Re: TW Culture

Subject: Re: TW Culture
From: Beth Agnew <bagnew -at- INSYSTEMS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 08:39:26 -0400

Rob McMartin wrote:

> As Technical Writers (or non-technical Technical Writers) we have one
> thing in common. We have the same culture.
> So perhaps we should remember that we are the translators of what others
> cannot comprehend. It doesn't matter whether or not you have a high
> school education and 12 months experience as a Tech Writer, or a PhD in
> the esoteric functioning of prime numbers under Quantum Physics. If you
> can take what is standard speak in one culture and translate it for the
> greater masses in many cultures in my book that makes you a Technical
> Writer.

This has always been the role of a writer (or communicator): to observe the
world, filter those observations through our own knowledge and experience,
and then communicate that to others. In that way, writing is also an art.
From the earliest days of humankind, we have needed someone to "explain"
things to those of us who either weren't there when it happened (reporting)
or who didn't understand what happened. Writers have offered us new
perspectives on everyday things, and they have helped us understand the most
profound concepts in the universe. This is how we leverage knowledge -- we
don't have to know everything ourselves, we can read what someone else, who
does know, has written.

So that's why *I'm* firmly on the side of "we're <i>writers</i> first and
foremost" (and for "writer" read "communicator"). It's also why I'm
presenting a paper on this topic at the STC Conference (shameless

Beth Agnew
Senior Technical Writer, InSystems Technologies Inc.
65 Allstate Parkway, Suite 100 Tel: (905) 513-1400 ext. 280
Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 9X1 Fax: (905) 513-1419
mailto:bagnew -at- insystems -dot- com Visit us at:

See my friendly face at:

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