Re: Writing for Asian Readers

Subject: Re: Writing for Asian Readers
From: Karen Kay <karenk -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1993 14:19:52 -0800

Anatole Wilson said:
> I'm commenting on an area I know very *very* little about, but it occurs to
> me that looking at current Japanese manuals may not be the best way to
> determine what Japanese manuals should look like.

I agree w/ this. I find Japanese manuals very difficult to understand--
it's not just the jargon, but the mindset. On the other hand, I don't
think that Americans are best equipped to write Japanese manuals. I
don't think you can assume that the things that will work for English
speakers will work for Japanese speakers. (I know that's not what you
were suggesting.) There needs to be native research done on what works.

At one point in my education, I was reading collections of Japanese
articles about the history of Chinese language. I must have read parts
of 75-100 articles. Most of it was very obscure, written in the most
obfuscating styles of Japanese and Chinese. Suddenly I came across one
article that was clear, concise, and unambiguous. It turns out that
although the author was Japanese, he was educated at Cornell. That was
a lesson to me about how style translates across languages. While I
loved this article because it was so clear, I suspect that to the
native audience it must have seemed brash.

karenk -at- netcom -dot- com

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