Re: Do techies really know what other techies need?

Subject: Re: Do techies really know what other techies need?
From: John Kohl <sasjqk -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 13:21:39 GMT

In article <c=US%a=_%p=ATS%l=WWW-970320213056Z-45 -at- www -dot- apptechsys -dot- com>, Sella
Rush <SellaR -at- APPTECHSYS -dot- COM> writes:
|> I have this problem...
|>
|> My problem is that the programmer I work most closely with despises all
|> my tries at making text more accessible.
|>
|> So, does anyone have any clever techniques for dealing with this
|> argument? BTW--he really does *not* appreciate discussions about good
|> writing technique.

Is your product sold in countries where English is not the primary
language? If so, then you could certainly use the argument that
your documentation must be extremely clear and readable for
non-native speakers of English, including both users (e.g., if the
documentation is exported in English, without being translated) and
translators (who are usually native speakers of the target language, not
of English).

Long, complex sentences; lots of passive verbs and nominalizations; and
a paucity of transitional devices will make your doc much more difficult
for non-native speakers to read and for translators to translate. But
of course anything you do to simplify and clarify your docs will benefit
your native-speaker audience as well.

Many major software companies in the U.S. derive approx. 50% of their
revenues from overseas sales. If your company is in the big leagues (or
aspires to be), then tell your programmer that you simply MUST take your
overseas audience into account.

Regards,

John Kohl

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