Re: Grammar Checkers + techwriter skills

Subject: Re: Grammar Checkers + techwriter skills
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 1996 23:32:16 PDT

Peter Ring puts this in his list of tech writing skills:

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

What technical writers need is formal training in technical illustration.
Basic graphical knowlege, sense, and talent are all beside the point.
Sure, they can be brought to bear, sort of, in the same sense that
experience as a poet prepares you for a career as a technical writer.
But technical illustration is precisely what technical writers need
to know in order to illustrate their technical manuals. Nothing else
even comes close.

Any idiot can learn technical illustration. Really good illustrators
are few and far between, and mere mortals cannot aspire to their
level of wonderfulness, but anyone can learn to put together attractive
and useful illustrations for technical manuals. Technical illustration
is taught as a series of specific mechanical skills. You don't need
to be able to draw a straight line -- you use a ruler. You don't need
to have a good eye -- everything is measured.

Technical illustration is taught at the community college level. That's
where I took it. It was the most useful course I ever took.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon, President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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