Re: Culture, or What it means to be a Technical Writer

Subject: Re: Culture, or What it means to be a Technical Writer
From: Bill Swallow <bill_swallow -at- ROCKETMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 07:59:25 -0700

I can't speak for the rest of you, but I want no ownership of the
title "translator" because at least what I do transcends well beyond
making something readable for an audience.

I think we are having such a tough time defining what it means to be a
technical writer because we all do different things under the assumed
roll. I not only write, but I also design the document, envision the
online interface, design the interface, build it, create all the
graphics, perform the usability testing, and monitor the installation
of the product. Before all that, there's the initial needs analysis,
audience analysis, and other planning steps.

I don't know about you, but I prefer to call what we do "information
design and management" to say the VERY least. "Translation" is such a
small fraction of the big picture.

Am I totally off on this? Am I involved in too much of the
documentation process? I think not. I may be called a control freak,
but this way I know the end-user needs are addressed from start to
finish.


===


Bill Swallow
bill_swallow -at- rocketmail -dot- com
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Park/4353


Courage is the complement of fear. A man who is fearless cannot be
courageous.
-- Robert Heinlein



---Johan Lont <jlont -at- BAAN -dot- NL> wrote:
>
> Mark Baker wrote:
> > A good user guide is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a
functional
> specification with > the engineering jargon translated into English.
>
> Technical writing is translating from a technical type of document
to a user
> guide. That is much more than translating the jargon. 'Translation'
is a
> good metaphor for this activity.
>
>
> Send commands to listserv -at- listserv -dot- okstate -dot- edu (e.g., SIGNOFF
TECHWR-L)
>
>
>

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