Re: Anyone tried this in tech writing?

Subject: Re: Anyone tried this in tech writing?
From: david hendler <freetaco -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:53:30 -0500

One of the constant gripes I've heard is that technical writing is "not
like people talk", and it seems this pain letter falls in that vein.

The problem though is that "plain English" is full of inexactness. The best
technical writing (imho) ensures that there is no inexactness. So yes, the
writing may not read like how humans speak, but it should direct the users
how to perform their tasks.

And, as Gene points out, it should also cover all the details, because
documentation is official company communications to the user. If the user
gets hurt or injured enacting the instructions, then it's the company's
fault.

-David


On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 1:09 PM, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com> wrote:

> Yes, products sold to regulated markets and industry segments (aviation,
> medical, manufacturing, etc.) frequently have requirements to deliver
> documentation. The poundage is the result of the levels of detail
> required, and where safety and liability are critical, the regulators
> actually READ the docs and will come back at you if you don't cover all the
> requirements, stopping certifications, deliveries and payments dead in
> their tracks until their issues have been addressed to their satisfaction.
> This is something that technical writers who mostly deliver software-based
> products seldom encounter, I think, unless their employers are selling to
> government agencies.
>
> Gene Kim-Eng
>
>
> On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 10:52 AM, Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net
> >wrote:
>
> >
> >
> > Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there are shops out there where people have pains
> > about writing. "Oh, if only we could discover someone who could explain
> our
> > stupid product better. I'm tearing out my hair." Occasionally there is
> > pressure from requirements or from Federal regulations. "To be delivered
> > with Operations Manual no less than 4.2 pounds (1.90509 kg) in weight."
> >
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References:
Re: Anyone tried this in tech writing?: From: Lois Patterson
Re: Anyone tried this in tech writing?: From: Peter Neilson
Re: Anyone tried this in tech writing?: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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