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

Subject: Re: Culture, or What it means to be a Technical Writer
From: Janice Gelb <janiceg -at- MARVIN -dot- ENG -dot- SUN -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 09:29:05 -0700

Damien Braniff said:
>
> Who cares what metaphor we use as long as WE know what mean. I can
> describe what I do as "translation", after all, most of the information is
> available somewhere (on paper, in people's heads etc) so it is "translated"
> with varying degrees of work required. At a push you could even include
> the doc design etc in the translation process and the "look" is part of
> what makes it easy to read and understand.
>

In fact, some of the information often isn't in *anybody's* head
until the writer thinks to ask a question and someone has to solve
that problem. For example, at a previous company we had a writer
who was very good at anticipating possible ways users might try
to use the product and get themselves into trouble. He would ask
the developer "What happens if the user does x?" The developer
would reply, "But, but.. that's not the way they're supposed to
do it!" In no way is a scenario like this translation -- it's,
as someone else put it nicely, "getting into the user's head"
and providing them with information accordingly.

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