Re: Three important Tech Comm questions

Subject: Re: Three important Tech Comm questions
From: Michael Lewis <lewism -at- BRANDLE -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 11:39:35 +1100

I can't attempt to answer 1. The answer to 2 must include a lot of
people, but we should consider the difference between "professional
technical communicators" and "technical professionals who may have to
perform communication tasks".

The answer to 3 is elusive. I doubt that a simple or concise definition
is possible, because the field is extraordinarily diverse and rapidly
changing. I would prefer to talk in broad, almost philosophical terms,
about the role of the technical communicator as a bridge (sometimes
translator) between "those who know" and "those who need to know". Those
who need to know may not be end users: they may be people responsible
for installation (whether software or steam turbines); repair and
maintenance (software or washing machines); training (including driving
instructors); and so on. Anything that helps those people to use or work
with a product counts as technical communication. (The people who write
instructions for board games like "Monopoly" and "Scrabble" are also
technical communicators.)

Gina Hertel wrote:
> Three questions...
> 1.) Does anyone know how many technical communicators exist worldwide?
> 2.) What professionals (TWs, Technical Illustrators, etc.) would you
> say are included in the field of technical communication?
> 3.) If you had to "define" the field of technical communication, how
> would you define it?
> I am putting together a description of the field for my company. I
> don't want anyone thinking we are secrataries and I need statistics and
> specifics to educate the populus.
> Thanks,
> Gina Hertel
> Manager, Technical Communications
> Alpha Technologies, Inc.
> ghertel -at- alpha88 -dot- com
> (732) 980-1800 Ext.749

Michael Lewis
Brandle Pty Limited, Sydney, Australia
PO Box 1249, Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012
Suite 8, The Watertower, 1 Marian St, Redfern 2016
Tel +61-2-9310-2224 ... Fax +61-2-9310-5056

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