Re: Technical writing vs. engineering

Subject: Re: Technical writing vs. engineering
From: Karen Kay <karenk -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 1995 09:56:54 -0700

Chateau Wright said:
> I'm not trying to "downplay" technical writing but come on! It's not as
> easy to teach engineering to a writer that to teach writing to an
> engineer. Karla is wrong.

I'm not going to address the question of whether Karla is right or
wrong. Instead, I would like to point out that in order to do a good
job of technical writing (for many jobs), you don't actually have to
*do* engineeering, but you do have to *do* writing.

I am currently employed as a fixer of translations. (It doesn't pay as
well as translating, but it's real editing experience.) Anyway. I just
finished a project last week for which my knowledge of UNIX, my
knowledge of C, and my knowledge of how game programs work (gleaned
only from editing several projects) were all crucial. Now, I am a
lousy C programmer, I am by no means a UNIX guru, and I don't even
like computer games. But I know enough to make sure that the document
we return to our clients is accurate. It's my writing skill that
ensures the readability of the documents, though.

Karen
karenk -at- netcom -dot- com

First the job, then the money, then the fish. That's how it works.


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