Re: Editors

Subject: Re: Editors
From: "Wayne J. Douglass" <wayned -at- VERITY -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 10:29:32 -0800

At 09:31 AM 1/16/97 EST, Stacey Marner wrote:
> 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.
Like you, I came into the field innocent of technical background. I told the
hiring manager that I would find technical errors you could drive a truck
through simply by doing good copy editing. I was quickly proven right - in
part *because* I was technically naive. I would say to the writers, "You're
the technical expert, but you say this in Chapter 2 and you say something
else about the same tipic in Chapter 4. You figure it our."

Don't worry about the technical content too much at first. If you read
enough manuals, you will gradually pick it up. If your career is like mine,
you will find that you become a better technical editor and a worse copy
editor over time. Before I became a manager, I read every hardware
maintenance manual our department produced for seven years. I used to joke
that I knew how *everything* fit together even though I might not recognize
the equipment if I tripped over it.

--Wayne Douglass

Verity, Inc. Email: wayned -at- verity -dot- com
894 Ross Drive Telephone: 408-542-2139
Sunnyvale, CA 94089 Facsimile: 408-542-2040
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