Re: A: Yes. Re: Are editors still needed today?

Subject: Re: A: Yes. Re: Are editors still needed today?
From: yehoshua paul <yehoshua -dot- p -at- technicalwriting -dot- com>
To: "B.J. Smith" <bjsmith -at- ucar -dot- edu>
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2012 19:08:01 +0300

Seeing as how the original poster was referred to, I might as well jump
back into the conversation.

I agree that a good editor is useful and desirable, and can probably drive
up sales by improving the standard of documentation. But is it crucial? I
think not.
Many if not most of those who have participated in this discussion, myself
included, do not work with editors, and our companies have not gone
bankrupt as a result.
There are many reasons for this, the global audience being one of them, and
others that were mentioned in the article.

Sometimes by the way companies avoid the problem of language entirely by
not using words. See for example documentation produced by IKEA, Lego, or
even computer assembly instructions. It saves a lot of costs to produce
documentation this way rather than investing in translators and editors for
multiple languages.

There are also types of documentation that do not require an editor at all
because the expected standard is deliberately set low, such as internal
documentation for company employees, or documentation that is written
solely for the purpose of killing trees because a contract clause mandates
that it be written and not because it needs to be read (something I think
most technical writers have been required to do at one point or another
during their careers, and which I personally consider quire sad).

I would definitely like to see more editors out there. I don't consider
them a universal necessity.

Have a great day,
Yehoshua Paul,
Community contributor and documentation expert,
www.technicalwriting.com




On Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 5:47 PM, B.J. Smith <bjsmith -at- ucar -dot- edu> wrote:

> Hmmm. I don't think I said an editor just corrects language.
>
> re: // If a writer needs an editor to correct language issues, then that
> writer better be damned good at her domain or risk being considered a waste
> of money. //
>
> I have yet to come across a writer, myself included, whose work cannot be
> improved by a good editor.
>
> And I agree with you about the "global audience" excuse. I take it you're
> addressing the original poster.
>
> B.J.
>
>
> On 6/17/2012 10:36 PM, Edwin Skau wrote:
>
> An Editor doesn't just correct language. An editor enforces corporate
> style.
>
> If a writer needs an editor to correct language issues, then that writer
> better be damned good at her domain or risk being considered a waste of
> money.
>
> On the other hand, there is more than one way to same something
> correctly. But if you want to prevent the narrative in your document from
> looking like The Village People, you need an editor to enforce consistent
> style.
>
> That a company must addres a global audience is a lame excuse to publish
> less than premium content. Always expect your audience to rise to your
> level and look up to your quality rather than lowering yourself to their
> perceived standards. Non-native speakers who may not write as well, can
> still appreciate well-written text.
>
> Edwin
>
>
> On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 7:46 PM, B.J. Smith <bjsmith -at- ucar -dot- edu> wrote:
>
>> Your friend may be right in the final sentence - you can get away with
>> poor editing only for so long.
>>
>> I recently came across another take on the importance of writing and
>> editing. Yes, it is ancient by some standards (1990), but I found it
>> thought-provoking and valuable.
>>
>> One key sentence: Improving the quality of writing actually improves the
>> quality of thought.
>>
>> I believe that is still true.
>>
>> Here's a link:
>> http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/the-science-of-scientific-writing
>>
>> B.J.
>>
>> My opinions do not represent those of my employer or anyone else for that
>> matter.
>>
>> On 6/6/2012 7:41 AM, yehoshua paul wrote:
>>
>>> This article was written by a friend of mine who works in marketing. As
>>> sad
>>> as this is, I tend to agree. When companies end up targeting global
>>> audiences the level of English is not that critical. I know that the only
>>> person who will notice if I miss a period, or forget to capitalize a word
>>> is me. Professional pride, and the need to keep my writing skills
>>> prevents
>>> me from doing so, but does my target audience really care? I don't think
>>> so.
>>>
>>>
>>> http://rebeccarachmany.com/2012/06/8-excellent-reasons-you-dont-need-an-editor/
>>>
>>> Have a great day,
>>> Yehoshua Paul
>>> Community contributor and documentation expert
>>> http://technicalwriting.com/
>>>
>>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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>>
>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>> Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with
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>>
>> Try Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
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>
>

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help. Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need.

Try Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.

http://bit.ly/doc-to-help

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References:
Are editors still needed today?: From: yehoshua paul
A: Yes. Re: Are editors still needed today?: From: B.J. Smith
Re: A: Yes. Re: Are editors still needed today?: From: Edwin Skau

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