RE: Are these words being used?

Subject: RE: Are these words being used?
From: "Higgins, Lisa" <LHiggins -at- carrieraccess -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 11:44:25 -0700


> > We're technical communicators, not gatekeepers for the
> > English language. Our documents should use the terms that
> > users use.
>
> Actually, we're both. When we write a manual, we're laying
> the foundation for clear communication between people. Therefore, it is
our
> responsibility to define the language and terms the people use to describe

> the technology or process.

We're technical writers. We're supposed to make people's jobs easier, not
teach them how to communicate. We do not define the language and terms of
our industries. The users do. Our job is to learn their language, and to
communicate to them what they need to know, as simply, as painlessly, and as
quickly as we can.

The language doesn't belong to us any more than it belongs to everyone else
who uses it, and we have no right to dictate how it should be used. If we
have other agendas, we're subverting our primary goal. If our users are
happy with their industry-specific jargon, it would be hostile of us to use
anything else.

If the users are familiar and comfortable with the words in question, it
doesn't matter if they're accurate or clear or logical in themselves. Lots
of words and common terms aren't internally logical, but are nonetheless the
best terms to use simply because of their broad acceptance.

So yes, if you determine that orderability and shippability are widely used
and understood terms in your vertical industry, go ahead and use them.
You'll probably want to define them, just to reach the periphery of your
audience who are new to the field, non-native speakers, etc.





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