Re: Technical vs. writing knowledge

Subject: Re: Technical vs. writing knowledge
From: Brian Daley <briand -at- MEI -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1993 15:20:32 -0600

>What knowledge is best for technical writers: technical or writing
>knowledge. I am preparing a paper on this subject and would like your
>input. Please respond with your replies. If you know of any articles or
>research on this please let me know. Thanks.


My point of view is of writing service/maintenance documentation, and I've
got an engineering degree, so I'm already biased toward the technical
world. With that in mind....

There's minimum performance levels on both the technical and writing ends
of our profession, but if I was hiring and had my druthers between someone
with an adequate writing background and extensive technical background and
someone with adequate technical background and extensive writing background
(assuming all else was equal), I'd have to favor the person with the
extensive technical background.

With all the changes in technology, more and more technical writers will
call themselves "technical communicators" as writing becomes less and less
of our profession. Even today some companies are producing CD-ROMS and
online hypertext documents, interactive multimedia presenatations, and
distributing their online documents over information systems like the
Internet. And as we develop more online documents, we will have to learn
interface design and work with engineers to implement our documentation
into the product.

All these are technical issues that technical writers have to try to solve
themselves, because engineers who could help often times have other
priorities. We need to be able to do as much as we can to help ourselves.
Otherwise we're not as valuable to the company as we might be.

Whether you feel technical or writing knowledge is more important, one big
question is "How good is adequate?" Everone has to answer that for

Now, get going on that paper! :-)



"What matters is not DOW's average, but YOUR average."

- commentator Jim Hightower, WTMJ Radio


Brian Daley | Marquette Electronics, Inc.
briand -at- mei -dot- com | Diagnostic Division - Technical Communication
(414) 362-3133 | 8200 West Tower Avenue
FAX: (414) 357-5988 | Milwaukee, WI 53223 USA

Previous by Author: Customer feedback (formerly Re: Minimalist Writing)
Next by Author: Re: A little machoist antler-crashing
Previous by Thread: Re: Technical vs. writing knowledge
Next by Thread: Re: Technical vs. writing knowledge

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads