RE: [TechWhirl Forums] Authors who cannot write

Subject: RE: [TechWhirl Forums] Authors who cannot write
From: Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- cytomedix -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com)" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2013 14:18:08 -0500

"I had at least one thing in common with Joseph Conrad: English was my second language. Unlike Conrad, I had no first language."
-- Kurt Vonnegut

For many engineers who were born and raised in the US, English is their second language, and Engineering is their first language. This happy fact keeps technical writers employed.


-----Original Message-----
From: Lynne Wright
Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 2:03 PM
To: Alec Chakenov; Peter Neilson
Cc: techwr-l
Subject: RE: [TechWhirl Forums] Authors who cannot write

Are you referring to SMEs expressing what they mean in their own language? That's how you end up with documentation that users can't understand... because the writer just paraphrased what an engineer or programmer said. Which, in my case, because my SMEs' first language often isn't English, would result in incomprehensible text.

Similarly, SME reviewers will often approve text that they think is ok (because they completely understand how a feature works), without realizing that it's confusing, unclear, or full of holes to somebody who's coming at the material with zero knowledge.

The tech writer has to understand what they are documenting so that they can explain it in clear simple language. It's the opposite of letting your SMEs basically write the text for you verbally.




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Follow-Ups:

References:
[TechWhirl Forums] Authors who cannot write: From: TechWhirl Community Forums
Re: [TechWhirl Forums] Authors who cannot write: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: [TechWhirl Forums] Authors who cannot write: From: Peter Neilson
Re: [TechWhirl Forums] Authors who cannot write: From: Alec Chakenov
RE: [TechWhirl Forums] Authors who cannot write: From: Lynne Wright

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