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

Subject: Re: Culture, or What it means to be a Technical Writer
From: DURL <durl -at- BUFFNET -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 13:06:25 -0400

Not to Christa but in general...because we *do* the work doesn't
mean we do it well. I'm a little edgy about us calling ourselves
designers, just as I'm edgy when graphics people "throw in" editing, or
web site developers write content...
I've met (way too) many people who are "experienced technical
writers"
who can't write. However, they've been making a living at it for 20 years.
My friends in advertising draw strict lines--well, lines,
anyway--between copy, design, and artwork. If you do packaging for a major
co (like, say, cereal boxes), nobody expects one person or dept.
to come up w/
concept, photo, text, slogan, colors, and position on the supermarket
shelf. I suspect that packaging and presenting technical info--software
manuals, O&M manuals, anything--would be best done by a team composed of
specialists in the various disciplines.
In my little Nirvana, the TW combines user & purpose analysis w/
good written
communication skills. The TI (technical illustrator) combines the analysis
w/ the ability to create appropriate illustrations. The TD
(designer)....etc. Or etc..
And in each case, the T-whatever knows the tools to create
whatever their piece is, and has a "feel" for the subject they're
documenting...

Mary


Mary Durlak Erie Documentation Inc.
East Aurora, New York (near Buffalo)
durl -at- buffnet -dot- net

On Fri, 8 May 1998, Hutchings, Christa wrote:

(big snip)
>
> BTW, when I was negotiating with my current employer, they asked me what
> my title was (at my then current position). I told them "Sr. Technical
> Writer, but a better term is Information Designer, since I do far more
> than write." It didn't sink in, and I am a Sr. Technical Writer here too
> (actually the only Tech Writer at the moment!), even though, as I
> pointed out above, I do a heck of lot more than just write!
>
> Chris Welch-Hutchings




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