Re: Using capital letters

Subject: Re: Using capital letters
From: Bill Burns <BillDB -at- ILE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 09:43:22 -0600

To the new technical writer, these may be key words. To a user who
doesn't understand the relevance of the capitalized terms, this usage
might just look like poor writing convention. And you're correct about
the localization issues involved in this practice. Capitalizing Window,
field, and dialog names is a pretty standard software documentation
convention, but I haven't seen this convention practiced consistently in
hardware documentation, especially since components on hardware are not
labeled as consistently as software interface elements. In any case,
capitalizing "red" makes no sense since its a modifier and not a proper
noun.

I bet she can't come up with a single styleguide that supports this
practice.

Bill Burns
Technical Writer
ILE Communications Group
billdb -at- ile -dot- com


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jennifer O'Neill [SMTP:jennyon -at- ARITECH -dot- COM]
> Sent: Friday, August 08, 1997 11:12 AM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Using capital letters
>
> A question for the weekend.
>
> A tech writer who recently joined my company uses capital letters in
> a way I can't quite follow and am not very keen about. She just
> handed in a manual with sentences like:
>
> The Red LED on the Alarm Panel will be lit.
>
> or
>
> The Display scrolls through the options.
>
> When I asked her about it she said that these were key words.
> I can't see what benefit it is the the user
> to have 'red', display or 'alarm panel' et al written like that. I
> have to try
> to get everyone writing in the same style and as most manuals are
> written by engineers feel I'm asking for problems to tell them to
> write the first letter of key words with a capital letter. Then it
> all gets translated into 8 languages, with their associated usages of
> capital letters. And what may only be one word in English can become
> a few in another language. I want a simple life.
>
> What do others think?
>
> Jennifer
>
> ~~
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