Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers
From: Michael Blair <mjblair -at- TOTAL -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 13:59:03 -0400


My two cents regarding this thread is that I see technical writing as a
collaborative process between someone who knows the "technology" (the
so-called Subject Matter Expert) and the technical "communicator",
someone who know how to get the information across to the audience using
whatever medium is appropriate, be it text, illustration, photography or

In my view, the communications expert doesn't have to be a technical
expert any more than the technical expert has to be a communciations
expert. To quote myself from a previous posting, it makes as much sense
to hire a welder to write training manuals as it does to hire a technical
writer to weld.

I'm a sponge, sort of. I soak up the SME's knowledge, moosh it about a
bit, then squeeze it out. Along they way I learn all kinds of cool stuff,
such as how oil well drilling fluid systems work and to mine coal without
blowing up the mine. Sure, there are things I won't touch, subjects that
are just too far outside of my experience. Big deal: my GP doesn't do
brain surgery either.

It's all a matter of degree, not necessarily the punctuated sort.

Michael Blair
Blair Technical Communications Tel: (514) 989-8713
106 - 3500 Atwater Avenue Fax: (514) 989-7521
Montreal, Quebec CANADA H3H 1Y5 Email: mjblair -at- total -dot- net

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