Captions - telegram style?

Subject: Captions - telegram style?
From: Karen Casemier <KCasemier -at- xrite -dot- com>
To: "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 09:01:12 -0400

Helen Hauser wrote:
<snip>I have just noticed that a lot of captions to screenshots course books
are written in a telegram style...I prefer "After adding the image" or "The
image is very close to the text", but I do
not know how to back this opinion up.<end snip>

(I get the digest version, so I apologize if someone has already referenced

I agree with you, Helen. I avoid using a telegraphic writing style because
it can cause problems for users of our products who are not native speakers
of English, and it makes the translation of our documentation more
difficult. If you are looking for something "official" to back up your
opinion, I recommend that you get a copy of John Kohl's article "Improving
Translatability and Readability with Syntactic Cues", published in the 2nd
Quarter 1999 issue of Technical Communication (the Journal of the Society
for Technical Communication). This article is an excellent resource for
writers who create documentation that is eventually translated (it really
helped me make the transition from writing for English-speaking audiences
only to writing for multi-language versions). If you know someone who is a
member of STC, you can probably borrow their copy; otherwise, you should be
able to order a copy from the STC web site, at:

Karen R. Casemier
Technical Writer
X-Rite, Inc. - World Headquarters
kcasemier -at- xrite -dot- com

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