Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 6 May 1998 09:40:51 -0700


We've found that there are a lot of capable writers out there who
understand the principle that you have to learn the technology in order
to write about it. There are a lot of slide-bys who think that because
they know how to get files from Frame or Word into HTML, THAT makes them
technical enough to qualify as a technical writer.

Our best experience in this area has been with our interns. As part of
our year-long curriculum, they learn how to give a presentation, and
because part of this learning requires that they give a presentation
about some technical topic, they also learn the technology behind some
project they're working on for one of our clients. For example, one of
our interns (the shyest and least technical of the bunch) happened to
be part of the team working on a project for Genentech, and her
presentation was a very illuminating presentation on the how
pharmaceutical companies grow drugs (in a general, non-proprietary
It may be that you're not seeing a whole lot of technical folks in the
writing business because they can get more money peddling their
technical know-how than they can peddling their ability to write.
Someone who understands the intricacies of databases, for instance, will
likely get paid more as a system analyst or some variation than as a
technical writer. This economy pays more for some kinds of specialists
than for generalists.

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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