Re: Techie or Writer?

Subject: Re: Techie or Writer?
From: "Kathy E. Gill" <kegill -at- HALCYON -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 1996 11:15:22 -0800

Guilden wrote:
>Hence, what's the scoop? Are you engineers-turned-writers or
>writers with a technical bent/experience/talent-for-learning-a-new
>-piece-of-software-on-a-familiar-platform-in-no-time-at-all (has to
>be a word for this somewhere :)?

Guilden, your experience mirrors mine. There seems to be a bias toward
engineering in the computer industry. Even in (retail) sales!!

From personal (consumer) experience at trying to interpret manuals ...
(have you ever seen the "help" manual for a Zerox fax machine? how about
the Merlin telephone system? or a Motorola portable phone?) ... I believe
manuals would stand a better chance of helping consumers if companies hired
people who know only a little bit about technology. Thus, thru their
attempts to figure out what the engineers are saying, the writers might
create manuals that make sense to a lay person.

That's why I whole-heartedly endorse John Collins point:
>Not to put too fine a point on it, our job is communicating for those who
>can't. Our goal is to make the complicated simple (not simplistic, mind
>you, because the material most often isn't), to ensure that all the
>appropriate information is communicated in the proper fashion, to the
>correct audience, at the right time.

Before anyone yells at me, I am a scientific/environmental technical writer
<g> who also designs web sites. [I even won a Seattle STC award once.] And
this "getting to close" to the subject is something that I battle each
time I translate a research finding into "English." Bless Gunning's Fog
Index. I need it to periodically remind myself that I am beginning to
write like the lawyers & scientists who surround me.

Kathy E. Gill
kegill -at- halcyon -dot- com


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