ones.
In fact, good technical manuals are something of a rarity. Good html help is almost non-existent - you can find the answer to almost any technical question faster on google than the in-app html help of any software I own.
I'd also object to the implication that 'being young' equates to 'can't write'. I'm not young myslef (and I probably can't write too well), but I know many young writers who are astounding wordsmiths.
Curmudgeon mode set to 'off'.
On 4 Apr 2012, at 23:34, Peter Neilson wrote:
> I see the job listings referring to "skills," a term I used to associate with "how to use a circular saw without removing your fingers."
> Technical writers are supposed to do something very much like newswriters, which is to produce written material that people actually want read and understand. The profession of writing is intellectual, and as such often pays poorly. I know a sports writer who tends bar so he can afford to write news stories.
> "Technical communicator" to my mind suggests an attempt to inflate the title in the hopes of getting around the HR person who has defined technical writer as, "Typist, pay grade 3.2."
> My lack of the "skill" of using proprietary "communications" software that I can ill afford to buy has kept me out of shops that require it for interviews. Perhaps the requirement is good for filtering out those who have not recently graduated from a Tech Comm course. They'll instead get younger people who cannot write but are cheaper, and often adequate if nobody's going to read the stuff anyway. Or if it's videos they're making, the viewer can safely sleep through the presentation. I've watched required HR video courses at various jobs. Not a one of them was useful in any way. Not one. Some Camtasia how-to videos and sales videos are good. Only some.
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