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I am sure that others agree, but I feel this way. Someone who uses a manual uses it because they are looking for answers. Therefore, if the documentation contains information that is not defined or well written then it is useless. Suffice to say that if it is not clear to YOU, then it is not clear. (Granted, you do not have a tech background but you are not the Straw Man from the Wizard of OZ either.)
I have been in the business 20 years. It never ceases to amaze me what people DO NOT know. Besides, people are not ready to admit they do not know something.
Hope this helps.
From: Stacey Marner[SMTP:marners -at- CORSAIR -dot- MANTECH-WVA -dot- COM]
Sent: 16 January, 1997 8:31 AM
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
I am brand new to this field and was hired as an editor in a very
technical environment. I was a high school English teacher so I've
never been exposed to all the tech talk, etc. except through my
husband. Now I'm reading that stuff for clarity and, although it's
gotten a lot better, I still don't have practical knowledge about what
I'm reading. Does this matter? I was also just curious how the
editing/tech writing situation is handled in different companies. Are
they usually the same person or do you just do a lot of peer editing?
Here I usually only get to read through a document once before it goes
out the door.
My last question has to do with setting up a documentation department.
There are three of us. One responsible for double checking and
compiling the outgoing documents, one to do formating and me. Before
I was hired, the only editing help they had was off site. I find it
very fulfilling when people bring me memos to proof or in-process
writing to get advice about structure. Although it does happen, it
doesn't happen very often. How do I introduce my self as a resource?
Does it just take time?