TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:need a word (again) From:Sarah Perrault <sarahp -at- KEYSAFE -dot- COM> Date:Sat, 4 Jan 1997 13:30:56 -0800
Y'all were so great about helping out last time, here I am looking for
I'll give a scenario below, illustrating the kind of relationship I am
trying to define.
(Disclaimer! The examples only superficially reflect what my employer's
Here's the situation:
Joe's Popsicle Stand has an electronic lock system. It only
lets in people who have an electronic key that is programmed
for that system. Joe controls the programming for keys to his
Joe has an electronic key to get into his popsicle stand.
Nancy's Icecream Parlor has a similar system. Nancy has an
electronic key to get into her icecream parlor.
Joe's key does not open Nancy's icecream stand, and Nancy's
key does not open Joe's popsicle stand.
So far so good? Now it gets a little trickier:
Nancy goes on vacation. She asks Joe to open her icecream parlor
in the morning, to let her employees in. She doesn't want to give
Joe her key because if he uses her key the system will register
that she was there.
She uses her system to program Joe's key to open her parlor. Now
he can get in, and her system registers that he entered.
Here's the question:
From Joe's point of view, his system is his "home system." From
Nancy's point of view, her system is her "home system."
From Joe's point of view, what is Nancy's system?
I need a generic term for the relationship -- can't call it "Nancy's
system" -- bearing in mind that Joe may have this relationship to more than
one system. In other words, he may also help out Linda with her Sushi
Shack, and Clyde with his Bagel Bistro.
My manager proposes that we call these non-home-but-accessible systems
"foreign systems." I object to that because we sell the system in a lot of
countries, including some in Europe. It is possible that Joe's Popsicle
Stand and Nancy's Icecream Parlor will be in Germany, and Linda's Sushi
Shack will be in France. The Sushi Shack is then foreign in the original
sense of the word, while the Icecream Parlor is not. Bah.
sarahp -at- keysafe -dot- com