Grammar Checkers + techwriter skills

Subject: Grammar Checkers + techwriter skills
From: "Peter Ring, PRC" <prc -at- PIP -dot- DKNET -dot- DK>
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 1996 11:37:57 +1

> From: Katherine D. Fisher[SMTP:kdfisher -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM]

> Let's put it this way: those who feel they need grammar checkers
> should not be technical writers.

Katherine,
don't use "us", talk for yourself. I am very tempted to answer:
"those" who feel like you are very likely too narrow minded -
especially on technology - to be good TECHNICAL writers. Write novels
or poems instead with a goose feather! And take your time, we can't!

Please remember, that a high academic degree in English literature is
not enough to make a good technical writer.

Here is a more complete list from my courses in technical writing:

1. Pedagogic sense and knowledge.

2. An OPEN MINDED understanding of the users' situation, even if it is
very different from your own. A market research background helps.

3. Good at precise (written) COMMUNICATION on the weakest users' level.

4. Technological insight and flair, at least on the highest user level.

5. Organisational power: Good at interviewing, digging up information,
and influencing the product's user interface.

6. Able to write a correct language (spelling, grammar) - with or
without software and proofreader assistance. It's the time used and
the final result that count, not the tools used.

7. Basic graphical knowledge - and preferably some sense and talent, too.

8. Persistent, high integrity, self-diciplined, - and hard working!

And if you are lacking just *ONE* of these skills - forget it, find
something else to do, and don't pollute the world with more bad manuals!

> From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM> ...

> Running a grammar checker as your only inspection of the document
> is not advisable. However, what's wrong with using a grammar
> checker for an initial pass through the document? It can often
> catch problems in which our eyes deceive us. For example, it's
> easy to miss a repeated word when it's the last word in one line
> and the first word in the next line.

> ... I see nothing wrong with a combination. Having run a checker
> does not preclude the author from performing their own edit.

I completely agree! It's a tool, manual proofreading is another
tool, I use both combined, and they don't find the same errors.

By the way: the original question was for advice on how to GET a
grammar checker which works for Frame + MS Word. I haven't seen
any answers to that question, except mine, which was basically
on Word! Did we loose that in the flames?

Greetings from Denmark

Peter Ring
PRC (Peter Ring Consultants)
- specialists in user friendly manuals and audits on manuals.
prc -at- pip -dot- dknet -dot- dk
http://www.pip.dknet.dk/~pip323/index.htm
- the "User Friendly Manuals" website with links, bibliography,
list of prof. associations, and tips for technical writers.

Searchable archives located at http://www.documentation.com/
ALL questions or problems concerning the list
should go to the listowner, Eric Ray at ejray -at- ionet -dot- net -dot-


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