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.

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
- the "User Friendly Manuals" website with links, bibliography,
list of prof. associations, and tips for technical writers.

Searchable archives located at
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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