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

Subject: Re: Translating RE: Culture, or What it means to be a Technical Writer
From: Karen Kay <karen -at- WORDWRITE -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 19:08:44 -0700

Hope Cascio said:
> information we choose to disclose, and what we don't, and why. It is not
> that a subject matter expert does not communicate well... there are SMEs
> who communicate well (or well enough, or poorly) in their own "languages,"
> but that does not make their writing more readable to users from another
> culture, just as well written French is no more understandable to me than
> poorly written French.

I think you're missing the point. A lot of the SME's I work with are
"bilingual"; they just choose not to write for a living. You do them a
disservice by insinuating otherwise. In other words, I agree with
Mike. (One of my developers is the best technical editor I have ever
had.)

Karen
karen -at- wordwrite -dot- com
> ---original post---
>
> Mike Huber wrote:
> My objection to the "translation" metaphor is that it's insulting to our
> subject matter experts.
>
> Most of the software developers that I know are able to communicate in
> human languages. Some of them are, in fact, fine writers. I've received
> notes that expressed technical information in the form of metaphorical
> stories (sorry - I lost them when we changed email systems) that were
> just stunning. The author is a better writer than I am. I'm not
> translating his work so normal people can understand it, it's quite
> comprehensible as it is. But it answers the questions that developers
> ask, not the questions that users ask.
> For the most part, the developers I work with are personable,
> interesting people who can, and do, communicate with others on a human
> level. They are not well described by the geek stereotypes. They need no
> translators.
> ---
> Office:mike -dot- huber -at- software -dot- rockwell -dot- com
> Home:nax -at- execpc -dot- com




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